The past week in the sports world has brought a few questions to mind:
• How do we expect kids to display sportsmanship when the adults around them do not?
• How can the Big East still be considered a step below the powerhouse conferences after what Louisville did to Florida?
• Did anyone out there know that there is such a thing as the GoDaddy.com Bowl?
• Will there still be 35 bowl games when the new bowl playoff system is put into place?
The first question came to mind when I was watching the Henry-Carroll basketball game last Wednesday night. The Panthers were running away with the game and the Cats were pressing to try to get back in it. On three occasions the Cats were beaten with long passes and, as they ran desperately back down court to stop easy layups, the Cats committed hard fouls.
On the last one, Carroll County’s standout player, Dallas Gibson, fell to the ground writhing in pain. He had twisted his knee as the foul occurred. Because of the previous hard fouls the Carroll County fans were incensed and began to shout at the referees to do something about it. Some even shouted at the offending player. Eventually two Carroll County fans came on to the floor as the officials and coaches tended to Gibson who was still on the floor.
The two men were escorted from the building to applause from the Henry County fans, which only incensed the Panther fans more. Shouts for “payback” were heard by many onlookers.
At this point, I just wanted to leave. I was embarrassed, I was angered and I wondered if calm and common sense would return. Eventually it did return, mainly because officials, coaches and players handled things much better than those in the stands.
My view of the play was blocked by other players retreating down court, but I was able to view the video of the play later and what I saw was this: Gibson twisted his knee as he planted to go up for a layup and then (almost simultaneously) the Henry County player reached for the ball while running at full speed and banged into him, making both players sprawl to the ground.
Henry County coach Enoch Welch said he had talked with Carroll County coach Carroll Yeager who saw nothing “dirty” or inappropriate in the play.
Thank goodness there were some adults at the game who kept things in perspective.
Beast of the Big East
As for the Cardinals football team — what a display! They opened the game with a great defensive play that set the tone for the rest of the game. The Cardinals built a lead that forced the Gators to go away from their vaunted rushing game and won convincingly against a team that was just a couple of big plays from taking on Alabama in the SEC championship game and a shot at the national title.
Those Card haters out there (many of whom I consider good friends) can’t say that Louisville won against lesser competition.
As for those who say that Florida wasn’t motivated to play in a non-championship caliber bowl-they didn’t watch the game closely. The Gators may have made a lot of mistakes, but they were frustration mistakes, not careless mistakes. Their mistakes were late hits, bad passes and unsportsmanlike conduct plays that all came because the Gators were not accustomed to being down against a ‘little team.’
As for the Big East, they finished the bowl season 3-2 overall, 1-1 against SEC teams and 1-0 in games that mattered.
Go away bowl
I was flipping through the channel guide Sunday night and looked at the listing for one of the ESPN family of channels when I saw that the GoDaddy.Com Bowl was being played. Curious, I read further and discovered that powerhouses Arkansas State and Kent State were locked in a death struggle for….what? A date with Danica Patrick?
I mean really? How many fans outside of Kent, Ohio, and Jonesboro, Ark., actually tuned in to watch this one? If you are not from one of those addresses and you watched the game, you are either a relative of one of the players involved or you need to seek counseling for your sports addiction.
Bowl playoff system
The GoDaddy.Com Bowl (I can hardly restrain the giggles when I say it) got me to wondering if the new bowl playoff for a national title will mean the end to 6-6 mid-major teams getting to go to bowls.
So I did some research about the new system and found that even the people who are planning to install the new system don’t yet know how the system is going to work. As I waded through the different scenarios favored by all the different self-seeking leaders who are in charge of this mess, I got a headache and just gave up. I guess we’ll know when they finally make up their minds and find a way to make even more money for their universities and coaches.