The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 21, 2012

Holiday tourney would be nice for Enid

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Which means there’s not much for local sports fans to do with the last action in area basketball being on Friday. Teams will resume playing on Jan. 4.

Fans can see the Plainsmen in action over the holidays, but they will have to travel to Midwest City to do it.

Ditto for Kingfisher, which is playing at the Chesapeake Challenge at Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City.

Here’s an idea:

Why not play one of the four in-season tournaments: OBA Prep Classic, Wheat Capital, Skeltur Conference Tournament or Cherokee Strip Tournament over the holidays?

The positives would outweigh the negatives.

One, it gives fans something to watch over the holidays.

Maybe some out-of-town relatives would get to see a grandson or granddaughter or niece or nephew or brother or sister play.

No school would be missed by players. Think of all the classes missed because of afternoon games during the in-season tournaments.

If a tournament is running late, one doesn’t have to worry about a player having to go to class half asleep.

Actually, tournaments could recruit a team or two from outside the area because of no conflicts with classes. They could spend the night without worrying about missing school.

Playing the tournament over a holiday also is more advantageous than in early December for many schools.

Take the OBA Prep Classic for example.

When Hennessey was playing in it, there was a concern the tournament would conflict with the football playoffs. The December tournament week is on the same week as the Class 3A, 2A and A football playoffs.

Kingfisher is served a lot better playing over the holidays when the Yellowjackets have had a few weeks of practice.

Pond Creek-Hunter played in its own basketball tournament three days after playing Laverne for the Class B state football championship.

Small schools don’t have the luxury of specializing. Most of the basketball team plays football. Chances are a basketball coach is helping with football in some way.

Some would say playing over the holidays would be unfair to players.

But most teams practice or scrimmage over the holidays. Players who go on ski trips instead of practicing likely will find themselves on the bench once the holidays are over with.

One legitimate argument against holiday tournaments is many coaches use Christmas as a time to work more on fundamentals or tweak offenses or defenses.

The only problem may be finding people to work. However, officials might be even more available without the competition from many other tournaments.

This could give some coaches a chance to scout an opponent.

High school sports are the best bargain in sports (next to watching on TV). This would give something for fans to do and maybe even the media something to do other than wait for the Oklahoma State and Oklahoma bowl games.

Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.