As he walked off the court after coaching the Hancock squad in the Hancock County vs. Shelby County All-Star Classic, Adam Barton wondered if the 21-year-old series would see its 22nd birthday.
“When we left (the gym) that night,” the New Palestine coach said, “I really thought we’d never do it again.”
I thought the same thing, and if you were there Saturday night (and my guess is you weren’t), you probably did, too. It certainly felt like the end, like somebody needs to pull the plug on this series that appears to be on life support. It looked more like Eleanor Rigby’s funeral than a basketball game. I didn’t bother counting noses, but it wouldn’t have taken very long. The boys’ game started late because at tip time Shelby County had only three players, and the girls’ game ... well, there wasn’t a girls’ game. The decision was made Saturday afternoon to cancel it because they couldn’t get enough players to commit.
Before I continue, let me say this: To the 15 players who showed up Saturday, to the coaches, the cheerleaders, to everybody who participated in the games on Friday night, and to everybody who worked behind the scenes to make the games happen, thank you. Your commitment is why I believe this tradition can be revived.
It’s easy to play the blame game. That’s not what I want to do. I want to look forward. I want to see this series continue, for the charities that are helped by it, for the communities and for the kids who play. But I want it to be better, and I believe it can be. Here’s how: