Musings from the sports desk: A sports editor's Christmas wish list
By BRANDON HURLEY
I don’t ask for much, but I promise I’ve tried to obey as many laws and rules as possible this past year. I may have indulged in a few too many adult beverages at times and my vocabulary may not have always been the most pleasant. And let’s be honest, my diet hasn’t exactly been the greatest as of late. But still, I deserve a few nice things from my wish list, don’t I? I still read newspapers, I still interview people in person, I still am polite (for the most part), I believe in my profession and greatly enjoy what I do, so can you help a not-so-lazy millennial out?
I know you have your magic sleigh and reindeer to attend to, but can you please shed some of those super natural abilities on my sports world?
With all my begging done, for now, here’s what I’d like to see in the coming year, months from you, Jolly ol’ Saint Nick, in your wonderfully fluffy and warm red coat.
1. Bring one of my favorite teams a championship
I have very, oddly tight circle of favorite sports teams, and many who know me can attest to this, I only really have one team, i.e. college I root for in the Iowa Hawkeyes. I don’t root for an MLB, NFL, or MLS team, I don’t have a favorite soccer team. The only professional team I’ll keep constant tabs on is the Minnesota Timberwolves. That’s it, I’m a two team man. I don’t cheat, I keep it simple. So, Santa, if you could bring the T-Wolves or the Hawkeyes a championship some time soon, I’ll believe in your magic forever.
2. Guide Greene County to state
Only one team in Jefferson history has made the boys’ basketball state tournament, all the way back in 1967. This year, has perhaps a better chance of any to see the Rams make their triumphant return to Des Moines. Let’s have a fun sleigh ride to the promised land and go to the Well, shall we? A cinderella run in basketball is unlike any other, and with a team that boasts four double-digit scorers, why not the Rams? Let’s make a deal, Santa.
3. Keep print and all forms of high-quality journalism alive
I typically pick a morning or afternoon out every week (after deadline, of course) to read. It doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s journalism. I haven’t always been this way, but I truly believe you can never stop learning, especially in the field I’ve chosen as my profession. I LOVE writing, interviewing, taking pictures and helping come up with a beautiful design as well as holding the hard copy in my hands. I’ve come to enjoy shooting and editing video and handling various social media. I drink this profession in. But, I do see some things that scare me. Layoffs around the nation continue to occur while other entities “pivot” away from writing and elusively into video. There’s still a place for high-quality journalism and there’s certainly a place for print. Santa, if you can, will you help us out here? Help us promote quality over quantity and let us get away from #HotTakes and the need to be first. Keep the beautiful art alive, please.
4. Gift us a high school basketball shot clock
Whew, that was a little long-winded, but I’m finally on to my next request, improving basketball.
I know, I know, the arguments against a shot clock are plentiful, with the feasibility, financially, the number one choice, but I think there’s a place for it. Now, the Greene County boys’ team definitely does not need a shot clock, they score in bunches, but teams around the state bleed the clock, both boys and girls. It’s never more noticeable than in the state tournament, when all these high-caliber teams are afraid to make a mistake, so they pass the ball around for the perfect shot. I don’t like basketball watered down with the pace crawling along and teams barely reaching the 40-point mark. This has been a problem for years, can we fix it, jolly, white-bearded fella?
5. Please, Santa, create a private school division for sports classifications
This can be a tricky and sore subject throughout the state, but it’s something that also needs to be done to level the playing field.
Three out of the four boys’ basketball state champions were private schools this past March while three of the five football champions were of non-public funding. Something has to be done to level the playing field. The mere fact that schools located in decently sized communities are competing at 1A and 2A puts a lot of other schools at a disadvantage. The private schools are thriving and the lesser schools are hurting, and this has been the case for years and years.
If we move to an all-private school division, it could actually make for a heckuva lot of fun. Think about it, the Dowlings, Cedar Rapids Xaviers, Bishop Heelans, Kuempers, Iowa City Reginas and Don Boscos of the world duking it out year-after-year for supremacy. Those would develop into some awesome state tournament match ups down the road. Obviously, you’d need some sort of sub-divisions to make it equal, but I think there’s something there.
Here’s to hoping everyone gets what they want this year and the spirit of Santa stays alive in the minds of us all. We need something to believe in.