There’s something about the sounds and the smells of a high school gymnasium during basketball season that is really unequaled for most Hoosiers afflicted with the hysteria that is associated with this state.
The smell of the popcorn, hot and freshly popped, mingles with the audio backdrop that accompanies every high school game, boys and girls alike. The tennis shoes squeak on the polished hardwood floors, the ball makes that familiar thump as it ends its path downward and the officials’ whistle punctuates each moment like a period in a sentence of a well-loved book.
Even though the games don’t draw the crowds the way they used to, the experience of each game for each fan is relatively unchanged. The gym remains one of the communal gathering places where communities can come together as one to root for a shared interest.
This season holds a number of new and promising players and coaches. On the boys’ side, there are four new coaches to pilot area teams, while the girls have just two new faces in the coaching ranks.
For the boys, Frankton and Liberty Christian had stellar seasons a year ago and return the heart of those teams to this year’s squads. Most of the other teams return some solid players and are hoping that newcomers will fill the void created by graduation.
Anderson, Pendleton Heights, Shenandoah and Lapel returned a solid number of players to their girls teams and have had some early-season success. Several other teams may develop into sectional contenders by February.
No matter what the records will be at season’s end, these teams will create a wealth of memories for players and fans over the course of these next three months.
High school athletics still provide the best bang for the buck in sports. It is time to enjoy some basketball.
In summary Winter means that Hoosier Hysteria will be followed in gymnasiums again all across the state.