Well Sikeston fans, you may have finally gotten your way.
After recent years of struggling to make it to 'the ship,' with one particular school standing in your way, the good folks at MSHSAA have cleared the roads, painted new lines and sent a squad car to lead you there.
With all the hubbub of football season, some of you may have failed to notice that the 2010-11 basketball district assignments have again been realigned with one particular school shipped to the other side of the bracket.
I think Bulldog fans know who I'm talking about.
Yes, thats right. St. Francis Borgia has been moved to District 9 leaving the first eight districts in the hands of Sikeston with them to do with as they please. Unless a surprise team sneaks up and does what a dog typically does to a mailman, Sikeston should have a clear shot at reaching Mizzou Arena next March.
Obviously, nothing is a given and a ton of hard work from Holifield & Co. will still have to be done. But if recent history tells us anything, Sikeston's road to a possible final four will be much easier with the talent and experience they have returning and a monster team such as the Borgia Knights not waiting for them in the quarterfinals.
I know, or at least I'd like to think, no one in a Bulldogs uniform asked for this change in alignments and I'm pretty sure if given 10 chances to play a 'powerhouse' like a Borgia squad for a chance at a state appearance, Sikeston would answer that bell 10 times.
Now, I'm about to pull out some old school Standard Democrat on you because, basically I'm boring and not creative, so, here it goes. 'Nobody asked me, but' how exactly will this help?
Like I said before, no one asked for this type of change and I'm not insinuating it was lobbied for or anything of that nature. District realignments happen almost monthly, it seems anymore, and Sikeston, for once, hit the jackpot.
Of course the same could be said about looking ahead to this year's football district before the season, where previously winless Cape Central, Perryville and a Farmington team that was handled by the Bulldogs last year currently looks like one of the toughest districts on the eastern side of the state.
I've been around long enough to hear this story and that story about how this team and that team always stood in the way of the Bulldogs' first basketball, baseball and football state titles, but isn't that what made those teams so good? Playing the best there was to offer, including Sikeston?
Again, let me reiterate, I know this situation is out of Sikeston's hands and I'm just bringing it up for arguments sake. Please don't ask for my job. I have a wife, two kids and a dog to provide for. They are all really cute too. I have pictures.
Ok, say Sikeston breezes through to the semifinals blasting every team that comes their way this season. What type of team/teams do you think will be waiting for them in Columbia?
Now you say, 'Chris, we don't live close enough to St. Louis to play those metro teams every weekend and we have to play our conference games.' That's very true random person reading this. Conference games have to be played no matter what and yes, it is asking a lot for every other game to head north or to another state.
But, in today's Southeast Missouri scene where two teams, more or less, dominate the area, maybe traveling or, heaven forbid, hosting a big school at the very comfy and spacious Field House here or there throughout the season might not be a bad thing.
And the Bulldogs are trying to do just that. I know there are efforts being made this year to try and 'beef up the schedule' by playing in a St. Louis tournament this Christmas as well as dropping a few games that were over before they were played. I also know, that being as good as they have been, Sikeston has had their troubles even finding a team that will play them. Which may be the case again this season.
Now, with Borgia out of the way until possibly a state championship game, at least we know there is an effort being made to try and fill the void left by the Knights. Miller Career Academy is now the possible quarterfinal matchup to look forward to, with improved Farmington and Desoto waiting for their shot as well.
And even if there isn't a Borgia, Helias, Vashon or another 'powerhouse' putting up Bulldog road blocks, there's always this tiny school about five minutes away that is always ready for some good competition.