The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Last Pure Tournament



Last week, someone invited me to the state basketball tournament at Har-Ber High School. I said, thanks but no thanks. I said, it's not a really state basketball tournament. The last real state basketball tournament, the last pure state basketball tournament is still in Kentucky.

No classes or divisions. In every other state, there are multiple state basketball champions. Sometimes states have 7 basketball champions. That may be nice, little town get to hoist a trophy and say they are the state champs. But it doesn't make sense to me. How can there be multiple champions? Sure people make the arguments that bigger schools have a bigger advantage, but the fact is that is just a good excuse. Basketball is twelve players working as one. The pool to pick from is greater, but that doesn't necessarily mean the pool consists of better players.

The reason is so that more people can feel better. More kids can say they won a championship. Multiple state classification is the high school equivalent of me going to watch my friend's 5 year old play soccer, where everyone feels good because no one keeps score.

But when your spread out glory, glory become diminished. It doesn't sparkle the same way.

When I was in high school, the state tournament was by far, the biggest thing all year. Going to the Sweet 16 in either Louisville or Lexington was so exciting. No one wanted to decide a championship in a little rinky dink gym. Teams wanted make it to Rupp Arena or Freedom Hall, basketball jewels.

Hundreds of schools formed 16 regions. One winner from each region advances.

Pure.

Our (Owensboro High School Red Devils) region was the 3rd.

I can remember those 3rd regions tournaments at Grayson County and Daviess County High schools like it was yesterday. The time that DCHS sold way too many tickets to the championship game. All the Muhlenberg North fans had gotten to the school before school had even let out. They took all the seats, so all of the OHS fans were standing 7 people deep in the end zones. It really is a wonder that a riot didn't occur. There was also the time when my best friend, John Pelphrey, and I started to storm down towards the court to beat up an annoying mascot. Luckily, a Baptist minister's wife stopped us, actually grabbed us by the collars.

I don't know, maybe basketball just isn't as important in other states. But in Kentucky, everyone wants to prove their mettle. Everyone strives to be the last team standing. Because what good is a victory, if you haven't defeated everyone.

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