The hatred of Dickinson Trinity athletics never seems to end. And it never ceases to amaze me.
As of 4 p.m. Saturday, our Region 7 boys basketball championship game story had generated 55 comments. And remember, Beulah won the game 52-51 on Casey Duppong’s last-second shot in one of the best high school basketball games I’ve seen in my four years covering sports at The Dickinson Press.
Still, the jokers came out of the woodwork to blast the Titans, Trinity staff members, the officials, the fans and the venue. Pretty much everybody they could think of EXCEPT the players and coaches.
Now, I condone the trolls for at least leaving the players and coaches that made this ‘instant classic’ game alone in their rants and raves. But they should be ashamed of themselves for the way they’ve gone back and forth with ridiculous one-upmanship and uneducated bashing of things they just don’t seem to understand.
So, I’ve decided to unwittingly join their little “debate” and try to explain a few things.
— Leave the venue alone. The fans in this area should feel lucky to have a basketball arena like Knights of Columbus Activities Center in which to watch games. I’ve covered basketball throughout the state, as have several people I’ve worked alongside, and they all say that Trinity’s gym may be the best high school basketball facility in the state when it comes to tournament time.
The weather outside was weird again the night of the championship, but people turned out in droves to watch this game. Why? It’s simple. Dickinson is centrally located and easily accessible by the entire populous of southwest North Dakota. Half of those kids from schools who aren’t playing aren’t going to that game if it’s in Beulah, Hazen or Bowman. As for the adults, they knew they were going to find a good seat to watch the game. It’s that easy for a lot of people.
Changing the venue of this region title game makes no sense unless the three-class system goes through. Then you might be able to get away with having tournaments at Dickinson State’s Scott Gymnasium or Dickinson High School if you want a neutral site. But, that costs bucks — especially renting out Scott Gym for three days.
If you want your schools to keep making money off this tournament, keep it at Trinity. If you want them to lose money, or you’d rather stay at home, feel free to move it to another site.
I just don’t hope the activities directors of area schools get swayed by people complaining about having the tournament at Knights of Columbus Activities Center to feel they have to move it somewhere else for a year. It makes no sense and the majority of people/fans could care less about it being on Trinity’s home floor.
— If kids want to make Facebook groups, let them. Those commenting on the kids who created the anti-Trinity fan club on Facebook were basically calling for the damnation of these kids’ souls. One person went as far as suggesting anyone associated with the group be tracked down and suspended from school for being associated with that kind of “harassment.”
To them I have three words: Freedom of Speech.
Remember that little thing called the First Amendment that also allows you the right to bash a bunch of high school kids for creating a Facebook group? It also gives these kids the right to do the exact same thing Duke fans do for North Carolina athletics. And kudos to the Trinity kids for making a Titan Pride group to combat it. That’s the kind of stuff that makes rivalries and sports great and keeps it competitive. I remember being in those kids’ shoes once upon a time. Ninety percent of what they are doing is all in fun. Oh. and that “epic fail” sign the kids in the stands were holding up? Watch a college basketball game sometime. Or, for that matter, just Google it. If I was a player from Trinity and saw a Beulah fan holding that sign, I’d probably laugh and wonder why my student section didn’t think of it first. Believe me, I’ve seen and heard far worse from the stands when covering basketball championships in Minnesota. What we view as "bad sportsmanship" in the stands of high school games in North Dakota is pretty tame compared to other states, even our neighboring ones.
Also, Trinity has never cried over the fact that everyone seems to hate them. Titan teams have fed off it for years and have a couple state titles to prove it. State titles won in arenas where the only people cheering for them were wearing red.
— Trinity doesn’t recruit. Trinity doesn’t pay off officials. Trinity doesn’t set up fan sections to their advantage. Trinity doesn’t pay some obscene dollar amount so they get to host every region tournament. Oh and Trinity doesn’t do some magic voodoo spell on their opponents before games, just in case you were wondering.
In fact, if you want to talk fan sections, I overheard Thursday that Trinity head coach Gregg Grinsteinner made the suggestion to athletic director Rick Gordon that Beulah’s fans should sit behind their team, which also allowed the BHS student section sit closer to their team. That also worked out well so that neither Beulah nor Trinity student sections could interfere with their opponents during the second half when it came to free throws or things of that nature.
— People were complaining that the officials are from Dickinson. To them I say, “So. Where do you want them to come from?” Who do you think travels up to 100 miles during weeknights to ref games in small surrounding towns? Do you really think Region 7 is going to go out and pull officials from Bismarck-Mandan for this tournament? Not happening.
Especially during a night when every basketball venue in the state has games going on. Be appreciative of the guys who have the fortitude to put on the stripes and stand by themselves while 2,500 people watch their every step and wait for them to screw up, even though 99 percent of the time, they do their jobs well.
I never thought people would be this ridiculous about Trinity losing a region championship game. I just hope people realize how good of a game this was and be grateful that you were there to be a part of it.