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Instead of a weed, a flower
Charlie's Corner
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We often find fault with things in the sporting world. Goodness knows one doesn’t have to look hard.
“Once in a golden hour                                                                                                                  I cast to earth a seed.      
Up there came a flower
The people said, a weed.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lest we focus too much on the weeds, let’s find a few flowers out there! At the head of the list would be the St.John Tigers boys’ basketball team. This past week they blew through a fine Gene Keady Classic tournament field in Larned with three easy wins, including the championship game against Larned.
They are way more than a one-man team, though senior Dean Wade might make a pretty good one-man team! Wade is the “real deal.” He has signed with Kansas State and area fans will look forward  to his contributions for the Wildcats in Big 12 action. It’s not often in this part of the state that fans get to see a Big 12 caliber player. Wade is certainly that.

As Kansans, do you ever stop and take inventory of how blessed we all are in the world of collegiate sports? The “Miracle in Manhattan”, the Bill Snyder-Kansas State football program continues its’ run as a top-twenty football resident, year after year. The glory that is Kansas University basketball has continued its’ Top Ten tradition from Ted Owens to Larry Brown to Bill Self. A remarkable ten consecutive conference championships boggles the mind!
Wichita State basketball has, once again, climbed back into national prominence under Gregg Marshall. The Shockers captured the nation’s attention last year with their unbeaten run to the Final Four. Wichita State baseball, for years, has been in national prominence.
Stop and think of all of the other states across our nation and you will find that very few can measure up to the excellence that we, perhaps, take for granted in our sparsely populated sports empire of a state. Don’t take it for granted. This is one of our “flowers”.

Kudos to the NCAA. They DO know how to run a football championship playoff, just not for the “Big Boys” yet. The national championship for the  FCS schools started with a sixteen-team field with first round playoff games on Saturday Nov. 29, followed by the second round, then quarterfinals this past weekend and semifinal action is slated for this weekend. The championship game is January 10.
It works so well one has to wonder why they won’t apply the system to their Division I schools instead of the antiquated bowl games and now the four-team playoff mess!

A tip of the hat to the Central Plains Oilers. They’ve developed a powerhouse in small high school sports. They won a state championship in football and both the boys and girls basketball teams are odds-on favorites to make it to their respective state championships.
We have two more great basketball programs right here under our nose at Barton County Community College. Both the men and women’s teams have moved into double-digit wins already in this young season, continuing a legacy of winning basketball. If you haven’t taken in a game out on “The Hill”, you are missing some great junior college basketball!

So as you count your blessings this holiday season, take note of the great success from the world of sports that is right around you.  The “flowers” are popping up everywhere!