Here in Indiana, basketball is our national pastime. Even before Dennis Hopper’s character in “Hoosiers” said, “I know all there is to know about the greatest game ever invented,” we Hoosiers (by birth), pay close attention to basketball. This week is the biggest week of all. The boys high school state tournament begins with sectionals. And sectional week can mean just one other thing — snow. It seems that every year when the boys high school sectional week rolls around, we get hit with a snowstorm. The games begin Tuesday, and snow and ice are in the forecast for Tuesday.
In the movie “Hoosiers,” the small-town team from Hickory High meets the city team from South Bend. Back in the day, the Indiana tournament was an all-comers tournament. It didn’t matter whether your school was large or small, every school played in the same class. Almost every year, a big school won the state championship. Back in the 1990s, Indiana switched to a class system. Big schools play big schools, medium-size schools play medium-size schools and small schools play small schools. Every now and then, some state legislator tries to get the Indiana High School Athletic Association to go back to the way it was. And the IHSAA always says no.
The latter years of the all-comers tournament, fans would pack the RCA Dome (where the Colts used to play) in Indianapolis for the Final Four. The entire state finals were played in a single day. The semifinals were played in the late morning and early afternoon, then the winners would come back that night for the state championship game. During my senior year in high school, my school lost in overtime for a chance to go to Indianapolis (before the RCA Dome was built). The team that beat my school in OT went on to win the state title.
Enough basketball. Sunday was a day for me to read at TV Mass, which is televised from the campus of the University of Saint Francis. I have read at the TV Mass more than a dozen times over the years. I always drove a car to Mass, until Sunday. I rode my bike. We got ice and snow Friday. By Sunday, the main drags were all clear, but the side streets weren’t. I rode to Saint Francis with no problems. I gave myself plenty of time and was there about an hour early. After Mass, I rode to the nearby Kroger to pick up some tomatoes and peppers to make chili for lunch. So if you’re looking for Meatless Monday idea, try this chili. It’s delicious.