Aside from the New Madrid County Central Eagles, high school football as we know it in our area, is over for 2008. Not to take credit away from NMCC, because we all know they're pretty salty on the gridiron, but for those of you moving on to the next best thing, high school hoops begins real soon. The season is about to officially begin and the Riverbend Classic "rumbles" back into New Madrid for its 14th year to get things started.
The traditional Oran Invitational (53rd annual this season) always features instant classics, like last year's Bell City vs. Scott Central game. Of course, this game is always a good one, but throw it in a compact gymnasium with a full house, and it just makes it even better. More claustrophobic yes, but enjoyable even more so.
Which brings me to the topic for the day... rivalry games.
Put on your steel toe boots, this one may affect others in more ways than one. I'm just throwing this out there, stating the obvious and making a case. Don't hate me or blowup SpeakOut, unless you're in favor of my next few statements. I believe avid hoops fans know exactly where this is headed, so let's just dive right in.
The last time that the Scott County Central Braves took the court with the Sikeston Bulldogs was January 5, 1971. We've all heard the timeless tales of "fights breaking out everywhere" and "uncontrollable crowds" but I've also been told that there was only one incident, and not a huge riot like spoken of by some members of the community. I read in the 'Show-Me Kings' book by Mike Mitchell about a few things, but it beats me, I wasn't there, but, forgive and forget is my motto. Don't we teach those types of things to kids in schools?
Not to mention the fact that these kids see each other throughout the season. Believe me, I've witnessed it at several games when one school has the night off. So, why not let these kids play in a real, meaningful contest? Give them something to play for instead of just the Notre Dame or Charleston rivalry game for Sikeston, or the Bell City game for Scott Central.
Does it go back to the "fights" and what-not? Is it the uncontrollable crowd? If so, I can remember several instances from my day and just a few short years before, where there were incidents that occurred between Sikeston and Charleston. That didn't stop any games from taking place that year, or in the following years to date. We all know that these games will never stop. Still not making sense to me.
Also, just Tuesday morning, I heard of a huge game where there was an incident with Dexter I believe, in which chairs were thrown around and crowds were getting out of hand following a buzzer beater. I was told that you could hear the debacle going on in the background of the radio broadcast and that they actually replayed it on Saturday so that people could relive the situation. Odd, we still play Dexter.
If you take a look at the top programs from the area, Scott Central is obviously up there with their numerous titles, just ask my co-worker Chris Pobst. He can tell you play-by-play if you're interested. So, if they're in, who is the next best thing to face them on the court?
Oh, how about the school that's just a whopping 13.43 miles from the front door of SCC? It can't be about distance, because we have buses that travel a lot further, take West Plains for example. There are family members that attend each school, but can never have the fun of playing their cousins, brothers, sisters, etc. Can this be brought up for further review?
Sikeston plays Notre Dame, Charleston, NMCC and a lot of other schools with top-notch basketball programs, why not see what it's like to play against kids that grow up alongside our very own? Who wouldn't want to see this take place? My line's open, and an operator is standing by to take your call. Ha ha.
Here's an idea, if there's a recurrence of the "problems" just take care of it in an orderly manner. We've got plenty of resources in the police department to take care of anything that is considered causing tension in-or-outside the city limits of Sikeston. I'm sure this game would be played out to perfection, troubles aside with a lot of happy fans in the seats.
Option two, play it at a neutral site. Shoot, for all I care, we could play it in a church gym and call it the Sports Page Invitational. I'm sure we could find eligible officials with a non-bias opinion on the game. Can't you picture this? Bring back the game, it's been way too long.
Now, as for the Bums...
After last year's district game with Notre Dame, I think it's time to rethink the Bums organization. I witnessed the Sikeston players getting off the bus, only to be met by several, and I use that term loosely, members of the ND pep squad. No, not cheerleaders -- guys and girls decked out in Bulldog blue, costumes and the works. They not only jeered the Red and Black all the way into the front door, they didn't sit down, or shut up the entire game, in which they won.
Sure, it was great to see our beloved Bums over there holding up the Standard Democrat front page, but I'd rather see them getting just as rowdy and being kids as the next group. I make a motion that we let the kids cheer like every other school. They should be given their limitations, but not have their rights taken away as a fan. Take a look at KFVS-12 on basketball reports, student sections have a good time, and rightfully so. That's what I call school pride, and it seems that we're lacking in that department from year's past.
So, the word for the week, from the sports desk, is possibility. Could it be a possibility that the Bums could cheer as Bums once did? Could it be a possibility that we'll once again see the Scott Central vs Sikeston match up? Only time will tell, and the time has come for the 2008 hoops season. Until next week, here's some things to ponder. See you then.