Archive for Thursday, January 31, 2008

The eephus pitch

January 31, 2008

The Eudora gymnasium holds between 1,800 and 2,000 people. By my estimation, at both the girls and boys basketball games Monday and Tuesday night, about one-fourth of the seats were filled. That seems to be the norm this winter.

Why is this?

The girls team is 12-2 and hungry to make a run into the postseason after coming up short a year ago.

And, although the boys team isn't dominating this year, at 7-7 they do compete every time out.

Thinking back to fall football, Athletic Director Dave Durkin said the stands were packed for every home game.

That's all fine - the allure of high school football is indeed something special. But the citizens of Eudora are missing out on what should be a fulfilling night of entertainment in a town of 6,000-plus.

"Basketball is down," Durkin said. "We haven't had a dominating boys team since 1997, and the girls just don't get the recognition they deserve."

Thinking back to my hometown of Fort Scott with a population hovering around 8,000, the stands were full for all winter high school sports, and I don't understand why it's not the same in Eudora.

That was the thing to do on a Tuesday and Friday night in Ft. Scott, or on a Thursday when the wrestling team was locked in a dual.

Young and old, people packed the gymnasium to support the local kids.

What is there better to do for the citizens of Eudora - head to Lawrence for an evening filled with wining and dining?

Parents have no problem getting into their kids' extra-curricular activities, but the average person should take interest, too.

A person should just give it a chance and go to three or four home games in support of these young athletes. I guarantee the majority of citizens will become a fan of the individuals on the team, the team as a whole, high school athletic competition or the student section. As of right now, it seems the students, parents and faculty are the only people who know athletic events are taking place in that gym.

It's different elsewhere.

The wrestling team traveled to Concordia over the weekend and some kids were overwhelmed at the support that opposing teams got. That's in wrestling, not often thought of as a team sport.

These kids deserve it too. Many kids walk the halls every day and never take part in athletics, never put themselves out there and work hard for their personal enjoyment, the enjoyment of their team and the community's enjoyment. There's nothing wrong with that, as there are many ways to fulfill that enjoyment.

But these young athletes deserve your support.

The next chance for that is Thursday at the wrestling team's senior night, or "Raise the Roof," as it's dubbed. Come out, support these kids and maybe you'll find these winter sports, although maybe not suiting your personal tastes like football, can be as entertaining as anything else you can do on a weeknight in Eudora. And I'm sure these kids would love to showcase their skills in front of a packed house, even just once.

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