"When I got there again I seen that them men had got in two little-bitty bunches down there real close together, and they voted. They did. They voted and elected one man apiece, and them two men come out in the middle of that cow pasture and shook hands like they hadn't seen one another in a long time.
"Then a convict come over to where they was a-standin', and he took out a quarter, and they commenced to odd man right there! They did! After a while I seen what it was they was odd-manning for. It was that both bunches-full of them men wanted this funny-lookin' little punkin to play with. They did. And I know, friends, that they couldn't eat it because they kicked it the whole evenin' and it never busted."
--Andy Griffith, "What it was, was football"
Introducing two national champions from Arkansas ... Well, the baseball and softball teams still have some work to do yet. But the way the teams are playing, having two national champions on the diamond this year wouldn't surprise.
But that's not the topic today. Today's topic is War Memorial Stadium and two national champions to come.
In a surprise move late last week, the governor of Arkansas and the mayor of Little Rock announced a three-year agreement to bring the National Junior College Athletic Association title games to War Memorial. On June 5, the stadium will host the postponed 2020 title game. And in December, it'll host the NJCAA championship game from the fall season.
And again in 2022 and 2023.
The story in the paper said Little Rock was chosen because it's centrally located among the several states, the downtown offers amenities--which means restaurants and hotels--and the appeal of War Memorial.
If Omaha, Neb., can hold the College World Series every year, if South Williamsport, Pa., can host the Little League World Series every year, if little Augusta, Ga., can host the Masters every year, then why can't Little Rock become the permanent location for junior college championship games?
"We want to make Little Rock the destination teams have their eyes on in August when they get on the field, and the one they want to be at in December," said the NJCAA president, Christopher Parker.
That suits Arkansas just fine, thank you.
It doesn't hurt that the games will be featured on the CBS Sports Network. Maybe on June 5, when there's not much football going on anywhere else, the city could get one of the blimps to visit to give the nation a glimpse of the city from high above.
This is good news for the city and state, and the governor, mayor and tourism officials deserve good news after this past 14 months. So do the rest of us. Somebody strike up the bands.