Back in Time Tournament
Over the past weekend a high school Basketball tournament took place in Fargo that harkens to the roots of the state. To the days when small towns across the prairie had a place to go for all the local events. A place where events ranging from potlucks to auctions to Basketball games and everything in between & beyond would happen. I've seen some of these places with my own eyes over the years but they are becoming fewer with the consolidation of people in larger communities.
The F-M-WF is the greatest representation of that within the region yet even with all the high school and college facilities in the area the organizers of the "Heart O Lakes" jamboree chose to continue the tradition of having it at the Fargo Civic Center. It's not the choice I would have made but created the opportunity to not only take in several area schools in play but to think about a larger point.
How sometimes tradition takes precedent over what is practical.
I never took part in a Basketball game at the Civic myself but have seen several over the years. To draw the best conclusions possible I decided to lean on the insights and experiences of former prep players who have taken to that court. Specific stories varied, as would be expected, but the accounts that were shared with me included negative recollections of the court, visual difficulty for shooting and the hoop itself. All complaints that I had heard over the years but were confirmed and reiterated.
I don't want to go fully Davey downer on the place because it's still functional. The main compliment that former players made about it was the atmosphere. With a horseshoe of seats surrounding the court it could make for one of the better sports venues in the area.
But that does little to make up for all the knocks that exist with the place. Now I would like to think that continued use of the Civic would eventually lead to renovations and upgrades to some of these special features. Maybe the people in charge consider the facelift that the building got a few years ago as good enough.
It was a good start. Just not good enough for the long term. And it's a shame because the games that I saw there on Saturday were actually really good! Now maybe I'm giving people too much credit, but I think that if the facility was even up to the level of Concordia or M State Fergus Falls it would have drawn more people in for the games.
As it was, the best game of the evening turned out to be the one that I motived me to check the jambo out. DGF versus Oak Grove. One of the best schools in North Dakota Class B versus a decent AA school from Minnesota.
I've heard it said over the years that Minnesota Basketball is better than North Dakota's. There's no comparison between the best school's from the Twin Cities and those from anywhere in NoDak but that doesn't automatically apply to the outstate Minnesota schools, even when playing "down."
So Oak Grove, just as I thought they might, not only played with the Rebels but outplayed them down the stretch. With their mix of size in the post and ability to score from the outside the Grovers showed that they will once again challenge for a state title this year. That alone made the visit to the jamboree worth it with the glimpse back in time serving as some frosting on the cake. In other words, it was totally worth it! (But I hope that it's made better for the future!)