Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 11, 2013

Day: Sports as I see it

By Ray Day
Guest columnist

— Most of us have times when we want to vent our anger about things that happen for no good reason whatsoever and there are some who just don’t give a darn about what changes we have each day. Take me for example. There are things going on every year in sports where we are the ones who buy the tickets, yet we have no say about what’s happening. For years, the Pacers were a great team and the state of Indiana was proud of them. But then we got some hot heads on the team who just don’t know how to be good and loyal to the city and state. Then, as the team started going sour, one of the best players we ever had, Reggie Miller, retires and since then it has been sour as vinegar tart and attendance went down fast. I really don’t care to pay the money to watch them. I don’t turn my television to watch them either.

Then, look at the Colts. I am and always will be a Colt’s fan — as long as they are in Indiana. But how can anyone with any sense at all get rid of Peyton Manning? Here is one of the smartest football minds of all time and he knows how to motivate those around him. He is well liked and widely respected throughout the football world and we don’t have enough sense to keep him and let the new guy learn a little more about how the game should be played. If it wasn’t for the good things that the owner does in regard to Indy, I probably would stop watching them, too. But once a Colts fan, always a Colts fan. And what about the Chicago Cubs? I have been a fan for most of my life as my father was a Cubs rooter regardless if they won or not. “Wait until next year!” he would declare and when the new season started, there was Dad sitting there watching the team he never gave up on. So you can say the Cubs are part of our family even when they don’t win.

Now we come to the worst thing that ever happened to the state of Indiana. Going to class sports took Indiana sports down to its knees. We divided into classes according to the size of the school and ever since then  attendance has gone down. When you can go into a gym and sit anywhere you want, that shows that the athletic programs throughout the state have been hurt in the pocketbook. The players are led to believe that they can’t defeat the big schools and that is wrong because anyone can beat anyone at any time on the right night. Will we ever go back to the old way of doing the old state tourney or will we continue to deplete the source of revenue to take care of our programs? Now, I know that there are schools that are really proud to say they are the best in their class, and rightfully so, as that gives the players and the schools a chance to develop more good players, but only in their class. Think of it as sort of a segregation of schools going all the way to a championship. Indiana is and always was the hotbed for basketball and a lot of great players came up through the ranks to become known as Indiana players who excelled in their sports. So this writer counts the ways that a small group can ruin a program like IHSAA had for years where one team could go all the way and win that cherished title of State Champs.

Then as a final comment, the jumping from college to pro basketball by Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo really made me sad as I was hoping to see them bring Indiana the championship next year. Oh well, the heart will heal and I still hope for the best for both of them. And there are those waiting to take their place. Those are my thoughts on sports.

Contact Ray “Uncle Ray” Day at uncleray@earthlink.net.