Thursday, October 7, 2010

Midnight Madness: The betwitching hour comes and goes with little fanfare

It's almost midnight, and it's maddening. Midnight Madness has gone the way of the Midnight Special; it's a thing of the past, not just in the state, but in the country, too. We applaud the schools in Virginia -- Norfolk State, George Mason, Virginia Tech -- that have make an attempt to kick off the season with some type of traditional Midnight Madness. But what about everybody else?

Coaches apparently hate the idea of players and fans mingling in a gym counting down the seconds till midnight. They worry about players getting hurt, but then again, when aren't coaches worried about that? But here's what we know. Attendance around the state is nothing to brag about and basketball practice essentially begins in oblivion. Midnight Madness is a great way to jumpstart the fans into anticipating the season to come. ( Geez, if UVa. added hot dogs to Midnight Madness, who knows how many might show?)

 Forget a scrimmage. Have the players come out, do a few drills, sign some autographs, mix with the fans. Maybe have a 3-point contest between a female and a male player (good thinking last year, Spartans). Nobody comes to these things looking for real basketball. But hey, how does China Crosby look after the injury? Wouldn't it be great for folks to pat Mairi Buchan and Becca Allison on the back after their great summer? Wonder who's been in the weight room during the offseason. Dawn Evans and Brittani Shells are seniors; can't wait to see how they look.

We'll have to wait, and admittedly, it's not like it used to be. NCAA rules have changed this season, and most teams are practicing already, before the traditional Oct. 15 date.

We'd like to see the schools bring back the Madness, have some fun and find a way to get the students involved with women's basketball. Midnight Madness with good music, free food and some fun contests just might attract a few folks who will want to come back for that home season opener.

What's the harm? Where's the fun? The clock is ticking toward midnight, but for most it will just be another hour that passes by.

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