Changing tides often sweep away the good as well

Published 11:39 am Thursday, June 23, 2011

Change isn’t always for the better.

During a recent trip to the North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, I was stunned to find one of the most scenic hiking trails closed forever. The trail, which ran along the rim of the canyon at Chimney Rock Park, led hikers to the summit of Hickory Falls and was the scene of an exciting chase sequence from the film “The Last of the Mohicans.”

The views from the trail into the Lake Lure Valley put postcards to shame.

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I understand the rationale. The railings on the trail looked as sturdy as the Greek economy and the trail was as wide as a bicycle tire. One false step and you would be stuck in a real life Wile E. Coyote moment, minus an animated rebirth.

But for those who were willing to understand and accept the risks, it is another encroachment on liberty. In our overly litigous society, covering your own backside and negating risk are the buzz words. Not adventure.

The College World Series shifted its home from grand old Rosenblatt Stadium, which will be torn down in favor of a parking lot for the Omaha Zoo, to TD Ameritrade Park. Like replacing your beloved old clunker with a brand new model, it just isn’t the same. Even with the better sightlines, new screens and amenities, the new park just isn’t the bright, cheery Rosenblatt. Even if Rosenblatt’s legendary pipe organ was moved to the new park, pipe by painstaking pipe.

The SEC’s decision at the recent spring meetings to eliminate division play in basketball, while logical in some respects, is going to make it tougher for SEC hoops teams to schedule games. By junking today’s format and increasing the amount of rigorous SEC contests, the perverse benefit will be that SEC teams will be less likely to schedule games with marquee non-conference opponents.

The reason for the change was the weakness in the SEC West Division, which had an RPI lower than Anthony Weiner’s approval rating amongst Republicans. But divisions are cyclical and the East, even with Kentucky a perennial power, won’t always be as stout. Auburn won’t always be an SEC team masquerading as a island of misfit JUCOs and walk-ons. Arkansas hired Mike Anderson — one of the best coaches in the country — and the fear for teams traveling to Bud-Walton Arena will be back. Ole Miss will get to an NCAA Tournament and a new arena would help matters tremendously, especially on the recruiting front, for coach Andy Kennedy. Mississippi State’s program won’t be a reality show with enough drama for two Academy Awards next year. MSU coach Rick Stansbury won’t allow it, because he knows he likely wouldn’t survive it. Alabama is a program on the rise and could be on the cusp of an deep NCAA run next season. LSU’s slide to the depths of despair was a product of some big-time misses in recruiting under the previous administration. The Tigers won’t be awful forever.

Change for change’s sake isn’t always a secure rationale. Sometimes, the status quo is the best choice.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at