High school basketball is slated to begin Monday night, but like almost everything else in the era of COVID–19, there are some changes.
One of the victims of COVID-19 appears to be sportsmanship.
Per the Kentucky High School Athletic Association rule changes, the traditional postgame handshake by opposing teams is suspended.
Despite what may be written in the rules, basketball is a contact sport. Players beat and bang each other, and collide when diving for loose balls for 32 minutes.
After all of that, the least the players should be able to do is go down the line and slap the other team’s hands.
Is it hard to do after your team has been blown off the floor? Yes.
Do the players mean it when they are saying, “Good game,” or something along those lines, after a tough loss? With a few exceptions, not really.
But it is an important life lesson.
Win with humility and lose with dignity.
Give the players a chance to sanitize their hands, and put on masks before doing the handshake, or have them sanitize immediately afterward. Let them do a fist or elbow bump.
There has got to be some sort of happy medium.
Besides, with basketball, you are looking at a maximum of 15 players on each team. That is in the KHSAA rules as well.
If that few seconds is going to make a difference then it is time to just call the whole thing off and try again in 2022.
I’m happy they are going to have a basketball season. Hopefully, a boys’ and a girls’ team will be lifting up the respective state championship trophies at Rupp Arena.
But micromanaging what has become a tradition in all high school sports is taking something away from the games. No, it doesn’t make a difference on the scoreboard. But high school sports is supposed to be about developing character.
A few random things:
• I hate to see the tip off gone from high school basketball as well. While the KHSAA says it is temporary in an effort to limit contact, I wonder if it will return, even after COVID–19 is behind us? A coin toss in basketball just doesn’t seem right.
• If the powers that be want to help high school basketball, how about a shot clock?
What is to keep a clearly overmatched team from pulling out former North Carolina Coach Dean Smith’s game plan against Duke in 1979 when the Tar Heels played four corners to the extreme and took a seven-point lead at halftime? The score was 7-0 after 20 minutes of basketball.
If it hasn’t happened recently, watch for a high school coach to break out Smith’s playbook at some point.
Follow the college rules and institute a 30 second shot clock.
• While basketball will dominate the sports headlines over the next few weeks, I know there are some other sports slated to begin in the next few weeks. Look for coverage of wrestling, cheerleading and University of the Cumberlands Football.
• Sending out belated birthday wishes to my better half, Sharon Manning. She has put up with me for going on 17 years now. Happy 50th birthday, Mrs. Manning!
• Also, happy birthday to my cohort Mark White, who is turning 50 on Jan. 4.
• With the bars and restaurants opening back up, and COVID fatigue setting in, you may be tempted to celebrate the end of 2020 to excess Thursday night. If you do so, please don’t get behind the wheel. Someone else’s life may depend on your decision. If that isn’t enough to discourage you, remember area law enforcement will be out in force, and, because of the holiday, the courts won’t be open on Friday.
Do you really want to spend your long holiday weekend as a guest of the county jail?