FanSpeak 1/23/05

Sunday, January 23, 2005

You call this a sports town?

AFTER LIVING in St. Louis for a while and now moving to Cape Girardeau, I see two reasons why Cape Girardeau will never be a very good sports town. First, you have an NCAA Division I college in town, and you have a basketball arena that holds approximately 8,000 people, but when I go to the games, I see maybe 3,000 or 4,000. You have a football stadium that approximately holds 13,000 to 15,000. On a Saturday afternoon, there might be 3,000 or 4,000 people. Several years ago, Cape Girardeau was offered a chance to have a minor-league hockey team, but some said it would interfere with college basketball. So that hockey league decided to go the St. Charles and call themselves the Missouri River Otters. Second, when I read in FanSpeak where fans in this area complain about principals making kids sit down at a local basketball game or parents are upset their ninth-grade kids or junior varsity games are not in the newspaper. This is a town that will never be more than just a small town with no major aspirations of ever having sports other the high school. They don't support their college teams. They'll never have any kind of minor-league team in this city, which is sad. There are other cities across America with smaller populations that still support minor-league baseball, hockey and basketball. Cape needs to wake up and get with it.

(The River Otters are averaging 2,059 fans in 21 home dates through Jan. 17.)

We got spirit, yes we do

TO THE person who commented that Jackson students were "very inconsiderate and rude" for standing up during the entire basketball game against Poplar Bluff: You should know better than to sit behind the students. Don't you know we have school spirit, and we will not give up? You should have sat somewhere else. We obviously have an awesome school district. We deserve to show how much we love our school and athletic teams.

Smells like school spirit

IDIDN'T see any rudeness from the Jackson students during the Poplar Bluff game on Jan. 7. They were there to cheer their school on to victory. It's called school spirit. I am an adult, and I have sat in the student section at the football games where they stand up to watch the game, and we never had a problem with them nor did any principal come over and tell them to sit down for others to see. It shouldn't have been done at the basketball game. The next time you attend a Jackson game and the students are standing up, either join them like I did at the football games or move.

Where was box score?

I NOTICED the Delta-Dongola girls game report Wednesday didn't have a box score. Granted, the score was lopsided [89-7], but it still should have had a box score. Was it somewhere else? Was it forgotten or not reported? Every other school had a box score, so how come this game report was inconsistent? Who goofed?

(The box score was not reported to the Southeast Missourian.)

Can't take it anymore

HOW MUCH more are we supposed to take? The Southeast men's basketball program is ready for a change. It is obvious coach Gary Garner can't win a close game any more. How many leads will we squander the rest of the way? If you can't hold a three-point lead with 20 seconds to play, why not think about fouling and then you don't give up the 3-pointer that sends the game to overtime. Try something different because your job is on the line. I've seen the same thing for the last three years.

We want a winner

WHILE THE mascot change is exciting, seeing the men's basketball team rack up one loss after another is getting old. Don't expect the community to embrace the Redhawks unless the team starts winning. It's nice to see the Southeast women's team playing extremely well and possibly on their way to an OVC championship. Unfortunately, B.J. Smith and his ladies don't receive the attention they deserve. But if the university is looking for more school spirit, the men's basketball team and football team must win. Those are the money makers for the athletic department. If football coach Tim Billings and basketball coach Gary Garner continue to produce losing teams, expect to see more and more empty seats.

Where's the recognition?

SOME LOCAL athletes have made the all-state volleyball team. I think the Southeast Missourian should do a better job of keeping up with local news. This is a big deal, and they should get credit.

(Thanks for the tip. The Missouri High School Volleyball Coaches Association's all-state team, selected Jan. 14, is one of the state's best-kept secrets. The association does not have a Web site, but the team recently was posted on a message board related to Missouri high school sports, allowing the opportunity to confirm the two local athletes on the team. See story and all-state list, Page 2B.)

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