Tomorrow will be soon enough

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Following the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” only a handful of players from the U.S. Olympic hockey team went on to NHL careers.

After the great upset over the Soviets (and then the gold medal that actually came by beating Finland), only two or three guys from a team that had forever changed the popularity of hockey in America ever had more than a cup of coffee in the big leagues.

Some state and local teams have recently tasted the thrill of victory, as well. The question is whether that victory is more meaningful for those who go on to play at a higher level.

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Right here in town, take King’s Fork’s state championship basketball squad from two years back. There are four guys from that Bulldog team now playing for Division I college programs.

Was the state title more meaningful for the Bulldogs who are now playing hoops at lower-division colleges, or for the Bulldogs who played their last game of competitive basketball during that championship-winning night in Richmond?

A couple of underdogs, including state favorite Virginia Commonwealth, recently have surprised their ways to the Final Four.

In a way, it’s too bad VCU vs. Butler is a semifinal — the ultimate bracket-buster game. Imagine the irony if ESPN sponsored and called the game.

The attention surrounding the teams’ success has derailed the most popular and ridiculous topic of this March Madness season — who will or won’t make it in the NBA?

Sure, when Nansemond River’s basketball teams were taking on Lake Taylor and Booker T. Washington in the regional tournaments a few weeks ago, it was normal to stand around during the pre-game warm-ups and wonder if a few Warriors, Titans and Bookers will be playing in ACC, Big East, CAA or MEAC gyms soon.

The point of a high school tournament is to be a great conclusion to the present season. March Madness is great on its own, deciding the current champ of college hoops. That’s exciting enough on its own. College football and basketball don’t always have to be seen as AAA to the NFL or NBA.

Is Jimmer for real? Is Kemba tall enough? What freshmen from UCONN and Kentucky will be “one and done”? Never mind about what coach will be going where.

The NBA Draft is in June. All the talking heads can go on vacation for two weeks after the tournament’s done and still have two months to talk about nothing but those questions.