SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Kayhi's athletic program
By Brad Groghan


February 14, 2006

I agree with the two recent letters regarding Kayhi's athletic program, mainly concerning the girl's basketball program.

Let me start off by saying that girl's basketball rarely draws the same size crowds as boy's. Whether it's pro, college or high school. And it's tough to compare Kayhi to Juneau right now, as the Bears won the state championship last year and are ranked second in the state this year. Unfortunately, even at the high school level, the better the record the higher the attendance will be.

Now, with that out of the way, Saturday's game was a joke. Following a night game with a 1 pm game on a Saturday afternoon? No wonder the scores were in the 30's. Kayhi's athletic director owes coach Bob Hammer and the entire Lady Kings roster a big apology for that.

Kayhi lost that game by two points and I have to wonder if there were more than 50-60 people in attendance, would the extra crowd support have helped inspire our girls to score three more points and win the critical conference game? I've seen bigger crowds at Dribbler's League games.

So how do we fix this?

I think it starts with the Athletic Director and works its way down through Kayhi students, athletes and their parents.

Here are a few suggestions. I know, opinions are like . . . well, you know how that statement goes. I'm clearly not an expert, but I think these are at least some good ideas to think about.

1. Where was the pep club? At one point I counted TWELVE kids in the pep club section. There were six cheerleaders cheering to 12 students. There has to be more of an effort by the student population to be at the games. I know it's the weekend, and some kids have jobs - but it's only 90 minutes.

1A. On a side note, I love Brandon Hoyt and our pep band. They do an awesome job.

2. The AD should have known that a 1 o'clock game wasn't going to draw a huge crowd. So why not add some fun to it? Invite the youngest Dribbler's League all stars to play a five-minute exhibition game during halftime. Or have members of the Karate Club or Boxing Club or the Gymnastics Club or the Schoenbar Drill Team perform. Have a contest where a member of the audience competes in a three-point shooting contest against a Kayhi boy's player or girl's assistant coach Steve McDonald, and if the fan wins they get a SE tournament pass or something. Anything to draw in more people.

3. Or they could have made Saturday's contest a "fan appreciation" game. The one game of the year where there is no admission. Or anybody holding a ticket from Friday night's game would get into Saturday's game for free. There was only about 50 paying customers anyway, so it's not like Kayhi would have lost that much box office revenue. But it might have drawn in 50-100 more customers to support the Kings.

4. How about losing the wrist bands for attendance? What's wrong with just using an ink stamp??? It takes the cashier 20-30 seconds to unlatch the wrist band and then attach it to the customer's wrist. Twenty seconds is not that long, but if there is 100 people in line ahead of you, a simple inkstamp to the hand would make the line move ten times quicker.

5. There was no concession stand on Saturday. I took my son to the afternoon game thinking we'd watch some ball and pig out on hot dogs, popcorn and pop! No such luck. Why not open it for some group trying to raise money? The Kanayama kids sold pizza for the superbowl as a fund raiser. I'm sure it would have been easy to find a group fundraising that would have provided lumpia, pizza, fried bread, etc. Again, just a little touch of something different than the norm, that might have brought in a few extra customers.

6. I'm a little biased on this one, but I think getting the media involved can greatly increase attendance. The more the community feels connected to the players, the more likely they will come to the games. And there are a lot of compelling stories on this year's team. I'd love to see more feature stories in the newspaper. Just off the top of my head - how about a story on the Edwardson sisters? Has there ever been a group of more talented basketball sisters than them in Ketchikan? Has there ever been four siblings to play for a Kayhi team? Tori was an amazing basketball player. Beautiful girl but was a warrior when she stepped on the court. Jamie will probably be all-conference this season and next year. Alexis is a captain on the Schoenbar Knights team that maybe the best jr-high team in the state. That's a custom made story right there.

There could be a fun story about our two freshman that both play crucial minutes for the Varsity, one who is a guard and one who is a big man. Kalli Kline is our leading three-point shooter and the mayor's daughter Maya Weinstein gives quality minutes in the post.

Or a feature on the backgrounds of our coaching staff, Bob Hammer, Steve McDonald and John Brown. All three guys were dominant ball players in high school. That would be interesting to read about.

And I'd love to read a story about the Effenbergers. How many husband and wife teams have there been that ref high school basketball games at the same time? Throw in the fact that Scott is one of the best basketball players in Kayhi history, Morgan runs the highly successful HoopMania program and daughter Lacy is one of the best 8th grade basketball players in Alaska. That's front page story material.

I'm sure people closer to the program could think of several more interesting stories concerning the girls. I know the sports editor has a lot on his plate. When I had his job I loved it when people called me with story ideas. Is the AD or anybody doing that now?

Well, those are just a few ideas that might help raise attendance. Like I said, I'm certainly not an expert in this field. But anything to get the general public excited about coming to the games and supporting the Kings is what we should be shooting for.

Kayhi has a great group of varsity basketball players this year. Karin Voteberg, Crystal Reno and Jamie Edwardson all have a shot at making the all-conference team. We've got an incredibly strong group of underclassman. Kristen Peterson's fiesty play makes it worth your while to come watch the JV games. And thanks to HoopMania, Kayhi has a realistic chance to become a powerhouse over the next 4-5 years. There is some amazing talent in the younger age groups. Not this year, but starting next season I wouldn't be surprised to see Kayhi string together 3-4 Southeast titles in a row.

Sorry this was so long, but I just hope people will come out to support or local athletic teams. Don't just come to the "big games" or if the team is highly ranked, otherwise you miss out on watching players develop and teams grow together. And we should support our kids regardless if they are winning or losing. THAT is what makes Ketchikan - or any community - a great place to live!!!

Thanks for reading.

Brad Groghan
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Brad Groghan has lived in Ketchikan for 30 years.


Related Viewpoint:

letter Giving ownership back to the students By Charles Edwardson - Ketchikan, AK - USA

letter Return school "ownership" to the students By Linda Koons Auger - Ketchikan, AK - USA




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