I know Times-Tribune Sports Editor Les Dixon touched on a few things in his column on the previous page that I’m about to write about, but if you know Les and me, you also know that we tend to have different opinions on issues from time to time.
With that said, here I go with my opinion of this year’s 13th Region Tournament.
Overall, the tournament went off without a hitch, but there are always improvements that can be made.
The first thing I saw that I didn’t like was the fact they charged $8 for a student ticket, as opposed to the $5 price that The Arena set when the initial contract was signed several years ago. If you don’t think this impacted the tournament, look at the photos of the student sections or ask anybody who played in the tournament.
Sure, the Harlan County and Bell County fans were there in decent numbers, but other schools just didn’t make the trip.
I’ll admit that Corbin fans were left out in the cold, thanks to a opening-round upset to Middlesboro. I think a lot of people expected the Redhounds to win and be back in action for Friday’s semifinals, so they decided to save some gas money and ticket money, so they stayed back and listened on the radio.
In turn, I think the steep student prices cost the Harlan County administration a few bucks in the long run.
As I like to do, I’ll balance every bad aspect with a positive point. That being said, the facility is as nice as any small college gym I’ve ever been into. There are even some mid-level colleges that would love to have that facility. The place was extremely clean and you can tell that the fans and players take pride in the place by the care that is taken to keep it in pristine condition.
The second thing that I had a problem with is the lack of technology made available in the facility. If you know us here at the Times-Tribune, you know that we sports guys pride ourselves in making available game results and photos as soon as possible. We appreciate our loyal readers, therefore we feel the need to provide them with the best and fastest coverage available when it comes to high school sports.
When I found out that there wouldn’t be a Wi-Fi connection available, I honestly felt like Wile E. Coyote after he’d dropped off in the middle of the desert. I stood there looking around as if I were on a hidden camera show.
It was puzzling that a place like the Harlan County gym wasn’t wired up with enough connections that NASA could use it as mobile command was puzzling, especially considering that a prominent cell phone and wireless provider was tagged as the title sponsor for the tournament.
I did however appreciate the fact that were served pizza, barbecue and Wendy’s food between games (though it was cold before media members got to it), but I didn’t like the fact that because there was only two minutes left between games by the time we were done interviewing coaches, we had to scarf the food down like a pack of wild dogs.
I guess that’s enough for now. All I know is that, if The Arena takes the tournament back next season, I’ll be the guy with the biggest smile down on press row.