Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: Friday musings on turning 60, high school basketball, Kevin Bacon, Shockers in the NCAAs, etc.

Kevin Bacon plays FBI agent Ryan Hardy on The Following, one of the most-violent shows on television.
Kevin Bacon plays FBI agent Ryan Hardy on The Following, one of the most-violent shows on television.

▪ I’m digging this great spring weather, aren’t you? I use the word “digging” in an attempt to feel hip now that I recently turned 60. I’m also thinking of putting some color in what’s left of my hair and touching up my goatee.

▪ Honestly, 60 doesn’t feel much different than 59. I know so many vital 60-year-olds. Give me a minute and I’ll think of one.

▪ A brief update on League 42, our urban baseball league for kids ages 5-14. We’re starting out second season and will have around 350 kids in the league, up from the 220 from last year. It’s daunting and exciting at the same time. Eventually, and soon, we will renovate our existing two fields and build new ones at the north end of McAdams Park, which is our home. The goal is to have three fields by next spring and summer, possibly four. There is always something happening with League 42. It’s truly a blessing.

▪ I enjoy being out at high school basketball tournaments every year instead of covering the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City. Why? There’s usually not much at stake at the Big 12, while state tournaments take me back to my roots. I spent 12 total years covering high school sports at the newspaper and some of the most fun I’ve had in this business came while writing about prep sports. It’s fun to get back to that now and then.

▪ However, there is so much wrong about high school sports in Kansas that I would need a day or two to write about all of it. Eight classes? How does that happen in a state with fewer than three million people? State tournaments should be a big deal. I’m led to believe they are in many other states, which treat them as a festival with large crowds and special events. But little changes in Kansas high school sports except for expanding classes. Someone told me the other day that some administrators in Kansas want to divide Class 3A into two, which happened with 4A a couple of years ago. Will the madness ever stop?

▪ And high school basketball needs a shot clock. It’s mandatory. Basketball is played with a shot clock. That’s the game now. Playing basketball without a shot clock isn’t basketball. Watching teams walk the ball up the floor and run offense for a minute or more isn’t basketball. The game has evolved. It’s time for Kansas to adopt a shot clock for high school basketball. Make it happen.

▪ Kansas is a basketball state. I made that statement on Twitter recently and met with some resistance. How can anyone argue that point? It doesn’t mean football, baseball, golf and other sports aren’t big or important in Kansas. It simply means that basketball is the most important and historical sport in our state. As someone who loves basketball, I’m proud of that. And it’s yet another reason why the state high school tournaments should be a bigger deal than they are. Let’s put a blue-ribbon panel together this spring and summer and figure out how to do our high school postseason events better.

▪ I know there’s a 99.999 percent probability that I’m just beating my head against a wall when I propose these things. I get the notion that Kansas State High School Activities Association officials have tuned me out. Same with the school administrators who serve on the KSHSAA executive board and board of directors, which is where the decisions are made. I wish those who think like I do – there have to be some, right? – would start making more noise.

▪ The bracketologists are all over the place when it comes to predicting Wichita State’s seed and destination in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Here’s what I hope – that the Shockers go somewhere relatively close so that I can drive. Flying doesn’t interest me any more. I’m not a fan. I’d rather drive to Quebec than fly to Dodge City.

▪ I still watch The Following, Kevin Bacon’s show on Fox. I’m not sure why. It’s gratuitously violent, makes Bacon and the rest of his FBI cohorts look like bumbling idiots and has no inkling of realism. It’s a disturbing show and it disturbs me that I watch. I would like for someone to explain why I watch. It’s not that I’m a Bacon fan. I am, however, a bacon fan. I had some with a waffle the other morning.

▪ I do some of my work in my basement at home with our dog sleeping just a few feet away. It’s soothing.

▪ I received the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue a few weeks back and didn’t open the magazine. Now I’m not even sure where it is. This is life at 60.

▪ I will record all 15 St. Louis Cardinals spring training games that are being televised on Fox Sports Midwest and watch them at some point. Again, life at 60. Excitement is more difficult to find.

▪ My goal is to spend a few days in Colorado in July with friends and to turn my phone off. It seems like that’s something I should be able to do, right? But I’m as addicted as anyone, which angers me. What was life like before we had this 24-hour connection to the world? Wasn’t it better? Again, these are the thoughts of a 60-year-old.

▪ My name is simple. Bob Lutz. Not much to it. I could have been R. Douglas Lutz. Or Robert D. Lutz. Or Bobby Lutz like the former Charlotte basketball coach. Or Douglas Lutz. Or R.D. Lutz. I think I should have gone with R. Douglas Lutz. Sounds like someone with money, doesn’t it?

▪ I wonder what Timothy Olyphant is going to do when Justified comes to an end in a few weeks? Being Raylan Givens is the role of a lifetime, I would think. He’s been given some of the best lines I’ve ever heard on television. I hope Olyphant finds more great roles.

▪ American Idol is still a show I watch every week. I enjoy the singing competition. But this season has been a discombobulated mess. It is trying my patience.

▪ There are only a few conference basketball tournaments that matter much. Which is why I find myself watching a lot more small-conference games at this time of the season than I do the Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 or others.

▪ The dog seems to have the hiccups, FYI.

▪ I do enjoy the NFL wheeling and dealing. Trades and free-agent movement are a big part of the appeal of sports for me.

▪ I’ll be out at Koch Arena for the 6A state semifinals today. I will be focused on the East boys, who look to have a good shot at winning a title. Have a great weekend, everyone. Brace yourselves for Selection Sunday.