Hitting the hardwood

Nov. 15, 2012 @ 02:42 PM

The boys of fall have hung up their cleats and stored away their smelly shoulder pads. Now it's time to shift focus from the gridiron and move into the gym, break out the sneakers and headbands and enjoy basketball season.

Whether you enjoy the fast-paced and high-scoring professional games, the fundamentally-based college game or the county boys in small gyms, it's all kicking into gear.

Local teams are in full force as their season begins next week. A couple programs have high aspiration and hopes of state championships while others just want double-digit wins.

ACC basketball programs have tipped-off and are already grabbing headlines as Duke defeated Kentucky Tuesday night on national television.

North Carolina took down our own local Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs just last week to start their season on a high note.

Even my old team that I covered in college, the Charlotte 49ers, are off to a 2-0 start with their victory over Georgia Southern. That particular game was nationally televised on NBCSports, which unlike ACC programs, is a big deal for a school that hardly cracks into their local market.

Even the Bobcats are on their way to not being the worst team in NBA history. They have already managed two wins on their hunt to out-do last year's team that managed only seven.

So the sights and sounds are ready to reappear in our sports lives.

We're about to see flashy shoes that squeak at every sharp move, angry coaches will have their faces turn red as they bark orders to the players on the floor and even angrier fans will express their displeasure to the men with the whistles.

buzzers will sound and nets will swish. Errant shots will clank off the rim and errant hands will inadvertently slap the arms of attempted shooters. Cheerleaders will yell new chants as their feet stomp on the wooden bleachers to keep the beat.

It's time to quench our hardwood addictions and let our loyalties flow. So hydrate before you entered crowded gyms and follow your favorites through the coming months.

Very few teams end the season with a win, but maybe your team will be one of the few to hoist a trophy. It's a new year and it starts now.