My dad took me to the Forum in Inglewood to see a Lakers Game for one of my birthday presents when I was in high school. I don’t remember which birthday it was because I had 10 or 11 birthdays during my high school days.
As it turned out, the Lakers were out of town and the Los Angeles Kings were playing in the House That Jack Built. My dad had never been to a hockey game in person and as the old joke goes, “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.”
My dad said, “These guys are serious they are really fighting! This is great.” That was an indirect reference to baseball and football “brawls” where the benches empty and one or two go at it and the rest bump into one and other.
In watching the basketball playoffs on television when I can’t find a “Golden Girls” marathon or new episode of “Pawn Stars,” I try to rationalize why basketball and hockey, both winter sports, continue playing into the late summer or early fall. In the NBA they should just play two minutes and if the score is tied, then they should have to play the rest of the game because at times it seems that they only play hard and coach in the final two minutes.
Here are some observations that I have made when I could stay awake during the winter sports playoffs. I must say that the finals in both hockey and basketball were excellent but it is like the heart of an artichoke. It is too much work getting to it to make it worthwhile.
Hockey players don’t flop. They don’t have to. The checks and fights are real and vicious. Basketball players are following the lead of world class soccer players and are incorporating drama and fake falls into the playoffs. In the NBA playoffs there were more prat falls than in a “Three Stooges” marathon. Pro wrestling is probably more realistic than some of the acting that goes on in pro basketball and soccer. If one believes that all of the action is real in the NBA, then one has to believe that pro wrestling and roller derby are real too.
All of a sudden everybody is concerned about concussions and they should be. However, I found it slightly hypocritical when I watched a program about concussions on a sports station and some of the commercials were hyping a mixed martial arts fight ticket. That’s a lot like a vegan cooking program being sponsored by Farmer John meats.
March madness is the real thing! The college baseball and softball playoffs and College World Series’ are real and great. However, I have one suggestion. The NCAA playoff committees should all take a college level geography class. Duke is not in the West. Maine is not in the West. Minnesota is not in the South. Teams should not be moved three time zones to be patsies or to be able to beat up on patsies. In John Wooden’s days, UCLA had to beat the other teams in the west to move on to the final four. If a region is weak, don’t have so many teams in the playoffs. If a region or conference is strong, that will bring up the ratings in the first rounds. Three teams from the same conference should not be moved to other regions so that they can make it to the final four, World Series or whatever.
I blame hockey for the extended playoff format in all pro sports that have trickled down from the pros to high schools.
The new playoff divisions in the CIF are a joke. It seems that we are trying to make sports a warm and fuzzy feel good experience that allows weak teams to go to the playoffs.
Three teams with losing records should not be placed in the elite division playoffs because they were good back in the day. In a sport like basketball one big man or lady can make a huge difference. A school should not be grandfathered into the playoffs because a 7-footer played there two seasons ago.
Ratings, rankings and seedings should be based on what the team did this season, not four years ago.
A team with an 8-22 record playing teams its own size should not be moved down so that it can beat smaller schools and feel good about it.
Make the leagues fair and let the playoffs be honest and fair. If a school is weak, put it in a weak league. Don’t put it in a weak playoff bracket.