Category Archives: KSHSAA

Pains in the neck–literally and otherwise

The right side of my neck was killing me much of yesterday. It hurt to turn to my right. I probably slept wrong Wednesday night.

I took aspirin and used heat massage (good move carrying the massager in my travel bags) before going to bed. It reduced the pain, but when I woke up at 0400 this morning, it hurt again. I wonder what it could be. I’ve never had problems with sleeping at the TownePlace Suites at Briarcliff in Kansas City.

I did not take Seroquel last night before going to bed. I was groggy much of yesterday before leaving the hotel. I might be taking it early tonight. It’s supposed to rain anywhere from 1 to 3 inches in Kansas City between 1800 tonight and 0900 tomorrow. I wanted to stay at Buffalo Wild Wings until at least 2030 to play trivia, but Mother Nature might make me change my plans.

My neck may hurt, but nowhere near how much they’re hurting in Jefferson City.

A violent tornado tore through Missouri’s capital late Wednesday night, causing much destruction. The state capitol building was spared, but many homes were levelled. It happened on the eight-year anniversary of the monster tornado in Joplin, 205 miles to the southwest, which killed more than 100. Imagine if one of those tornadoes tore through Kansas City or St. Louis.

Russell is very fortunate it has never experienced the types of tornadoes in Udall (1955), Topeka (1966), Hesston (1990), Andover (1991) or Greensburg (2007). Katrina was horrendous, but I got out of town 48 hours before the storm arrived. I doubt I would have 48 minutes if a tornado as strong as the one in Jefferson City, or even worse, the ones in Greensburg and Joplin, were barreling towards Russell (or Hays if I were there for something).

The Missouri State High School Activities Association had to move its track and field state championships for Classes 3, 4 and 5 to other sites. Classes 3 and 5 will simply move 30 miles north on US 63 to Columbia, with Class 3 at the University of Missouri and Class 5 at Battle High. Class 4, however, has to go to Washington, 50 miles west of St. Louis along the Missouri River. Tough break for schools from the western half of the state having to make that long drive. Classes 1 and 2 held their state meet last Friday and Saturday.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association holds its mass chaos of a state track and field meet this weekend in Wichita. For the fourth consecutive year, I won’t be there. Praise Jesus. I absolutely despised covering that event. It may be great for the fans, athletes and coaches, but for the media who have to cover it, it is hell. It was much worse for me because I was trying to cover athletes from different classifications, and events were all going on at once in all six classes on Saturday. It sucked. It really sucked.

The KSHSAA began its baseball and softball state tournaments yesterday. The KSHSAA continues to insist on eight teams in every state tournament in those sports. Four would be far more manageable.

Another bad thing about KSHSAA state tournaments in many sports is the continued insistence on playing a third place game. Yes, I understand the KSHSAA insists the third place games are a reward, but in many cases, the coaches and players see it as a chore, one they would rather not undertake. They are heartbroken from seeing their state championship dreams die, and winning a meaningless game isn’t going to make it go away.

It has rained each of the last four days. It will rain again today. The KSHSAA is trying to beat Mother Nature and get these tournaments in. They were mostly successful yesterday, except in Salina, where evening games in Class 4A were suspended until today.

That’s what makes what I am about to type beyond asinine.

The KSHSAA has rescheduled all third place games in baseball, and in softball in Classes 6A (Lawrence), 5A (Maize) and 3A (Emporia), to be played after the championship games. Two sites in softball, 4A in Salina and 2A in Pratt, are using two diamonds simultaneously, so teams in the third place games won’t have to wallow in their sorrows waiting around.

WHAT. THE. F**K?

Third place games in baseball are a very, very, VERY bad idea. Many teams are out of pitching, and some pitchers can’t pitch, anyway, because the KSHSAA limits players to 105 pitches in any 72-hour period. They are a very bad idea in softball, too, although the underarm motion doesn’t cause quite the wear and tear.

It makes ZERO sense to play third place games after championship games. It’s bad enough the teams which lose in the semifinals have to stick around, sometimes on a very hot and humid day, to play a game for next to nothing (the winner gets a trophy, so there is technically something on the line). Now the KSHSAA is going to make the teams which lose in the semifinals sit for two hours or more and watch the championship game?

If I were coaching a team which loses a semifinal and then had to sit through the championship just to play a third place game, I would be livid. I would not want to subject my players to that humiliation.

Unfortunately, the KSHSAA holds the proverbial gun to the heads of its member school by threatening stiff penalties, including fines, suspensions, probation, and potential bans from future championships, for teams which forfeit a state tournament game. None have because of these threats. Administrators and coaches should be lauded for not exposing their student-athletes, and future student-athletes, to repercussions, but it has to be very unpleasant at times.

In recent years, third place games in baseball and softball state tournaments have been cancelled when rain delays occurred. Both teams received third place trophies. Why not go this route? The umpires who are scheduled to work the third place game are paid regardless of whether the game is played or not, so nobody will be out any money.

The state track meet has now been delayed until 1000. The first race was scheduled for 0730. Another reason I am glad to be far, far away from Wichita right now.

What’s in a name?

The girls basketball team of Schlagle High in Kansas City took third place today at the Kansas State High School Activites Association’s state tournament in Emporia.

Schlagle’s nickname is the Stallions. An alliterative nickname, not uncommon for schools in the KCK school district. You also have the Harmon Hawks, Sumne rSabres and Washington Wildcats.

However, why is the GIRLS team from Schlagle nicknamed the Stallions?

A stallion can never, ever be female.

How hard would it be for Schlagle to nickname its female teams the Mares or Fillies?

Iola uses Fillies as the nickname for its girls teams, while using Mustangs for the boys. Not hard.

I understand Schlagle would like to keep the alliteration, but the school is doing its students a huge disservice by using an anatomically incorrect nickname. It’s a school. They are supposed to be educating. And educating people that stallions can be female isn’t right.

Schlagle isn’t the only school in Kansas that leaves me scratching my head over its choice of (a) mascot, (b) colors and/or (c) name.

Exhibit #2: the Catholic high school in the city where I have spent three of the past four days.

Hutchinson Trinity is nicknamed the Celtics. Good nickname for a Catholic school.

Yet Trinity has a terrible color scheme, red and white.

What? Red and white when you’re nicknamed the Celtics? Come on. Green. GREEN. So what if you’re copying the Boston NBA franchise? Green and white scream Celtics. Red and white do not.

The public high school in Hutchinson got it right with Salthawks. Whenever you say Salthawks in Kansas, you know it’s Hutch High. Same with Ringnecks and Hill City. Any school can be Tigers, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Wildcats, Broncos or Trojans. It takes creativity to figure out a unique nickname.

Now, on to the actual name of some schools.

Wednesday evening, I was listening to Thunder Ridge’s girls basketball game against South Central.

I don’t know how the folks in Agra and Kensington came up with Thunder Ridge when they consolidated school districts in 2008, but it is a unique name and a name you would recognize right away if you follow high schools in Kansas enough.

However, South Central? Where the heck is that? It could be anywhere.

For the record, South Central is in Coldwater, the county seat and largest town in Comanche County along the Kansas-Oklahoma state line.

There was a time when there were two high schools in Comanche County, one in Coldwater and the other in Protection. However, the high school in Protection, despite being placed on the National Register of Historical Sites, closed more than a decade ago and is now serving as the middle school for the school district in Comanche County.

Why does USD 300 not call the high school “Comanche County High School”? People could easily look on a map and find Comanche County and where Coldwater is located. However, South Central is very nebulous. Nobody who attends school in Comanche County right now went while Protection High was still open. It’s time to make the change.

If Russell High School were not located in the city of Russell, I would hope it would be called Russell County, because it is the only remaining high school in Russell County.

Another thing I don’t get is why almost all school districts in Kansas are loath to name high schools after people. Kansas City is an exception.

Wichita has eight public high schools, nearly all of which take in a direction on the compass. The original Wichita High is now Wichita East. There’s also North, South, West, Northwest, Southeast and Northeast. The other is Wichita Heights, named for the neighborhood in the northern part of the city.

Olathe has five directional high schools. So does Shawnee Mission. The original Salina High changed its name to Salina Central when Salina South opened in 1971.

Strangely, the original Topeka High did not add a direction when Topeka West opened. Highland Park is named after the neighborhood.

I’m sorry I’m boring you with semantics. Just had to get it off my chest.

To console or not to console

The last day of Kansas’ high school basketball season is upon us. However, it’s all sideshows and consolation games until 1600, when the girls championship games start at six (five too many) sites. The boys games will start at 1815.

I have never been a fan of third place games. Never will be a fan. In Louisiana, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association does not require losers in the semifinals to come back. Kansas, along with Missouri and several other states, do.

The NCAA had a third place game in its men’s tournament from 1946 through 1981. It’s amazing it took 35 years for the NCAA to realize the teams which lost their national semifinals were in no mood to stick around at least 36 more hours to play a meaningless game. The last third place game, Virginia vs. LSU in 1981, was played the same day President Reagan was shot in Washington by John Hinckley Jr. There was serious consideration given to cancelling both the third place and championship (Indiana vs. North Carolina) games, but in the end, the games were played.

If the NCAA had been smart about it, it would have told Virginia and LSU to head for the airport and go home, because the third place game would be cancelled and not played. Then Indiana-North Carolina could be put on hold and postponed to the following day if need be. In the end, it worked out okay, because the president made it through surgery and served two full terms.

To its credit, UCLA won the only third place game it played under John Wooden, defeating Kansas in 1974 after a heartbreaking double overtime loss to North Carolina State, which defeated Marquette for the championship. Two years later, Gene Bartow coached the Bruins to victory in the consolation game against previously undefeated Rutgers. UCLA lost in that year’s semis to Indiana, which completed the last undefeated season in NCAA Division I men’s basketball by defeating Michigan.

I have never heard of a team forfeiting a third place game in Kansas, but I would applaud any coaches who would. It might force the KSHSAA to reassess the worth of third place games.

Basketball isn’t the only sport with a third place game in Kansas. ‘

Volleyball has them, but they go on at the same time as the championship match, which doesn’t add time. I think that’s a big mistake; I would like to see the championship matches played on a center court after completion of the semifinals in both classifications at a site.

Softball usually plays simultaneously on different diamonds. The biggest problems are baseball and soccer, where games can and often do go longer than regulation. Baseball is particularly troubling, since most teams have very few pitchers available due to pitch count limits.

If it were up to me, I would award each team which loses in the semifinals a plaque and medals immediately after that game, and that’s it. If the final day were only two championship games, the KSHSAA could make more money by charging two admissions and spacing the games out by four hours, playing one game at 1300 and one at 1700, alternating between boys and girls early/late each year.

If I were forced to coach in a third place game, I would play the seniors who are graduating and the players who rarely played varsity. The players on the end of the bench have worked just as hard as the starters all season. They deserve the opportunity to shine, if only for one day.

For the varsity starters who were returning the next season, I would play them, but not as much. I would explain it to them as gently as I could. Hopefully they would understand.

I remember Osborne’s girls playing in back-to-back third place games in 2007 and ’08. The Bulldogs won in the former year, and looked impressive in doing so. The next year, their hearts didn’t seem to be into it as much, and they lost.

I’m interested to see how Norton and Nemaha Central handle this. There is a trophy at stake. I don’t want a foul fest, and I don’t want a blowout.

LSU’s men’s basketball program is under serious fire for a wiretapped phone call involving coach Will Wade and the recruitment of Javonte Smart, a Baton Rouge native who is a starting guard on this year’s team. Wade is suspended indefinitely, and Smart will not play tonight vs. Vanderbilt. If the Bayou Bengals win, and they should, since the Commodores are 0-17 in the SEC, LSU will win at least a share of the conference championship and be the number one seed for the SEC tournament. Boy what bad timing, but if Wade indeed committed NCAA violations, he has to man up and pay the piper.

College basketball is corrupt. Yet people keep watching. I’m seriously considering taking a pass on this year’s NCAA tournament. I know I’m not filling out a bracket, that’s for sure.

Norton’s dreams dashed

Norton gave it all it had this afternoon, but Mary Broxterman proved to be too much.

The Royal Valley standout scored 26 points, going 9 of 14 from the field and 8 of 11 from the foul line, to help the Panthers from Hoyt to a 53-44 victory and a berth in tomorrow’s state championship game against Cheney, which leads Nemaha Central by 20 in the final minute of the third quarter.

The Bluejays, who got 16 from Taryn Kuhn and 12 from Hadley Hauser, will face the ladies from Seneca–the birthplace of John Riggins–at noon for third place.

Royal Valley is probably glad to see a new face in the championship game, even if Cheney is the obvious favorite. The Panthers lost twice to Nemaha Central in Big Seven League play during the regular season.

Riggins was born in Seneca because it has the only hospital in Nemaha County. The Diesel grew up in Centralia, a tiny hamlet 12 miles southwest of Seneca.

I’m not a fan of third place games. But I’m not playing in the game. I’m hoping Norton will regroup and come out strong. It deserves to take home something from Hutchinson after a stellar season, one where it had to navigate a difficult Mid-Continent League where Trego has its best team in at least 15 years, maybe ever, and Thomas More Prep is still a tough out even without Kayla Vitztum and other standouts.

I am ambivalent about going. Part of me says stay away because it’s a third place game. Part of me says go because it would be disrespectful to Norton. I stopped covering third place games when I was still going regularly. I missed Russell’s girls playing for third in 3A at Hutchinson in 2013; I had to be in Manhattan to watch Smith Center’s girls play for–and win–the 2A championship vs. Jefferson County North.

The carrot for the third place game is the trophy. The loser of the consolation game doesn’t get one. Now the players will have medals, but other than the sub-state championship plaque, nothing tangible commemorating the trip to state.

Norton won’t hang a banner in the Stull Gymnasium for this one, win or lose. Norton only hangs banners for state champions, a policy I like. Really like. Set the bar very high and challenge the athletes who wear the Norton colors to meet it. And that bar has been met plenty.

There is one school I covered extensively which recognizes just about any trip to a state tournament. Another filled up walls with league championship banners and sub-state championship banners, even if the team was one-and-done at state.

It was not a good day for the Mid-Continent League.

Trego’s girls lost 67-49 to Sterling in 2A, and Thomas More Prep’s boys fell 62-50 to Girard in 3A. No basketball titles for the league this year. Last year, Phillipsburg’s boys reached the 3A final, only to lose 44-42 on a buzzer beater by Halstead.

The Golden Eagles should be a force again next year. Donnie Shubert, who coached Trego’s boys to a state title many moons ago (see below), returns a ton of talent, including his daughter Lili, who was Trego’s leading scorer as a sophomore.

The MCL’s last championship, male or female, was Nick Linn’s Lady Red six years ago. The last MCL boys title? Trego in 2006. TMP won in 4A in 2007, but it was in the old Mid-State Activities Association at that time.

At least the MCL can crow about football championships by Phillipsburg and Smith Center in the fall; Trego’s girls winning cross country, led by individual 2A champion Helen Giefer; Plainville’s Jordan Finnesy winning a wrestling title; and looking forward to what should be good years in track and field and golf.

As I was running a couple of errands in Wichita this evening, an announcer referred to the girls basketball team at Kansas City Schlagle as the Stallions.

Big problem: stallions are always MALE. Schalgle and a couple of other schools perplex me with their choices of nicknames, colors and even school names. I’ll elaborate at some point tomorrow.

The tilapia from Outback was outstanding. Lunch? Not so much. I’m swearing off most fast food seafood forever (not Popeye’s). Why the heck am I eating it in the first place, considering I grew up in the best city in America for seafood?

I have problems in my life, but I could be in Venezuela, where the electricity is out in nearly the entire country, adding more misery to a country where millions are starving, the unemployment rate is 35%, $1 of currency would get you about .00000001 cents American, and the military is blocking all humanitarian aid from Colombia and Brazil.

Maduro is a psychopath, right on par with the fatso running North Korea. Anyone who supports him is also a psychopath. Huey Long was never this bad.

I’m going to try not to think of Maduro as I prepare for bed. There’s much more pleasant stuff to think of.

64 minutes to a title…or 32 to heartbreak

My iPad was off when i dug it out of my bag at the arena in Hutchinson. Not the first time it happened; it did so in January at Kansas City. I was panicked then because I thought it was not working. Turns out I only needed to execute a hard reboot. This time, I knew to do that, and it was back online in seconds.

Yes I am in Hutchinson. Norton takes on Royal Valley in the first Class 3A girls semifinal at 1500. The winner gets the winner of Cheney vs. Nemaha Central at 1830. In between are boys games, Beloit vs. Perry-Lecompton at 1645 and Thomas More Prep vs. Girard at 2015.

I took my SLR camera with me. I haven’t taken photos at a basketball game since Caitlyn’s last game for Norton two years ago. I remember the Bluejays lost by three at Beloit, and Caitlyn missed a tying shot in the final seconds. I hustled out of there to drive to Kansas City. I pulled into the hotel at 0001.

The WiFi provided by Hutchinson Community College is working today. It wasn’t Friday. I have plenty of data with my Verizon plan, but every bit I can save helps. I have never gone over half my allotted data for a month. The most I used was 42% last April, and that was because of the trip to Baton Rouge, since I was using my hotspot while driving.

Peggy isn’t here. She went to Lincoln to watch Caitlyn play beach volleyball for Ottawa in a tournament at Nebraska. Hopefully the courts are climate controlled; it isn’t as cold as it was early this week, but it is chilly enough. It was foggy most of the drive to Hutch today, but the sun is trying to peek out of the clouds.

It’s down to Wichita for me after this. I’ll give my parents a chance to clean the basement and not have to cook tomorrow. I’m planning on being home Sunday by noon. I don’t really have much writing to do this week, only for the teams we have left: Thunder Ridge girls, Osborne boys and Plainville boys, who lost Wednesday to Inman. Thunder Ridge has the Herculean task of facing Central Plains, which has won 109 consecutive games and is going for its sixth consecutive state title, something never done in Kansas before by a boys or girls team.

My high school, Brother Martin, lost in the state semifinals of the diluted Louisiana High School Athletic Association boys playoffs yesterday. This is the third year the LHSAA has held separate playoffs for “non-select” and “select” schools. Non-select is basically all public schools with traditional attendance zones and charter schools which do not have strict admissions requirements, while select schools are private and religious schools, plus those charter schools which have a strict admissions policy.

Scotlandville falls into the very last category. The north Baton Rouge school is a public school, yes, but there is a significant magnet component, forcing the Hornets to battle the likes of Baton Rouge Catholic and members of the New Orleans Catholic League in the state playoffs.

Sure enough, Scotlandville will play St. Augustine, Brother Martin’s archival, for the “Division I select” state championship tomorrow in Lake Charles. Meanwhile, the “Class 5A non-select” championship game is Walker vs. Thibodaux. I’m sure the “non-select” schools of 5A are overjoyed Scotlandville is a select school, because the Hornets have owned Louisiana basketball in recent years.

Lake Charles is not the best place for these games. I have never seen Burton Coliseum, the facility hosting the boys semifinals and finals, but it’s not conveniently located, and there are much better options. The best are the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at LSU, but both of those facilities have logistical problems with the home teams. The NBA has been flexible with teams wishing to allow amateur organizations to use their arenas, but the Southeastern Conference has not, and LSU has not hosted high school title games since 1996.

The same thing exists in the Big 12, a reason why there haven’t been any high school championship games in Lawrence since 1987, and there are none in Manhattan this year.

If Louisiana can’t get either of the showcase arenas, the Cajundome in Lafayette worked very well when it hosted, as much as it pains me to say it. I can’t stand the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but it is a fine facility which is centrally located.

Tip in 30 minutes. Time to go for now.

Should have used a compass!

Norton’s quest for its first girls basketball state championship in 36 years is alive, although it wasn’t easy.

The Bluejays scored the game’s first nine points and led by as many as 11 in the second half, but Scott City fought the whole way, forcing Norton to expend more energy than it would have liked.

In the end, it all worked out. Norton defeated the Beavers 48-45 to advance to a semifinal Friday at 1500 against Royal Valley, which defeated Eureka 56-36. Royal Valley is in the small town of Hoyt, 32 kilometers (20 miles) north of Topeka on US Highway 75. Royal Valley is an afterthought in its league, the Big Seven, where such heavyweight athletic programs like Holton, Nemaha Central and Sabetha reside.

Peggy showed up with Clark and other members of the extended Cox clan. Jennifer Hauser, whose daughters Hadley and Tessa play for the Bluejays, is Clark’s cousin.

A lot of people from Norton were surprised to see me, and with good reason, considering I had not been to a high school basketball game in over a year. Now Sue Rossi, George’s wife, wants me to come back Friday (and hopefully Saturday). Even though Peggy can’t make it Friday, I’ll probably oblige Sue and return to Hutchinson.

This time, I’ll know the proper entrance at the arena. I went to the wrong one when I arrived, and two people from Hutchinson Community College yelled at me I was at the wrong entrance and looked at me like I was totally clueless.

I haven’t been to this facility in six years. I don’t know cardinal directions like I do for the Superdome, LSU’s basketball arena, or Kauffman Stadium. Geez.

It would have helped if there were signs pointing towards the media/official entrance. There were none. I guess I was supposed to automatically know where the northwest entrance to the arena was. There were no indications outside the arena posted by HCC what entrance was what.

In that regard, covering state tournaments at Kansas State was far easier. The entrance nearest Bill Snyder Family Stadium was for the media and officials. Easy. It’s just as easy at Fort Hays.

Now I’m in Salina at Old Chicago. I was hoping to play Buztime trivia, and I am–but not the way I like. The Internet feed which supplies Buzztime’s tablets at the restaurant is kaput, and I’m forced to play as a guest, meaning I won’t have a record of the games. Beggars can’t be choosers. Not the first time this has happened; it occurred many years ago at the old B-Dubs in Lawrence.

I saw on the Buzztime website the Golden Q in downtown Hays has it now. Going to investigate. I have to be there tomorrow to pick up meds at Walgreens, so I’ll have time to see.

There’s something bugging me at Old Chicago. Not just the trivia snafu. That’s another topic for another post.

Hike to Hutchinson

I am dragging myself out of my basement to attend a high school basketball game this afternoon, something I have not done in over a year.

That used to be a way of life for me from early December through early March from 2006 through 2015, but I’ve hardly done it any more.

I’m doing it today because I need to see Peggy, whom I have not seen since before Thanksgiving. Four months is too long.

Norton is playing in the Kansas Class 3A girls state tournament at Hutchinson against Scott City at 1500. Hutchinson is a nice city, but it is just so hard to get to Hutch. There is a significant amount of time on two-lane highways coming from western Kansas, unless you go the long way, which goes through Salina and then McPherson, where four-lamed Kansas Highway 61 veers southwest into Hutchinson.

I’m thinking I’m going to the long way. I’m in need of good seafood, this being Ash Wednesday. The only fast food restaurant which has it is Popeye’s. And I have to go to Salina to get that.

I have been to the Hutchinson arena only once. That was 2013, when Russell’s girls played in the state tournament. The arena has been completely rebuilt from the inside, and I am interested to see the upgrades. I have heard nothing but great things about it.

The Bluejays are in the girls state tournament for the first time since 2008. Norton’s boys went in 2016 and ’17, so its fans know the place.

Norton’s only girls basketball state championship was in 1983, when Kevin Jilka was in his first season as coach. He retired after 30 seasons at the helm in 2012, but I’m sure he and Janet will be there, cheering for his pupil, George Rossi.

I wish this game, and all other Kansas high school state tournament games, were in Manhattan or Lawrence, but I’m not going to get my wish. I would go into detail, but I’m afraid if I do, I’ll write so much I’ll (a) bore people to tears and (b) lose track of time and not get to Hutchinson.

I thought about staying overnight, but nah, I’ll have plenty of time to get back to Russell before 2200, which is my appointed bedtime in order to get into a better sleep routine. If I can get back to Salina in time, I might be able to play an hour or two of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings or Old Chicago. I haven’t done it since January 27. Too long.

Speaking off too long, if I don’t post this, I will start rambling TOO LONG. Bye for now!


Voicing my opinion

This letter to the editor appears in Sunday’s edition of the Kansas City Star.

 

High school wrestling concluded in most states last month with state tournaments. While the four states bordering Kansas all held their championships for all classifications in one location, Kansas held its tournaments in three locales.

Kansas is one of the few states that hold tournaments in more than one location. In fact, only one state, Connecticut, uses more than three sites for its state tournament.

Sadly, this is typical of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, which forces fans to pick and choose one location to watch state championship competition, except for track and field.

I’m sure many coaches in the Kansas City area envy Missouri, where all the wrestling championships are under the same roof at Mizzou Arena, instead of spread out among Park City, Salina and Hays.

The KSHSAA would not have to hunt far and wide for an appropriate site for state wrestling. Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka and the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina are all excellent options.

Get with it, KSHSAA. The student-athletes and coaches deserve better.

Billy Graham, crazy driving, unstately wrestling

The Reverend Dr. Billy Graham passed away Wednesday at age 99. Graham had been a spiritual adviser to every U.S. president from Harry Truman through Barack Obama, and he was particularly close to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Graham was called “America’s Pastor” by many, and he reportedly preached to live audiences of close to 215 million in 185 countries.

The biggest crusade Graham held in my native Louisiana was in October 1970, when he held court for five nights at LSU’s Tiger Stadium. Close to 200,000 came out to see Graham, many of them from north Louisiana and Mississippi, where he was far more popular than southern Louisiana, which is majority Catholic.

Gee, LSU could let Billy Graham preach in Tiger Stadium for five nights, but it has not allowed Louisiana high schools to play in the stadium since 1966? Come on.

I never watched Graham’s crusades. I’m not a religious zealot to begin with, and I was baptized Catholic, so I naturally was far more interested in what came from John Paul II than anything Graham said. However, it was apparent Graham had a profound impact on tens of millions of Americans, and he has to be considered one of the most influential religious figures in the history of the United States, if not the world.

I was very disgusted to see so many people cheering Graham’s passing. An editor at Teen Vogue posted on Twitter that she hoped Graham “enjoyed his life in hell”. Someone I know said “good riddance” on Facebook.

Sad. Very sad. Nobody is denying these people’s right to disagree with Graham’s teachings. However, keep your vitriol to yourself. Please.

There was quite a bit of nastiness on social media when Benedict XVI unexpectedly resigned in February 2013. I can only imagine, too, what would have been said about John XXIII had social media been around at the time of his papacy. For my non-Catholic friends, John XXIII initiated the Second Vatican Council which led to sweeping changes in the Roman Catholic Church, especially in regards to the liturgy, where Latin was replaced with the local language and the priest faced the congregation instead of facing the sanctuary.

If you want to see just how different the Catholic mass was before the Second Vatican Council, click the link below to watch John F. Kennedy’s requiem mass. It is very fascinating.

JFK funeral mass

Gee, this might be the longest I have ever written on religion.

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I pulled off a daring double dip yesterday, driving to Salina to get my hair cut by Amber at SportClips, then racing back to Hays to make my 2 p.m. appointment with Crista. Not recommended.

I only did that because the weather Tuesday was terrible and the roads were iced over, and I knew they would be that way again today. Therefore, I only had a very small window to accomplish this. Somehow I did it, but I would rather not try it again.

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I am so glad I will not be attending a state wrestling tournament this weekend.

First, it’s dumb Kansas needs three sites to host four tournaments. If Missouri and Nebraska can host four separate state tournaments in one building, why can’t Kansas?

It’s not like Kansas doesn’t have a building in which to do it. Intrust Bank Arena in downtown Wichita would be great. So would the ones in Topeka and Salina. Heck, if the Missouri State High School Activities Association can work with the University of Missouri and the SEC to host its tournament at Mizzou Arena, and the Nebraska School Activities Association can do the same with Creighton and the Big East to use the Century Link Center, why can’t Kansas work something out with the Big 12 and Kansas and/or Kansas State? It would probably have to be K-State, because I doubt KU would want Allen Fieldhouse in use for anything other than the Jayhawks. It’s probably the reason why the Kansas State High School Activities Association hasn’t hosted a state basketball tournament in Lawrence since 1987.

Is it because the tournaments in Missouri and Nebraska are over three days instead of two? So what? It’s better for the athletes that the tournaments are held over three days. Asking these kids to win three bouts in one day, which you have to do on day one in Kansas if you want to make the championship round, is too much. In Missouri and Nebraska, wrestlers have to win one bout on each of the first three days to reach the final, which is in the evening on day three.

If Kansas is that scared of losing instruction time, then hold the third day of the tournament on a Sunday. Or if Sunday is too sacrosanct, then bite the bullet and start the tournament on Thursday like most states do with a three-day format.

Louisiana won’t hold a three-day tournament for some reason. And the wrestlers in the largest division have to win five bouts, not four, to win the championship. This needs to be pointed out, too.

I shouldn’t complain. I’m  not covering this cluster you know what anymore. But I will write letters to the editor in Kansas City, Wichita, Topeka and Salina to voice my opinion like I did with football.

I know nothing will get done. Kansas still insists on determining state golf champions with a one-round tournament instead of two which most states do (some even do three).

I know one place I will not be this weekend: Fort Hays State. And another: the arena in Salina. And another: the arena in Park City.

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Dawn’s last day in Kansas City is tomorrow. Too bad I’m stuck on the prairie. At least I got to see her twice last weekend.

More of this BS OT

The Iowa-Iowa State game is in overtime.

FUCK ME HARD.

God I hate overtime in college and high school football.

No, check that. I don’t hate overtime in college and high school football.

I DESPISE IT.

In case you have been living under a rock, college football games which end tied after four quarters use a tiebreaker where each team has a possession beginning from the opponents’ 25-yard line.

There is one man to blame for this bullshit format.

His name is Brice Durbin.

In 1971, Durbin, then Executive Director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association, came up with an idea to break ties on the field, rather than determine the team which advanced in case of a tied postseason game (notice I did not say “win” the game, because the game actually ended TIED) using statistics.

At the time, the first statistical criteria to determine the team which advanced was first downs. If that was tied, then it was the team which had the greater number of penetrations inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (the “red zone”). If that were tied, then the winner would be determined by a coin toss. Fortunately, no games needed the coin toss.

Durbin came up with a tiebreaker where each team would receive possession at the opponents’ 10-yard line, first down and goal. The team which had more points at the end of the overtime period (similar to an inning of baseball) won. If it were still tied, the game would go on (and on and on) until one team had more points.

The 10-yard line? Give me a break. You want to talk about tilting the playing field. Asking a defense to stop a team from making two and a half yards per play for four plays is way too much. Any offense which can’t average three yards a play isn’t worth a damn, either.

Even worse, the KSHSAA format precludes a defensive touchdown. So let’s see here…a defender intercepts a pass and has nothing but open field to the other end zone. Instead of rewarding the defender with a game-winning touchdown, you’re going to reward the team that turned the ball over by giving them a chance to stop the opponent? What the heck?

Kansas first used it in 1971, but no other state (smartly) adopted it for many years.

In 1972, a Louisiana Class AAAA semifinal between Monroe Neville and New Orleans Brother Martin (my alma mater) ended 0-0. The Tigers and Crusaders were also tied in first downs (9-9) and penetrations (1-1).

Louisiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Frank Spruiell suggested to the coaches, Neville’s Charlie Brown and Martin’s Bobby Conlin, to flip a coin to determine the winner. Brown and Conlin told Spruiell to get bent. Spruiell then suggested a “sudden death” version of the KSHSAA overtime, where one team would take possession at the 10. If it scored, that team won. If it didn’t, the defensive team would have won. Brown and Conlin said no to that too.

The next day, the LHSAA executive committee told Neville and Martin to play again the following Tuesday in Alexandria. The Tigers won 8-0, then defeated Bossier City Airline three days later in Monroe for the championship.

Eventually, Louisiana and the National Federation of State High School Associations codified the KSHSAA overtime into the rule book.

The NCAA would adopt a modified version of the KSHSAA overtime for its playoffs at all levels except the top level in the late 1970s. The differences were the series started at the 25; teams could make first downs (the only way to make a first down under the NFHS rule was on a defensive penalty which carried an automatic first down, and there are very few of those in the rules); and the defense could score on a turnover.

Texas and Massachusetts, which play under college rules, finally adopted the NCAA overtime in the 1990s. Previously, Texas used first downs and penetrations to determine the team which advanced if there were a tie in a playoff game–EXCEPT in the finals. If a championship game were tied, the teams were declared “co-champions”. This was the case for Georgia championship games into the 21st century.

In 1995, the NCAA extended overtime to bowl games at the I-A (major college, now Football Bowl Subdivision) level, and in 1996, it came to the regular season. After numerous games went several overtimes, the NCAA added a new rule in 1997 stating a team had to attempt a 2-point conversion beginning with the third overtime.

The National Federation now allows states to modify the KSHSAA format. Missouri starts from the 25-yard line, except it does not allow the defense to score, nor does it require a team to go for two starting in the third overtime. Louisiana still starts from the 10, but it now requires teams to go for two starting with the third OT. Oregon allows the defense to score with a turnover.

I have seen way, way, way too many people on social media demand the NFL adopt the college format. They’re smoking some powerful crack. The 1985 Bears defense would have a hell of a time stopping an offense from scoring from 25 yards out.

I don’t care. I still despise it college overtime. It’s terrible. Unless a team has a godawful kicker, they are in field goal range to start the possession. And again, a team needs to make three yards per play to make a first down. Three yards per play over nine plays is a touchdown unless my math is faulty.

High school overtime REALLY turns my stomach.

I don’t see what the problem is with leaving a tied game tied. If colleges and high schools insist on breaking ties, limit it to the postseason (which means only conference championship games and College Football Playoff semifinals and finals in FBS), then use sudden death. And REAL sudden death, not the crap the NFL has now adopted.

Or better yet, adopt a system similar to association football, where there are two periods of equal time (5, 6 or 7 minutes), and the game is over after the periods are played. If the score is still tied, then it becomes sudden death.

Iowa won 44-41 in case you’re curious.