Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here's how a city championship could work

Take a look at the picture above (click on it to make it bigger). It's a shot of about 3,000 folks packed into the Union County Holiday tournament for a girls game at Wingate last week. The tournament is actually a de facto county championship and something I think should happen in Mecklenburg County, too.

An assistant basketball coach in Union County recently sent me an email saying he thought my ideas for a city championship here over Christmas was good. I heard from about 125 folks via email or text and response was about 98 percent in favor. I'll add the link to that story below.

Long story short, Union County has put on this tournament for nearly 30 years according to the coach. The picture above is from an early round game he took between Porter Ridge and Marvin Ridge. It speaks to the power of local competition. And the coach said by the time the boys hit the floor, it was standing room only and the noise was deafening.

Here is how they do it over there, according to the coach: Organizers divide Anson Senior and 11 Union County teams by record and strength of schedule. Teams go into the eight team championship tourney and a four team mini tournament.

Of course, teams often have to face conference rivals. That happens, but in the context of the city championship (or county as some would rather have me call it), I think the conference affiliations go out the window.

In Charlotte-Meck, you could have a 32-team tournament including nearly all public and private teams; or you could just play with privates that play by the same rules as publics, giving us 24 teams -- and a 16-team city/county championship field and an 8-team "invitational" field. Think of it as the NCAA Tournament and the NIT.

This could be a huge hit here and I think it would be, with crowds just like those you see above. Finishing at UNC Charlotte or Bojangles' Coliseum might open up possibilities for even bigger crowds -- and memories for the players that would last a lifetime. Middle school students would grow up wanting to play. Feed your audience. And to do this, I would give out a limited number of free tickets at all local middle schools.

Of course, there's still room for the current Bojangles' event. Just move to before Christmas, where many holiday tournaments are already on the calendar, but the city/county championship would have a much bigger impact and could provide CMS with a needed financial boost.

Here is the link to the original how to story:

Here's How To A City Championship In Charlotte


Anonymous said...

The Charlotte Observer should step forward with the all important corporate title sponsorship....good idea...needs funds to make happen...

Anonymous said...

How many players from Union County Schools jump ship every year and end up playing at a neighboring school or jump from public to private or to a charter school.
The concept of a county championship is good, but the point is being missed entirely: a county championship in Union County means something to the people there because they are representing their communities, their schools, etc.
In Mecklenburg, with the school assignment policies that have been in place for decades, there's no sense of loyalty to a school. It's all about individual.

A county championship is a great idea. But how many players in the county give a crap about the school they play for: hopefully a fair amount, but I'm not so sure.

When is the last time a state champ from Mecklenburg County -- in any sport -- didn't have some transfer from a rival county school play a key role. If we encourage individual accolades over team accolades, why do we wonder when nobody shows up to support teams. Pretty soon, the only people at games will be parents, girlfriends, college scouts and private school and AAU coaches looking for skilled players to steal.