News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.

The Peterson Principal

By Tim Peterson

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t’s not that the basketball in the San Gabriel Valley is that bad. If you look you can find some pretty good players on some pretty good teams. I’m not saying that you’re going to find Mater Dei or Crenshaw like talent here in the SGV, but for the most part you can find some pretty good competition and some kids that can play.

In the last two weeks I’ve seen Primitivo Gomez at Arroyo, Mike Peters at Covina and Nnadi Udengwu at Diamond Ranch, all standout players that can ball with anybody. The Covina-Diamond Ranch game in the Azusa Tournament Final was a great game that was fun to watch. No it’s not that the comp is bad or the teams aren’t good. It’s just that nobody seems to care.

At that same game at Azusa high school, on one side of the court you could have counted the number of fans on one hand. There were a few more on the other side bringing the grand total to maybe 25. 25 fans at a tournament championship game?

It was so quiet you could hear the coaches shouting instructions to the players on the court. Heck, you could hear the players talking to each other on the court. I’m sure the officials didn’t appreciate it. They could clearly hear every complaint and criticism that was being yelled from the stands. At times the only sound you could hear was the basketball bouncing or the squeaking of tennis shoes on the hardwood floor.

You can’t really blame it on the time. Some of the tournament games start at 3:00 but this game started at 7:00. Were people just caught up in the Christmas holidays? Maybe but it was still two weeks before Christmas. The guy at the door even seem surprised when I walked in, probably shocked that the game was getting any coverage.

At Arroyo Friday night I encountered the same thing. The Knights were taking on Duarte at 6:30. Again the time was right. It allowed for people to get off work and still get over to the game on time. Plus it was a Friday night. There was plenty of parking just a nine iron away from the gym so that wasn’t a factor. Also the games only last a little more than an hour so you could still make dinner plans for after the game.

Yet there was only a handful of people at the game and I think a third of those were Arroyo administration and students. If you’ve ever been to Vern Nelson Fieldhouse at Arroyo you know there is only one side of grandstands. They didn’t even need that. To say it was one-third full would be generous. The far section was completely empty except for a couple of crickets.

You ever hear a player or a coach say at a football game that it was so loud you couldn’t hear the whistle? Well at his game, the shrill of the whistle was so loud you could of heard it at McDonald’s across the street. There was no question when play was stopped.

Was it too early in the season? I don’t buy that. I’ve seen football games in August that were standing room only. Why do people park four blocks away and hike a mile to get to a high school football game but won’t walk 50 yards to attend a basketball game?

It’s not the players, it’s not the teams and it’s not the facilities. Maybe it has been the scheduling over the past few years and nobody knows exactly when the games start. Maybe it is the overall level of competition. But I’ve seen low turnouts in Pasadena and Glendora too.

No I think there is a better explanation. A really simple, easy one. It’s not football.

That’s my principle.

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News of the San Gabriel Valley since 1966.
The Peterson Principal