By LARRY VAUGHT
What started as a Twitter discussion about the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation making a mistake by scheduling the Mr. and Miss Basketball announcements for March 5, the night many girls regional championship games across Kentucky would have been played, turned into a much more serious conversation.
The Lions claimed they misread the KHSAA master schedule when the awards ceremony was scheduled and could not change the date. Instead, they asked regions across the state not to play that night meaning regions would have to play semifinal games on Sunday, March 3, and the title game on Monday, March 4.
Lincoln County coach Cassandra McWhorter has a Miss Basketball candidate in Emma King. Her team is also favored to win the 12th Region. Certainly she did not want a conflict to make King choose between playing in the region title game on March 5 or attending the awards ceremony to find out if she wins Miss Basketball or not.
“Thing that bothers me most about it all, is now the girls (our region at least) will have to play on a Wednesday night (1st round in region) and a Sunday (Semi’s). Do NOT like how people disregard the importance of GOD in so many players/coaches lives! Priorities have been lost over time!” McWhorter posted on Twitter.
“I’m with you there, Cass. I am heading to a District game tonight when I wanted to accept an invite to visit a church,” Kayla Moore VanHoose replied.
McWhorter followed with this tweet: “Tough enough being a Christian and trying to set the right example daily… even tougher as Pastor’s wife and handling these conflicts! And so many of us tell our players, prioritize! 1. GOD 2. Family 3. School 4. Sports But then world sends opposite message to them!”
However, not everyone agreed with that logic.
“Not everyone’s a Christian, and if KHSAA/schools acted with that as their guiding principle, there’d be many more issues than event conflicts,” Lexington Herald-Leader prep sports writer Josh Moore tweeted.
That got Lincoln County athletics director Tim Estes involved: “If more people were Christians, there would be far fewer issues and conflicts.”
“I am for ending practice early on Wednesdays or avoiding games on Wednesdays — when possible. Of course there are exceptions to everything but I don’t see anything wrong with allowing people an open timeframe to attend whichever church of whichever religion they choose,” VanHoose said.
“I understand not everyone is a Christian, I’m just making point that God/church/Sunday’s (no matter a Christian or not) use to be treated different in this country! Sad it’s still not!” McWhorter responded.
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association now also plays the boys and girls state basketball championship games on Sunday — as well as some tournament games in other sports including football. Former Mercer County coach Chris Souder had a team in the finals in 2017 and 2018 that won the title.
“At the State Tournament we had a team devotion on Sunday before both Championship games!” Souder noted on Twitter.
“You can FELLOWSHIP anywhere, that’s for sure! Way to be a light, coach,” VanHoose responded to Souder.
Bottom line is that no day is sacred any more when it comes to sports contests. College and professional sports play every day of the week — and high schools are also moving that direction.
Count me as one who still tries to give church attendance a priority — even though I fail far more than I should. Count me as one who also appreciates what a coach like Souder does and what McWhorter and others try to teach their players.