Some members of the news media don't understand a fundamental concept of the state basketball tournament.
Nobody cares what the media think.
Oh, there were side issues over the last few weeks. The Illinois High School Association and the media squabbled over the rights to photographs of championship events. The media were peeved that the IHSA stopped providing free food at the state finals. And the crowds for the boys tournament might have been squeezed into old Huff Gym.
But the last time I checked nobody from Flanagan, Warsaw, Whitney Young, St. Anne, North Lawndale, Marshall or Richards was complaining. The IHSA's new four-class format allows for more trophies to be presented and more towns and schools to celebrate. So what's wrong with that?
So you think the people in Warsaw, on the Mississippi River, care what people in Chicago think about the tournament? Do they think it is watered down, that the quality of competition isn't what it was in the 1960s, that they had an easy route to Peoria?
The Peoria Journal Star complained there were no "rock stars" in the Class 4A final until Dwyane Wade showed up. The hometown paper couldn't get over that Peoria Manual was drubbed in the Class 2A final and Washington, with star Matt Roth, had to settle for fourth place in Class 3A.
They also noted that Peoria bars and restaurants complained about lack of business and hotels cited fewer bookings than usual. Hey, you wanted the tournament in the first place. So deal with it.
Sure, it's nice to have big crowds and stars like Derrick Rose, Jon Scheyer, Shaun Livingston, Darius Miles and Eddy Curry. But can old-timers say the Class 4A final between Richards and Zion-Benton didn't rank among the most exciting games they have seen?
I, for one, enjoyed all four weeks of the girls and boys tournaments. It was obvious the kids were having fun, regardless of what some adults felt. For the most part, it was highly competitive. And it's all about the kids, isn't it?
I stopped going to the state finals a few years, after having attended every one since 1959. Peoria has done a wonderful job of hosting the event. No complaint there. Jim's Steakhouse, in my view, is the best place to eat between Chicago and St. Louis.
But Carver Arena isn't Assembly Hall in Champaign. It's a gym, not an architectural masterpiece, not a place to showcase the state's premier sports event. I said that when the tournament was moved to Peoria and I'm still saying it. It isn't the same. And I can't get over it.
But who cares what the media think?