Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 1990

WHY SHOULD WE FACEDILEMMA?

November 14, 1990

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Not matter how long you put the pedal to the metal, it still takes about an hour and a half to motor the 90 miles between Lawrence and Manhattan.

That's not enough time.

Anyone who drives to the Lawrence-Garden City state championship football game on Saturday at KSU Stadium cannot possibly return to Lawrence in time for the first half of the Kansas-Missouri game at Memorial Stadium.

The Class 6A title contest kicks off at 11 a.m., or two hours before the umpteenth renewal of the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River.

That, of course, means a bunch of football fans around here face a dilemma.

DO THEY go to the Lawrence High game and tune their car radios to the KU-MU game on the way back, or do they listen to the LHS game on their way to and inside Memorial Stadium?

Tough choice. . .although I'm sure if eardrums could vote, they'd choose the Lawrence-Garden City option and listen to the KU-MU broadcast. It's not that Bob Davis, the voice of the Jayhawks, isn't loud, it's just that Hank Booth, the Lions' broadcaster, is a human sonic boom.

Of course, if the Kansas State High School Activities Assn. hadn't decided to move the football season up a week, this never would have happened.

The new schedule was implemented for the first time last year when, at the same time the Jayhawks were playing the Tigers in Columbia, Lawrence and Manhattan met for the Class 6A state championship in Memorial Stadium.

That wasn't so bad because Columbia is a three-hour drive from Lawrence and not that many local fans make the trip to Mizzou each year anyway.

NOW, WITH Kansas home and K-State on the road at Colorado, KSU Stadium becomes the state championship site. Next year, incidentally, Kansas State will host prep title games again because a schedule quirk has Missouri on KU's home schedule in 1991, too.

Count Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick among the many Lawrence residents unhappy with the current KSHSAA format.

"I'm disappointed about it," Frederick said. "I'm sure a lot of people, including myself, would like to see the Lawrence High game. I wish they could play it a week later, or on Friday or on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It's definitely going to affect our crowd."

Memories of 1985, I'm sure, were pivotal in the KSHSAA's decision to advance the season one week. Remember the brutal ice and snow storm that swept across Kansas that year?

How bad was it? So bad the KSHSAA probably should have postponed the championship games. The roads were so treacherous only the most rabid, or foolhardy, fans used them.

Memorial Stadium was the site of the Class 5A and Class 4A games that horrible Saturday. I've never seen more miserable conditions for football. . .or for driving.

STILL, OUR August administrators may have acted less over a concern for freak storms than about a dread of losing vacation time during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Have you heard the story about the old high school coach and the young high school coach?

"Why have you coached so long?" the younger one asked.

"Five reasons," the older coach replied. "Saturday, Sunday, June, July and August."

Perhaps the mentality that legislated holidays are inviolate also played a role in the KSHSAA decision to abandon competition on Thanksgiving weekend even though only 14 schools are affected every year.

Whatever the reasons, though, the state high school football championships should not be played the same day Kansas and Kansas State have games.

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