Sunday, April 25, 2010

25 APR 10: SIAC Sounds of Silence

The Columbus Lions played indoor football Saturday night and won. The Columbus State baseball team wrapped up its home season during the afternoon with a win. But have you heard about the other big local sports event of the weekend? The organizers are trying desperately to spread the word - by using the loudest loudspeaker they can find.

The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference softball tournament is scheduled to conclude today at South Commons. That's the league which includes Tuskegee and Morehouse, Fort Valley State and Albany State - match-ups which bring big crowds to Columbus during the fall, but seem to get lost once the pro basketball playoffs start.

Organizers of the SIAC softball tournament apparently are trying to make it a celebration. The lights were on at Golden Park Friday night, while someone talked loudly on the public address system. Since no games were scheduled there, I suppose that's where the female athletes could meet their boyfriends -- and "stretch a single into a double" in a different way.

The loud-voiced announcer could be heard from South Commons Saturday morning as well. He echoed across the Historic District, after the early-morning rain stopped. I don't know if anyone crossed the street from the Booker T. Washington Apartments to watch the softball games -- at least to claim a free softball from a home run.

But here's the problem: the SIAC softball tournament has been underway since Thursday morning. Yet I didn't even know it was happening in Columbus until WRBL mentioned it during the 6:00 p.m. sports Friday night. Could the public address system possibly have been broken for a day-and-a-half?

If that's not enough, search for "softball" at the Ledger-Enquirer web site. As of Saturday night, there was NOTHING mentioning the SIAC tournament. That NFL draft coverage on ESPN must be more compelling than I realized....

But wait, there's more! The SIAC web site notes the conference softball tournament is in Columbus "for the second consecutive year." Do you recall any local media coverage of this event LAST year? These "fast pitch" teams couldn't have been that fast, getting in and out of town.

It's not clear who should get the blame for this lack of publicity. The Columbus Sports Council probably played a role in bringing the SIAC softball tournament to town. Yet you won't find any banners promoting it at South Commons - nothing even on the Civic Center's electronic sign. It's as if the "S" in SIAC stands for Secret.

Maybe local booster clubs are partly to blame as well. The Southeastern Conference held its softball tournament at South Commons in the late nineties -- and it had a lot more media coverage than the SIAC tournament is receiving. Tuskegee's marching band needs to come to Columbus, and go through "spring drills."

Perhaps if Columbus State had a team in this softball tournament, more Columbus people and reporters would care. But that doesn't prevent the Leadoff Classic from gaining plenty of media coverage in February at the same location. And have you noticed this year's SIAC tournament has won the contest for bringing the most rain?

Longtime residents recall when local leaders tried to make Columbus a "softball capital." A Division II conference tournament could help restore that dream -- yet practically all local reporters don't seem to care. It's no wonder Columbus often ranks near the bottom, in rankings of top sports cities. Columbus High School baseball is more of an image-saver than you might think.

As for the SIAC tournament: a semifinal game between Fort Valley State and Kentucky State is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET. The starting time was moved back one hour, because of concerns about stormy weather. Come to think of it, maybe that's why the tournament is getting little publicity - because churches might protest Sunday games before 12:00 noon.

-> Does this blog scare you? One man said he was scared of us, at our latest poker night. Read why at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Speaking of sports, WRBL's Stuart Webber took note of our Friday correction about directions from Huntsville to Auburn....

Haha well clearly geography is not one of my strengths, for some reason I thought it was in South Alabama. Probably because the day before I was looking at a map in the Biloxi area trying to find where Spanish Fort was. Noted for future reference!


Biloxi?! You mean you didn't look for Spanish Fort, Alabama on a map of Spain?!

Another reader offers thoughts on our current BIG BLOG QUESTION:

As we closely watch one of our favs, R. H. [Rear Highness] Mirabeau with baited breath, we wonder what is all the fussin bout?

The Ivory Tower Guys get to go to school for 6-8 years after high school, and then they take a job teaching half nekkid kids who want an "A". There is more sex tween them tower tenured and them half nekkid kids than in most large farm yards. And, if knock-your-sox-off crazy ain't enough, some of them teachers are social-ists, or was that supposed to be social-iffs?

"Professors" are 15 min. late to class, and when they arrive they discuss pizza for the rest of the hour. They have favorites and work their agenda on the naive, creating a new surety in the unsure. Often times their political leanings are off mark with Ward Churchill-esque diatribes, Cloward & Piven advocacy, or just straight out defenses of atheism without tolerance for alternate views - none of which are related to the subject matter they are supposed to be teaching. Their advocacy for the fringe is a way for them to foist their ideology upon the unsuspecting for a semester at a time. If they are successful, they will weave their ideology into the consciousness of their young charges.

We are unsure about what Mescon wants, but what we want is:

1. No tenure- tenure is the enemy of accountability

2. Teaching accountability through 4 equally weighted factors:

a) publication

b) peer review

c) student performance and survey

d) classroom evaluation by unannounced faculty visits from other departments/admin

3. No dating between faculty/staff and students

4. Pay docked for missed classes, beyond allotted sick days

5. Student complaints filed through ethics committee at Board of Regents level

There's an old joke about some of this, you know -- that college classrooms are the only places where students don't mind if they don't get their money's worth.

As I recall, most of my college instructors were conscientious about making it to class. I don't remember any of them discussing pizza at length. But then again, I took classes in journalism and religion - not home economics.

.I thought I'd spotted a major error in this e-mail - but an online check found "Ward Churchill" is accurate. This is referring to a controversial former professor in Colorado, and NOT the legendary British Prime Minister. The fact that both men met ignominious ends to their careers is only a coincidence....

And yes, I agree with the proposal to ban faculty-student dating. When I attended college, the competition from other male students was tough enough.

Thanks to all of you who write - and now let's review (without any peers) other weekend items:

+ Helpful rain fell on Columbus, with more than 1.5 inches recorded at the airport. But which upset hockey fan posted a threat on Twitter to blow up a Montgomery TV station, for interrupting the game for storm updates? I understand that fan faces arrest - and it probably will be more than a ten-minute misconduct penalty.

+ Baker High School graduates had their final class reunion, before the old school along Victory Drive is torn down. They probably could have sped up the demolition process, by chipping away souvenir bricks.

+ The Kiwanis Club of North Columbus held its annual "Cannonball Run" for charity. But if contestants aren't allowed to speed, what's the point? People can drive slowly to spot landmarks simply by looking for a storefront at The Landings.

+ An Albany TV station stopped using paper scripts for newscasts. The news anchors now use iPads on the set - and I assume the reporters are barred from doing stories about the decline in Georgia timber prices.

+ The Atlanta Falcons drafted Kansas wide receiver Kerry Meier. After choosing that Missouri player in the first round, it's nice to see this team is fair and balanced.

(Perhaps we should have seen this coming: the Falcons' web site is selling official "draft hats." It won't be long before sports bars do the same thing -- except they'll pour draft beer into hats.)

+ Instant Message to Little Joe's Tax Service on Sixth Street: Please note what day of the year this is. I think it's safe to bring the snowman down from your roof now.

SCHEDULED MONDAY: A controversial flag along the side of the road....

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