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On the road againPosted Tuesday, February 5, 2008, at 3:18 PM
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway, indeed. But we aren't all so happy about being on the road as Willie was.
I'll be taking a long trip tonight and I'm not sure why I have to. Oh, I guess I understand the principal reason -- It's because the Greencastle girls' basketball team is playing in the opening round of the Brown County Sectional tonight.
By why on earth, you might ask, does GHS have to travel clear to Nashville to play an opening round sectional game? That's the answer I'd like to know.
Purists would tell you class basketball is the cause, but that's only partially true. While class basketball has caused many sectionals to cove a wider geographic range, that's not the point I'm trying to make here. We could argue the merits/evils of our tourney system 'til we were all blue in the face and get nowhere. I don't think the two sides will ever meet on that one. Both sides have good point, but neither side is willing to concede a thing.
No, the real problem I have is that Brown County High School, which sits at the extreme southeastern corner of our sectional district, is the host of the tournament. This fact is an absolute travesty and a disadvantage to every other team in our sectional.
I did some quick research last night on Google Maps and found the travel distances and times from the other six schools in the sectional. They are listed from shortest to longest trip by time.
--> Edgewood: 26.9 miles, 42 minutes;
--> Owen Valley: 44.1 miles, 1 hour 6 minutes;
--> Greencastle: 65.7 miles, 1 hour 35 minutes;
--> West Vigo: 82.98 miles, 1 hour 57 minutes;
--> Sullivan: 76.4 miles, 1 hour 59 minutes;
--> South Vermillion: 95.3 miles, 2 hours 15 minutes.
You see, I'm complaining, but I have nowhere near the worst of it. South Vermillion will get a tour of Vermillion, Vigo, Clay, Owen, Monroe and Brown counties on the way to tonight's game with Greencastle. Those girls will be on the court for the game for just over an hour, but they will be on a bus for four-and-a-half!
To give you a comparison, a trip from Greencastle to Muncie is 16 miles longer than South Vermillion's trip, yet it is also seven minutes shorter.
If the Wildcats would happen to make the sectional finals, they will have spent 13 hours and 30 minutes on a bus this week and will have traveled 572 miles. 572!
I can't even imagine.
Add to this that Brown County drew a bye. Now, I know this is simply luck of the draw, but while these other teams are spending so much time on buses, Brown County's players are able to rest all week and get a free pass into the semifinals. I don't believe there is any conspiracy behind this, but it's certainly something to think about.
As a sports writer, I deal with the IHSAA and its policies and decisions daily. They mostly do a good job in overseeing our high school athletics. But the placement of our tournaments is a completely messed up system. Anyone who has been through more than a season or two of covering sports will begin to see a disturbing pattern. The same schools and areas seem to host tournament after tournament after tournament. Have a look some time at how many tournaments are hosted by the schools in Dubois County (Jasper, Southridge, Forest Park). You will also find a lot of Brown County and Tri-West.
Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the IHSAA is playing favorites. If you don't happen to be one, that's just too bad.
I don't know if people at these schools just know the right people or if they are the people in power with the IHSAA, but I know these things don't happen by chance.
I've looked at Sectional 29's situation for a while and there is a way to take care of this and give everyone a reasonable trip. Why can't our sectional be at Owen Valley? The longest trips would still be for South Vermillion and Sullivan, but each one would come in at just over one hour. That's much better. OV is really the only centrally located site and the facility is more than large enough to accommodate everyone.
Why don't we try to be fair to everyone? There's a novel concept.
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE SPORTS WORLD...
The biggest flop in sports history?
For months, I've heard the experts pondering what the legacy of a 19-0 Patriots team would be. Greatest team ever? Probably. Greatest dynasty ever? Maybe.
But the Giants won, so now what? Let's ask this question: Is this the biggest choke in a big game in sports history? It certainly has to be high in the running.
And another thing, did anyone else notice the look on the face of Boy Wonder Brady during the game? In the second quarter, my wife said to me, "He looks scared."
Sure enough, in Tommy Boy's face was a mixture of fear, anger and total confusion. I have never seen Tom Brady scared, not even in his first year as a starter.
I'd say he hasn't felt that mix of emotions since Bridget Moynahan pulled the goalie on him.
So long, General
I'm as confused as everyone over Bob Knight's sudden resignation at Texas Tech. I gave up a long time ago on trying to understand the coach. Most people who claim to understand him are fooling themselves. They all seem to try and take him as all good or all bad. It's neither, people. He's a complicated guy with a mix of qualities.
He's kind of like one of Shakespeare's heroes: his good qualities are larger than life and so are his faults.
I just hope he is remembered for all the giving he did to others as much as for anything he did, good or bad, on the court.
I also think Pat will be an absolute joke as a coach. Unfortunately, the son has all the father's brashness and bull-headedness and none of his intelligence or charisma.
After this year, I don't give Pat more than two full seasons before Tech tires of him and gives him the boot.
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.