I recently had a discussion with a Lions Club member regarding the selections for this year's Gold Medal basketball tournament. I was informed that the selections were already made and was surprised to find out that the Tenakee Tribe basketball team was not selected.
I would like an explanation on how the selections were made, and on what merits? In previous years, a team was not considered for invite if they lost two games in a row. Another consideration was how the teams placed in their local recreation leagues.
I was told that a team from Tacoma was selected over in-state teams. I was told that the Sitka squad was having difficulty in fielding a team. They have a history of being out in two (Editor's note: Sitka American Legion Post 13 was the two-time defending champion before Tenakee Tribe beat Sitka in the 2001 title game). Tenakee Tribe won the championship the first year they played, and came in third last year. Marlintini's did not win the championship in the Parks & Rec. league this year, but they automatically got an invite.
I think records will show that the A division did not, until Tenakee Tribe entered the picture, bring in a crowd to fill the gymnasium for their games. This ought to have some merit for due consideration of an invitation.
Basketball fans that come year after year to Gold Medal also see this tournament as an opportunity for families to get together and to visit old friends and make new friends.
I really feel that the selection committee just is not being fair to those teams that work hard all winter preparing for Gold Medal, and then not get an invitation. I realize that there are more teams than slots, but I don't agree with going outside of Alaska to bring in my teams. I do hope that teams are selected based on ability and not for personal reasons.
We were required to submit a letter of interest. I think that a response to that letter would show sincerity on Gold Medal's part. It takes a lot of time for preparation to bring a team together, including securing uniforms, gym time, meals and housing during the tournament.
John Martin Sr.