"101st Boys Basketball Tournament Pairings Announced"
That was the headline that greeted sports fans Monday morning. For me, it was like experiencing the opening tip to a great basketball game. I know the old school fans are still not on board with the direction Indiana High School basketball has gone. They still might not be supportive of the "Class System", or maybe are baffled by fan apathy. True, nothing is ever like the good old days, but then again, let’s be honest, would you really like to repeat the good old days all the time? Simple answer: NO!
I still look in amazement at the history of this state tournament. Nothing ever becomes great overnight, but to survive the roller coaster ride for 101 years has made one of the top sports show case events not only in the state but throughout the country.
I remember as kid growing up watching the Semi State and State Finals on TV. It was wild to see people I was familiar with playing for the State title. I may have not met them in person, but there was some kind of connection to them when they were playing in the State tournament. I remember Scott Skiles of Plymouth, Damon Bailey of Bedford North Lawrence, Steve Alford of New Castle, Glenn Robinson of Gary Roosevelt, Stacey Toran of Broad Ripple, Allen Henderson of Brebeuf. Each year added another chapter of someone I had been following in their high school career but now I was watching them play in the sport that symbolized the state of Indiana.
The changes that have been made may not have been greeted with open arms and the politics of the sport are still there, but that is with everything in life. The beauty of the game still lies within what happens on the basketball court for the next 4 weekends in the month of March. Legends will emerge with last second heroics and hearts will be broken with game ending misses. High school basketball in Indiana might not ever return to the glory of what it once was 20-30 years ago, but the excitement and drama are still there if you allow yourself to experience it. I will attend the Franklin Central sectionals later to see who will survive that first round and look forward to the championship weekend at Conseco Fieldhouse near the end of March. Somehow I don't think I will be disappointed and I don't think you will either.