Saturday, March 1, 2008

"It's Ruint."

Those are the words from the old coach.

The colorful Hoosieresque declaration was brought to mind when I read that Coach John Wooden took a spill at age 97. Coach Wooden represents all that is good about sports, much of which has been indeed "ruint"

One thing that is ruint is Indiana High School Basketball. It has been ruint for a long time and every year when Winter is making its last assault on our state, those who remember the days when the big tournament was celebrated by all, lament its reduction to an everybody wins, birthday party game. In years long gone, the draws for the sectionals were even anticipated and broadcast live over every small town radio station. The wailing continues, and must be tiresome to those who wonder what the big deal is.

So NCAA basketball cashed in on the big tournament concept. It is a immensely popular event. Even so, it is not really that BIG. The old high school tournament had hundreds of teams. Everyone was in. It didn't have a committee choosing who was in or out. (Heidi Klum needs to call every college team and inform them if they are "in " or if they are "out".) The NCAA needs to put every one in with no seeds and let them have at it. The tournament is a bit tainted by the big television cash coming in and the network's possible influence on who plays where.

This brings to mind their NBA, which decided to schedule the Miami Heat to play on ESPN and TNT every week. Miami sucks. They have become the Washington Generals as they are almost sure to lose in a lopsided game. Meanwhile New Orleans, an exciting team, is seldom seen on national TV.

Plenty of sports are ruint or about to be. It may be that sports in this country are a just a fancy that will be only an anecdote in the far future.

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