So, with another high school football season safely in the books, we’ll admit a bit of depression begins to set in at The List HQ.
As exciting as finals weekend at the Georgia Dome is, it’s always a little bittersweet knowing those are the last games we’ll see for another year.
Fortunately, there is one cure for this post-football depression – high school basketball.
While we’ve been obsessing over football like the rest of you, basketball season is nearly two months old already, and attention turns fully to roundball in the new year.
As much as we love our pigskin, in many ways basketball is even better for the fans. And, of course, we’ve got a list of the top 10 reasons why.
10. No bands
OK, hear us out here. Yeah, we do love the sounds of a great high school band. But, especially for those who don’t, it can be great to just be able to concentrate on the sounds of the game without all the fight songs and such. If you love bands, we’ll now accept your hate mail.
9. Halftime games
Not all places do this, but basketball offers opportunities to have anyone try the game. At halftime, you might get a couple of freshmen trying to shoot 3-pointers for a local gift card, or maybe a little mini game of HORSE. Yeah, it’s silly, but there’s also a reason you don’t see halftime games of touch football in the fall.
8. Squeaky shoes and bouncing balls
There’s just something about the distinctive sounds of a basketball game that we love. Shoes squeaking against the gym floor. Balls constantly bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. It’s unmistakable. A little annoying out of context, but unmistakable all the same.
7. Foreign stars
Unlike football, basketball is a truly global game. There are leagues in most every European country, and there are professional leagues on every continent – well, other than Antarctica, at least not that we know of. This means diversity and plenty of opportunity for good players. And even at the high school level in Georgia, we see kids from all over the world take the floor.
6. Interstate games
These happen occasionally in football, but it’s a pretty regular occurrence with the state’s marquee basketball programs. This week, we’ll see a bunch of holiday tournaments going on, some with Georgia teams traveling across the country to test themselves against some of the nation’s best. Sure, we know the best basketball is here in Georgia, but it’s nice to have that confirmed every now and then.
5. Small schools can compete
In basketball, land yourself one guy who’s a big enough star, and you can play with anybody in the state, regardless of classification. In football, you’ll almost never see a Class A school hang with one in AAAAAA, but a guy named Dwight Howard made Southwest Atlanta Christian nearly unbeatable in 2003-04. It happens.
4. Get closer
Even if you’re in the front row at a football game, you’ve still got a big sideline, a high railing and often a track between you and the field of play. On the other hand, if you’re in the front row at a basketball game, your feet are often sitting right on the court. You could steal the ball from a guy running down that side of the court, not that The List recommends such rogue actions.
3. The pros come sooner
There may be no more going straight to the pros from high school, a la the aforementioned Howard, but the infamous one-and-dones are still a fixture at the country’s best programs. Some recent ones from Georgia include Portland’s J.J. Hickson and Utah’s Derrick Favors. That awesome player you’re watching today might be passing it to LeBron James in just two years, while players have to wait three full years in football.
Talk tough all you want, but who really wants to sit out in 20-degree wind chills for hours at a time to do … well, anything at all, actually? Give us heated gyms all day long, and we’ll be quite happy, thank you very much.
1. Games more often
We admit it, we’re an impatient bunch. That wait between Fridays for football is nerve racking throughout the fall. So basketball is a nice change. Games Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and sometimes popping up elsewhere too. More games means more opportunities for awesome moments to watch, and we don’t have to drive ourselves stir crazy waiting for the next chance to see them.
Now we want to hear what you think. Why do you think high school hoops is better than football? Or are we just crazy? Don’t worry. We’ve been called worse. Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.