Snowstorm or not, the State Tournaments are here!

From "Wrestlers clear the mats" to "It's time for basketball!"  The girls take over Des Moines this week.
From "Wrestlers clear the mats" to "It's time for basketball!" The girls take over Des Moines this week.

It’s hard to imagine not having a snowstorm today as the 2010 edition of the Iowa Girls high school state basketball tournament begins this morning at 10:00 am at Wells Fargo Arena.

Almost every year at this time, Mother Nature throws us a curveball.  It’s probably a good thing that this week may not be the week for more snow.  We’ve gotten too much of it this winter.

If you are a prep sports junkie like I am, these four weeks that we’re in the middle of is the best time of the year, especially here in Des Moines.  The locals may not care for the out-of-towners tying up parking lots and downtown, but this, as Pete Jones of Des Moines Is Not Boring would put it, a great opportunity for Des Moines to show it’s never boring and get some love.

When I was growing up in Waterloo, it was a cardinal sin if you didn’t come to Des Moines to watch East High play at state.  For many of us who didn’t grow up in Des Moines, the capital city was likened to the Iowa version of New York City.  It’s the biggest city in the state, the best teams were here, and there was plenty of things to do, even back then when Des Moines would “close up” for the night at 10pm, you were going to see kids in the skywalks goofing off.

That reason, along with a few, is why I have never considered leaving Iowa.  The state tournaments marks the beginning of spring and the real start of 2010.  Our state tournaments are special in so many different ways to so many different people. The girls are buying prom dresses from Schaefer’s, parents and fans are walking thru the skywalks and taking in the downtown landscape, admiring how much Des Moines continues to change, in small and big ways.

Frosty Mitchell, the man who kept the party going at Vets during a  1959 snowstorm during the Girls state tournament.
The Great Frosty Mitchell of KIOA, KGRN, and WMT fame. He hosted an overnight sock-hop when fans were snowbound at Vets in 1959.

Anyone who doesn’t go to the state tournaments, you need a pulse.  Even if it’s one game or one match, it’s worth seeing and experiencing the pomp and circumstance, traditions, and fervor that builds inside Wells Fargo Arena.

Though, it would be nice to be stuck in there during a snowstorm.  I would do anything to have Frosty Mitchell do an over-night sock hop again!

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