Cleaning out various physically cluttered areas of one's domicile or workplace also leads to considering where else might the general clutter in one's life be, physical or otherwise. Today's housecleaning will address some of the clutter from the sports world that occupies a (perhaps all too large) percentage of my mental energies.
Indiana High School Class Basketball
Over four decades of life in this state and two decades of living with the changed system from single-class high-school basketball tournament to four classed tournaments leads me to this conclusion - IT SUCKS. Little pride or excitement remains for a tournament which formerly was the stuff of legend (I'd argue envy of other states) and part of the identity of the entire state. One of the greatest sports movies by most accounts, Hoosiers, is a tale based on it.
'Hoosier Hysteria' (the origin of which can be attributed to basketball's inventor James Naismith's agreement that Indiana was the sport's spiritual home) associated with the original tournament gave us frequent 'David versus Goliath' match-ups throughout the many levels of the tournament that resonated with the people of a flyover state where national attention is a rare as a hurricane. Even the tournament's draw was televised because of the intrigue with learning who your favorite school would play. Most everyone celebrates the underdog in its struggle to overcome the larger foe - mainly because, in my view, we identify more with them as people and especially as residents of Indiana. So it was for Indiana High School basketball then and no matter if it was the early upset win in a sectional (the first and most local rounds of the tournament) or the state final, it gave the smaller teams their shot at enduring glory.
By adopting a four-class system for the 1998 tournament (even with the four class state champions playing off in a 'Tournament of Champions' however) most fans agree that the intrigue, mystique, and legendary passion for the sport and the state's championship has waned considerably and left a state with no 'true' champion for which we yearn. Another example of the popularity of this come-all, wide-open type of single-class system can be found in the FA (Football Association) Cup Tournament in England's most-beloved sport of football. I believe this to be a net negative for the students, parents, schools, and residents of this state. Many valuable life lessons are learned through participation in athletics and the size-delineated tournaments only serve to amplify a thought that differences are to be maintained, not celebrated.
Re-instate single-class basketball. Simple as that. I'm not sure just how much or how little it would actually take to acheive, but were it actually put in the most-democratic form of a statewide referendum, I'd put dollars to donuts the vote would go 70-30 or better in favor of returning to a single-class, single-elimination high-school basketball tournament.
It is a true head-scratcher to me that the IHSAA ever saw the multiple class system as an answer to a question no one was asking. Fixing what isn't broken has never been the Hoosier way. Fix Indiana high-school basketball.