Compared to all of the challenges in our world at this time, the announcement on Tuesday (11/24) that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Mens Basketball Tournament will be held in Greensboro in 2021 was an insignificant blimp on a radar screen.
But, as a rapidly aging and increasingly more grumpy geezer, I loved Commissioner Swofford’s press release. It was like an early Christmas present.
Now, of course, we all know that demon— COVID-19 could once again cancel the entire tournament for a second year. But, hopefully, we will wise up and not let that happen.
However, if the tournament had remained as scheduled at the Capital One Arena in Washington, D. C., there was another high disruptive risk— the ghost of Ernest T. Bass.
Sources in inside ACC offices in Greensboro acknowledged that security personnel had expressed significant concern about Mr. Bass breaching the security perimeter at the Capital One Arena.
Some security personnel view Mr. Bass’s ghost as harmless as thermals drifting around Mt. Pilot on a summer day.
But others were concerned that if Mr. Bass found his way into the Capital One Arena, he could have inflicted an array of disruptions.
Additionally, there were unconfirmed reports that the ghost of Mr. Bass was training in the hollers of northern Virginia for such an intrusion.
Some reports indicated that Mr. Bass had developed a paranormal stealth shield. If these stealth shield reports are accurate, then Mr. Bass could enter the Capital One Arena without detection.
Apparently, these unconfirmed reports were unsettling to Commissioner Swofford and his staff. The potential of this unpredictable risk from Mr. Bass is what led the ACC to quietly reach out to the management at the Capital One Arena.
Regardless of the ghost of Ernest T. Bass, returning the tournament to Greensboro makes good practical sense.
As I have stated and advocated for in the past, the ACC Mens Basketball tournament should only be played in one city— Greensboro.
In fact, before he retires and leaves office, I would encourage Commissioner Swofford to make his final declaration as commissioner to simply be this: For the next million years, the ACC Mens Basketball Tournament can only be played at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro.
One exception to this decree would be for improvements to the Greensboro Coliseum. If this occurs, the tournament will temporarily switch sites to Charlotte or Raleigh.
Clearly, the league’s heart, character, and soul are grounded in North Carolina. Four of the original founding schools are located in North Carolina with Clemson and Virginia both an easy drive to Greensboro.
The quality and competitiveness of the ACC was well established before expansions of the league occurred.
Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that the most recent expansions of the league were not grounded in geographical logic. No, those expansion decisions were grounded in pennies—lots and lots of pennies.
Some might say, Bill, you are just an obstinate old guy who wants to hold on to the past for all of the wrong reasons. Heck, you are still enamored with the Andy Griffith Show that first aired in 1960.
Well, I agree with your assessment of my stubbornness.
However, I would argue with my last breath from my Alamance County roots that the tournament should only be played in Greensboro and at the very least within the state of North Carolina.
It took bold hearts on May 8, 1953 to leave the Southern Conference and form the Atlantic Coast Conference. That courage built a league of quality, dedication, and tradition.
Yes, it will take strong leadership to keep the tournament in Greensboro for a million years. But, playing the tournament in other arenas in other locations will not sustain the quality, dedication, tradition, and heart of this league.
The founding heart is Greensboro—the future heart should be Greensboro too.
Greensboro has proven they have the capacity, energy, vision, and heart to sustain the tournament.
In this upside down world that ought to be worth something.
So, Commissioner Swofford before you leave office, do some good heart work— make that decree.
The hearts of the people of Greensboro and North Carolina deserve it.
In your heart, you know it is right thing to do.
And one more reminder, any cardiologist will tell you— riling up the ghost of Ernest T. Bass isn’t good for a heart.