When I saw former Gary Steelheads Ryan Edwards and Kenyon Gamble in their pre-game warm-ups for the Soldiers, I assumed it was going to be a long night for the Splash. I was wrong (by the way, the South Shore Splash is now simply the GARY Splash). The Splash beat the snot out of the Soldiers, 105-91. I forgot Kenyon Gamble is tall, but is not a dominating player.
...but that's not what I want to rant about. My designated driver (not that I need a designated driver because it's not like I drink beer or something wink, wink) dropped me off at the Genesis Center early. There was a middle school basketball game going on before the Splash game. Apparently, this was a Splash sponsored event because there were Splash players checking tickets at the door and Splash players refereeing the game. What disappoints me is that BOTH middle school teams immediately got on their buses and left after their game. They didn't stay for the Splash vs. Soldiers game. If the Splash was allowing those schools to use that nice Genesis Center basketball court and arena while the Splash was footing the bill, then the schools could have been courteous enough to stick around. It doesn't matter that it was a school night. Those kids weren't going to go home and study anyway. I don't recall seeing a single bookbag on a kid as they left the building. However, I do recall seeing every kid carrying their game shoes in orange boxes because of the school's Nike contract. Mind you, this is the same school that is a billy goat's hair away from being shut down by the state because of poor academic progress. Maybe the kids could learn something if they broke from their routines of hopelessness and despair...but the adults are going to have to change THEIR attitudes. The kids can't do it alone. The adults could have said, "Have the buses pick us up at 9:30 instead of 6:00pm. We're staying for the game".
The schools won't work closely with local businesses (and this has been a problem since forever), but they'll bend over backward for ESPN.
According to Rachel Margolis of ESPN, the network's first broadcast of a high school game occurred in December of 2002. The big-name player in that game was LeBron James, who played at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. That game was on ESPN2.
ESPN began a regular series of prep games in 2003, when three games were shown. In 2005, with ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU now in the mix, eight games were shown nationally a year.
By the way, Gary Lew Wallace Junior/High School is the other beforementioned school that bolted before the Splash game. The nationally broadcasted ESPN game involves the varsity high school team and I'll promise you no one will hesitate to stick around for ESPN on THIS school night.
Mind you, students at Gary Lew Wallace have some of the lowest test scores in the state. Also mind you, this national game is just for bragging rights. ESPN isn't going to do anything for Gary. A local business like the Splash (or Railcats baseball team, for that matter) CAN do something for Gary.
End of rant.