It might come as a surprise to some, but I am a big fan of sporting events. There is nothing like a good football game or hockey game or baseball game. I have even enjoyed the occasional golf tournament.
There are many sporting events I could devote this week’s column to and I considered writing about UTSA football winning the Conference USA Championship Game. Then I remembered I wrote about the Roadrunners last week and I figured I’d change it up a little this week. This week I’m devoting my column space to what I believe might be one of the best sporting events out there. I’m talking of course about basketball tournaments. Whether it is a high school tournament, march madness or the NBA playoffs I am a big fan of basketball tournaments.
’Tis the season for Christmas, but ’tis also the season for basketball tournaments.
Last week there were two tournaments in the area as Jourdanton hosted a boys tournament and Poteet hosted a tournament for both boys and girls teams. This weekend the big tournament is the Tilden Classic. The Tilden Classic, hosted by the Mc- Mullen County Cowboys/ Cowgirls will have three of the four Atascosa County schools sending teams. Charlotte is sending its boys and girls teams. Pleasanton is sending its girls team and Jourdanton will be represented by its boys team. Poteet will not have a representative in the Tilden Classic, but the Aggie boys will be up in Kendall County for the Comfort tournament.
I don’t know where my excitement for basketball tournaments began. There has probably been more years where I filled out an NCAA tournament bracket than not. I’ve also followed the NBA playoffs for as many years as I can remember.
Perhaps it goes back to when I was part of the Lufkin Panther basketball team in high school. We usually played in three tournaments a season (one of which was always our own tournament played between Christmas and New Years) and they were always enjoyable. We would usually get two days off from school in late November or early December as we traversed afar to tournaments in places like Beaumont, Longview or Natchitoches, Louisiana. Some tournaments were set up as straight bracket tournaments. Others you played a round robin in a pool of teams on Thursday and Friday to make it to the bracket portion on Saturday. The games were fun, but I think the part I enjoyed most, aside from not having to be at school for two days in early December, was getting to be with teammates in different towns, finding things to do in the downtime between games. I have too many good memories of those tournaments to fit into this column space, but even after high school I was fortunate to continue to have basketball tournaments to attend.
In college my tournament experience was usually the Southland Conference basketball tournament in Katy. In three of my five years of college I had the joy of covering that tournament as a member of the media, staying as long as there was a UTSA team in the tournament.
In the case of two of those trips it was a lengthy stay. In 2009 UTSA’s women’s team won the SLC tournament and the men’s team lost in the championship game of their tournament. I then had the privilege to cover the UTSA women’s trip to Lubbock for an NCAA tournament game against Baylor.
In 2011 the men’s team won the SLC tournament to advance to the NCAA tournament. I was unable to follow the UTSA men’s team to their NCAA tournament sites, but I was able to cover the Southwest regional in the Alamodome that season.
As a pro sports writer, I have been able to cover every round of the NCAA tournament, from the round of 64 to the championship game, without having to leave San Antonio. I also have been able to cover a few of UTSA’s trips to the Conference USA tournament in Frisco. I’ve also covered a few NBA playoff games played by the San Antonio Spurs. All of those tournament experiences were great, even the ones where UTSA or the Spurs might have lost.
Regardless of the level, if there is a tournament of basketball happening I will try to search it out. I recommend it. If you can, make your way down to Tilden or up to Comfort this weekend and support the local basketball teams.