N.D. on path to nirvana
It is March 23, 2032, and North Dakota has done it. The state has achieved fairness in high school basketball. It has been a long and sometimes painful process, but who said making sure every child has an equitable and obstacle-free path to a sta...
It is March 23, 2032, and North Dakota has done it. The state has achieved fairness in high school basketball. It has been a long and sometimes painful process, but who said making sure every child has an equitable and obstacle-free path to a state championship was going to be easy?
- 2007 - The state goes to a three-class system, lauding its fairness.
- 2008 - After being deluged with complaints that the new system is not fair, the state goes to a five-class system and lauds it fairness.
- 2009-2015 - Still stung by accusations of unfairness, high school basketball expands to eight, 14, 24, 48, 64 and, finally, 90 classes over this period. Every class has two teams with exactly the same enrollment. Fairness is lauded.
- 2020 - It's decided that one team having players taller than another team is not fair. After debating mandatory amputation for anybody taller than the shortest player in the state (the threat of lawsuits discourages that avenue), coaches instead decide on mandatory crouching.
- 2021 - The mandatory crouching rule spawns a spate of knockoffs. No player can be faster than the slowest player in the state, so fast players are handicapped with ballast. No player can shoot more accurately than the worst shooter, so good shooters are forced to wear Coke bottle glasses. These rules apply to every possible area in which one player might have an advantage over another, which would not be fair.
- 2022 - Good coaching is declared as an unfair edge, so good coaches are replaced by fence posts. Fence posts who still out-coach opponents are replaced by Brad Childress.
- 2025 - Parents complain that one team actually scoring baskets against another is not fair. Baskets are eliminated. When one athlete asks, "Then what's the point?" his team's sportsmanship banner is taken away by the North Dakota High School Activities Association.
- 2026 - Having one team win and one team lose is banned, since both teams work hard and it would be unfair for one to be unsuccessful. "Games" instead consist of every player being introduced to cheering fans, a few routines from cheerleaders, a danceline halftime show and both teams being declared "equally successful and well-loved athletic teams."
- 2027 - Games are eliminated because every athlete did not get an exactly equal amount of cheering during introductions. Practices are gone, too, because there is a chance one athlete might do something better than a teammate. Teams instead gather for a few minutes every day and their coaches read a prepared statement praising them for existing.
- 2032 - Nirvana has been achieved. Every student who declares his or her intention of going out for the high school basketball team is immediately given a state championship trophy and allowed to cut down a net off a basket in the gym. From there they are whisked to a banquet where they are named MVP, best defensive player, rookie of the year, all-conference and all-state. Their picture is snapped for the local newspaper, where it will be run exactly the same size in an equally prominent location as everybody else's.
The playing field has been leveled, everybody is equal and there is no reward for being more talented, harder working, smarter, bigger, faster or stronger than anybody else.
That's fair, isn't it?
Forum sports columnist Mike McFeely can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 10 a.m. to noon on WDAY-AM (970).
He can be reached at (701) 241-5580 or firstname.lastname@example.org . McFeely's blog can be found on www.areavoice.com