Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003.

In an unprecedented move the IHSAA decided to postpone our beloved Boys State Tournament due to COVID-19 fears.

Many of us have been involved in the Indiana state basketball tournament as either a player or coach and some of us have been involved as BOTH.

It’s a special time of the year when as a program you can continue the momentum of a great season that your kids are experiencing, or on the flipside, you can rewind a season of disappointment by making a huge run to win a Sectional or advancing further. Whatever the scenario that you’d like to insert, the boys state tournament is a unique opportunity to see our schools and players exhibit the talents one final time as seniors before handing over the keys to the program to aspiring underclassmen that can’t wait to drive the program car.

The IHSAA, after considering several options as to how they could move forward with the tournament this season, was left with no other option but to postpone (and eventually cancelled) the Regional rounds of the 2019-2020 boys tournament.  

Our current times really left the states governing high school body no other option but to follow the lead of the NCAA, NBA and other professional sports organizations as information regarding the coronavirus continued to sweep in, not only daily, but literally by the minute which eliminated any chances for our state to complete the tournament in its current format and time frame. 

So what are we missing? What teams looked like they were on their way to advancing through the Regionals and making a run at Bankers Life Fieldhouse? Indiana hoops are just different than most other schools in regards to how we look at our basketball and communities that surround our teams. In our state (as many will share with you) basketball is more than a “pastime” or something to do; it is THE THING YOU DO.

The catch phrase “March Madness” carries a unique significance in our state as towns communities and cities form conferences that are made of big schools of over 2,000 students, middle-sized schools of 1200-1500 students, and smaller schools of maybe only 250-300 students coming together to compete against each other during the regular season but then being assigned to their particular school grouping of Class A, Class 2A, Class 3A or Class 4A to compete for a state championship in March.

Like the NCAA tournament, there are many stories that are created during this time as it’s always fun to see a new school that has never been to the finals rally its community, students and patrons around the team and celebrate their successes. Pep sessions, banners displayed, city proclamations and being treated like royalty is such an experience for these communities that it’s sad to see this taken away during this time of the year. Many of us coaches can remember being THAT particular player or team that achieved way beyond what was expected of us when the season began and hit our stride during the mid-season and it catapulted us towards what would be our “One Shining Moment.”

I’m going to miss that player, that coach and that team having the opportunity to express their gratitude for support from their schools and communities but I FULLY understand that this decision HAD to be made and believe something good will come from this decision. Our young people’s lives are more important than basketball and though we will miss them not completing this season, I for one sure have enjoyed seeing them play this season. Sure could use some HUDL video right about now!

Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday during the prep basketball season at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

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