I’m an old hard-headed geezer. I’m not proud of it, but I’m — as they say — set in my ways. It would be easier to drain the Mississippi River than change my mind. It would be easier to fill in the Grand Canyon than change my mind. About the only way to make me reverse my opinion is to get me a date with Faith Hill (I’d not only change my mind, but I’d wear a dress to work for an entire week).

As most of you already know, I’m not the most politically correct person in the world. Maybe it’s because I enjoy seeing people’s eyes pop out of socket, or maybe it’s because I’m just too stupid to know any better, or maybe — probably the real reason — it’s a combination of the two.

Let’s take the female version of high school basketball. In the past I thought the girl’s game was just something to keep the fans busy until the boys hit the floor. I know that’s a sexist, idiotic attitude. So, sue me!

When they turned the six-on-six, half-court girl’s basketball game into a five-on-five, full-court affair, I was aggravated. Still am.

To me, the six-on-six game provided the ultimate in coaching strategies. An outstanding coach had the opportunity to defeat better teams from the bench: Move a forward to the guard end at a crucial time, develop an outstanding free-throw shooter (when a guard was fouled, the coach could determine which forward would shoot the free throws). It was a great game for spectators. In other words, an outstanding girls’ basketball coach could “take his’n and beat yorn, or take yorn and beat his’n.”

But once in a blue moon you can teach an old dog new tricks. In other words, an old geezer like me should be able to admit when he’s wrong.

I haven’t changed my mind about six-on-six basketball, but I’ve also become a fan of five-on-five.

The beginning of my change of attitude evolved after watching the dynamic Ada duo, Caton Hill and La’Neishea Caufield, lead the Oklahoma Sooners to prominence. Hey, those girls are tough, talented and fun to watch.

And if I ever had any doubts how much fun high school girls’ basketball can be, they are erased every December by the Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic at Kerr Activities Center on the beautiful campus of East Central University in Ada. I don’t have enough adjectives to describe the talents of these young ladies. There should be a commercial: “These girls are good!”

Fortunately for local basketball fans, the Mid-America Classic — thanks to Allen Butler — and a lot of other folks, especially members of the board of directors, and some outstanding sponsors — is considered one of the most rugged high school girl’s basketball tournaments in Oklahoma.

Just in case there are any other backsliders like me out there who are not crazy about girl’s basketball, take a couple of hours out of your busy schedule tonight and take in a game or two at the Mid-America Classic Thursday-Saturday. What you will see is some of the best high school basketball anywhere.

In fact, I believe a tournament of top-ranked girls’ teams is more exciting than one filled with top-ranked boys’ squads. Why? Because the teams are more evenly balanced. A Class B powerhouse has a shot against a top-ranked team in 4A or 5A. That couldn’t happen in a boy’s tournament with top teams from all classes. That’s not a put down of girl’s basketball. Rather, it’s what makes the Mid-America even more exciting, it’s what makes it special.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Remember those who could use a helping hand.


I’d rather play with Annika Sorenstam

I’ve never been called a poet, but I’ve done my best to some of the sporting events of 2006 in perspective. It has become a tradition at the Ada Evening News. I didn’t say it was a good tradition. Oh well, there’s always Ann Landers. I admit this year’s attempt is pretty lame.

The Dallas cowboys are back,

Jerry Jones has shed many a tear,

T.O. has been good for him,

Parcells should be Coach of the Year.

Jeremy is the pride of Ada,

He “shock”ed ‘em on the Howard Stern Show,

The Sooners could have had him,

Now Shockey’s an NFL All-Pro.

OU was leading in Oregon,

But a bumb call took our crown?

It really didn’t matter,

Boise State will probably take us down.

Barry Bonds ididn’t win the MVP,

He’ll never play on a Series winner,

If his teammates had left him alone,

Jeff Kent would have beat him like a sinner.

Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame?

He’ll bet at a circus on a clown,

Charlie Hustle was banned from baseball,

Now he wants in at Cooperstown.

Tiger Woods is a PGA dominator,

Likes to win golf’s Grand Slam,

But I’d rather take my putter

and play with Annika Sorenstam.

Jimmy Johnson is the new NASCAR champ,

Rednecks would rather race than eat,

Give ‘em a wrench, a gallon of oil and a 12-pack,

And you’ll get a car that can’t be beat.

The Williams’ sisters are great,

They win every tournament they can,

But I always root for Anna Kournikova,

Yes, I’m just a dirty old man.

Hockey is the sport of action,

It takes a lot of skill,

When a player gets his teeth knocked out,

It looks like a Chinese fire drill.

Uncle Jonas rolled an incredible 873,

His skill earned him first in the tourney,

But he got plastered at the victory party,

They carried him on a gurney.

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