Monday, June 5, 2017

Priority One

So maybe your first instinct is to look at it cynically, because this is what we do now in America. Phil Mickelson giving the U.S. Open a miss to attend his daughter's high school graduation?

Why, that's just Phil's way of saying, "Ah, screw it. I never win that thing anyway."

Which is true, because he never has. But please, people. Please. Put your cynicism back in its vat of acid for a minute. Assume this isn't about Lefty and golf, but about his daughter, and life. Assume this is the father vetoing the golfer, which is exactly the way it should be if you're living a life that halfway has a sense of proportion to it.

And as for the U.S. Open ... well, if you don't want guys like Lefty skipping to attend their kids' graduations, don't schedule it during graduation season.

Which is pretty much how I feel about the folks running the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star game right now.

Once upon a time, when it actually mattered, they wisely played it the last week or so of June. Then they got dumb about it and scheduled it for this weekend, when half the high schools in Indiana are conducting graduation.

I know. We've got two kids graduating this weekend ourselves, from different schools. Don't ask. It's too long a story, and not nearly as dramatic as you're probably imagining.

Anyway, a couple of local Indiana All-Stars, Jaylen Butz of North Side and Malik Williams of Snider, are giving the actual games a miss, and graduation was listed as one of the reasons. The others are about getting themselves ready for college -- completely understandable, because at Manchester University, where I work, we've already begun the freshman orientation process. And I suspect we're not alone.

And so, good for Butz and Williams for having their priorities straight. Yes, it's an honor to be named to the Indiana All-Stars, and it's an honor to uphold the honor of Indiana against Kentucky, and blah-blah-blah. But there are things more important, especially in 2017.

That's because the idea that Indiana and Kentucky were somehow playing for bragging rights in the All-Star series long ago went the way of laces on basketballs. You might as well lobby to bring back the peach baskets if you're still banging on that drum.

Truth is, Kentucky hasn't cared about this series in 30 years. Truth is, nobody really cares about it anymore. In fact I'm more than a little surprised they're still playing it.

So skipping the games for yours or your friends' high school graduation, or to make sure you're as prepared as possible for college?

That doesn't sound like anyone dissing a proud tradition to me.

It sounds like being a grownup.

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