The Roundhouse needs to rock on this special night

By Steve Sell
December 11, 2015

The Roundhouse needs to be rocking tonight.

Pure and simple.

McPherson High’s highly state-ranked basketball teams finally make their home debuts as Winfield comes to town. It’s the only time in December the teams will entertain the hometown faithful, as their final two games are away from the friendly confines.

Not only is it the Bullpups’ home opener, but it’s Wall of Fame Night.

Being inducted are Kristina Barrow, Camry Holle, Emily Ediger, Nicole Gieselman, Kyler Kinnamon and Jim Post. Banners will be raised for last year’s two state championship teams — the MHS boys basketball team and MHS boys tennis team.

I find it interesting in my travels that some schools have banners up for league championships and invitational championships.

But not at McPherson High. The Roundhouse is a unique and special place and only the most special moments result in banners being hoisted. And for the Wall of Fame, the criteria is strict. To be on the Wall, you have to have done something extraordinary — be it being a state champion, being All-State All-Class first team, having made first-team All-State for two years or compiling enough of an outstanding career to merit induction by the committee that has an enormous task since there have been so many quality student-athletes and coaches come through.

If you get a chance tonight, take a walk around the top and read the accomplishments each of the inductees had. It’s a walk down memory lane, an historical walk if you will. I know to make the Wall, having gone on myself, it’s an honor that will never be topped.

It also shows me just how fortunate and, yes, even spoiled McPherson is. The collection of talented individuals is jaw-dropping. The school is a success in nearly every sport and activity it competes in and even those that may not be successful team-wise, they produce individuals who have been Wall-worthy. We should never, ever take the success for granted.

With the dawning of a new home basketball season, I always wonder what kind of crowds we’re going to have from year to year. 

I know people get tired of me pining yearly for the “old days.” They tell me so. I don’t have to be told anymore those days are long gone.

Gone are the days when every seat is filled and there’s four- and five-deep around the top. That’s never going to happen again, even if there was a night when every fan could be admitted free.

Economics has a lot to do with it and families can’t afford to go to every game anymore. And a lot of fans that do go are so busy texting they don’t even watch half the game. Social media, while a great invention, also is ruining our existence as we’re obsessed with instant information. Attention span is another reason the crowds are smaller. We’re being pulled a lot of different ways. In the 1960s and 70s, this was the only game in town.

Way back when, MHS was in a league where the opposing schools brought a horde of fans. Now, especially in AVCTL Division III, nearly all of the fans at the Roundhouse are wearing red. Buhler does its part as it has a great following, but Rose Hill, Winfield, El Dorado and Augusta hardly put a dent in the attendance figure. Newton won’t play MHS anymore, and Salina Central and Salina South are no longer on the schedule. Hutchinson is here every other year and those games are a good draw.

But no longer am I going to let it bother me that MHS fans don’t fill the grand old stage. Times have changed and our world has become a far worse place. Just look at what is going on, our country has never been more torn and divided. We are a “me-first” country. It seems like tragedies around the country are the rule, not the exception. We live in different times, times that quite frankly bother me. I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon.

 I’m glad my parents aren’t around to see what life has become because it would make them very, very sad. Family values have greatly gone out the window and respect for others have waned. It’s all about attitude. You see it in major sports now, the managers and coaches are being challenged by players and their authority is questioned. In my day, the coach’s word was to be followed, not challenged.

I hope I’m surprised tonight. I hope the rafters are filled and Bullpup fans are in full throat. I want the band to play, the fans to cheer and stomp. I want my ears to hurt when I walk out of the building tonight.

There’s nothing quite like an electric Roundhouse on a Friday night.