Underline the following sentence and send it to all school officials in the 13th Region. THE ARENA IS THE PERFECT PLACE FOR THE 13TH REGION TOURNAMENT!
Sunday I attended the Harlem Globetrotters game at The Arena. It was the first basketball game played in the new structure.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked down at the floor. Finally, a place in this part of the state to play basketball that is equal, or even better than most any other arena other than the major school’s basketball facilities.
The Globetrotter show was fun and well worth the price of admission. I had seen them perform here many years ago at the Edwards Gym. Back then Meadowlark Lemon was the star of the show and Curly was the one who put on the dribbling act.
But the main reason I wanted to attend was to see how this facility accommodated a basketball game. It passed with flying colors.
For 50 years or more I have been attending the 13th Region basketball tournaments. In 30 of those years i was broadcasting the tournament game.
Like many principals, coaches and school officials I entered the gyms through a pass gate, I never had to worry about parking because I had a parking pass.
It wasn’t until the last two decades that I got a better understanding of what the average fan had to put up with to attend these games.
I’ve had to stand out in the cold and rain waiting for one session to get over with so I could enter for the second session. I’ve had to wait in long lines of traffic for it to clear out so we could park. I’ve had to endure overcrowded gyms that were hot and fight to get a seat.
Like many of you I’ve had to tolerate terrible conditions to see my team play. Why? Because I love basketball.
I could list many other unfavorable situations and you could probably add to that list.
Now it doesn’t have to be that way because The Arena is the perfect place for tournaments.
If for no other reason other than to benefit the fans, all future tournaments should be played there.
But there are many more reasons why it is best for all teams. It is a neutral floor, one that is similar to Rupp Arena where the state tournament is played.
As of now 11 of the 16 regions play their tournaments at an arena or on a college floor. This gives them an advantage over those who play at a high school gym.
The schools will receive more money. As a matter of fact all schools in the region will be paid whether or not they are in the tournament.
The seats are comfortable and the aisles are widely spaced to allow people to get to their seats. And all seats provide a good view of the game.
Other than the sound system at Sunday’s game every thing was great. The sound can be fixed as well as more parking spaces made available.
Not only should the 13th Region play there, but also the 50th district, the All A tournament and others.
Playing at The Arena should get unanimous support from all schools in the 13th Region, if for no other reason than respect for the fans.