Bring Best in U. S. to the West

The way it could be--The gates might be closing, but that could mean opportunity will soon be knocking.

Simi Valley High's tournament appearance in Myrtle Beach, S. C., over the holidays--along with Fairfax's trip to Arkansas, Crenshaw's journey to Texas and various other cross-country excursions by area high school basketball teams--might have been a farewell tour.

The Southern Section will begin to enforce an existing rule that limits each school to one trip in each sport to a location more than 500 miles away every three years, excluding California, Arizona and Nevada.

But that need not mean the end of national competition for a school with a basketball team like Simi Valley's. Who says the Pioneers have to be the visiting team?

Why not stage a national basketball tournament locally?

Most Eastern or Midwestern teams would leap at the chance to spend their vacation someplace where they don't need a ski mask when they go out to get the mail.

Dean Crowley, a member of the Southern Section's administrative staff, thinks such a tournament could be a dream event. But turning it into reality is someone else's job.

"I think it would be a great idea," Crowley said. "We would certainly lend our support toward the idea of inviting teams from across the country. I think any school would want to come out here.

"There are steps a school needs to take to get such a tournament sanctioned by us. Any school could do it. All we would do is just handle the paper work. It would take some fund-raising, but that's within the prerogative of the individual school.

"I just think many schools have not had the interest. It takes a lot of time and work. You've got to get an interested athletic director. There are schools in Arkansas and Tennessee that want to get invited out here in another sport. But nobody seems interested in inviting them."

With the enforcement of the travel rule, that might change.

The way it should be--The torch above the Coliseum has long been extinguished. Indeed, the Olympic torch will soon begin its long journey to Seoul, South Korea, for the 1988 Summer Games.

But the glow from the '84 Los Angeles Games continues to brighten the lives of local amateur athletes.

The Board of Directors of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles recently awarded $59,018 in grants to four Valley youth sports organizations.

Of that amount, $38,528 went to the Minkey Field Hockey Program, which has created a four-year program for youngsters in elementary schools in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley and Camarillo.

Thirteen schools already are participating, seven more are being added this month and, by the third year it is hoped 60 schools, comprising 4,200 youngsters, will be involved.

The rest of the grant money went to the following organizations: the Conejo Hockey Club Inc. for equipment for a beginners' program for youngsters 4 to 8 years old, $10,490; the Las Virgenes Soccer Club in Agoura Hills, $5,000; and the Encino Baseball Inc., also $5,000.

The Amateur Athletic Foundation, using surplus money from the '84 Games, has dispensed more than $20 million to youth sports.

Seems silly now, doesn't it, all that criticism of the L. A. Games for its crass commercialism?

The way it should never be--The Cal State Northridge basketball team can finally get hot--if not on the court, at least on the bench.

During the holidays, the Matador players' idea of a fast break was to get out of the locker room before they froze.

It seems that every year, to save money during the two-week vacation when the campus is largely deserted, the heat is shut off. For those buildings that are deserted, that's just plain common sense. But not for the library, the gymnasium and other areas where regular activities continue during vacation.

Northridge swim Coach Pete Accardy had to pull his team out of a meet because the CSUN pool, which also was unheated, was unfit for practice.

The temperature inside the gym during basketball games dropped into the 40s, creating unpleasant conditions for both player and fan alike.

And this is a school that wants to join Division I?

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