Oklahoma All-State Games: Not what they used to be
The Oklahoma All-State football game is tonight at Tulsa Union, and the all-state games aren’t what they once were.
Big crowds and all the state’s best athletes once were staples of the all-state games. No more. Now, many of the state’s best — particularly in football — bypass the all-state games, getting ready for college. And the Oklahoma Coaches Association watered down the event with expansion, creating two games per sport — large school and small school — in all but football.
The expansion allowed more kids to participate in all-state week. But it also took away much of the drama and glamor from the games. In basketball, for instance, no longer did Ryan Minor or Chianti Roberts or Bryant Reeves play against the Class 5A and 6A athletes. We eventually learned, of course, that they could more than hold their own against anybody in America. But the all-state game would have been a fantastic test case that would have drawn huge interest.
Now the all-state games are mostly an afterthought. Times have changed, and even had the games not expanded and were even the best players all playing, all-state week would be more quaint. Sports fans have more to do, more to follow, and the only high school all-star games that can capture the public fancy is a national event like the McDonald’s All-Star Game.
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