“You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”
Ricky Nelson may be gone, but that phrase still reigns true today especially for JMU athletics after their reveal of the new basketball court gained some “hideous” remarks from the national media.
The JMU athletics department teased the reveal throughout the first three quarters of Saturday’s football game until it was unveiled minutes into the fourth quarter. The teases acted as a motive to get students to stay longer than they normally would. Unsurprisingly, it failed to work for the apathetic student body that is JMU these days.
The whole design process began back in May when fans had the chance to create their own design and submit it into a pool where others would vote on submissions via Facebook. The original field was narrowed down from 65 to 10 and so on. A successful ploy that got fans thinking about basketball during the off months of the summer. Score one for the Dukes.
The winning submission features two oversized Duke Dog heads on either end of the court along with a standard ‘JMU’ banner across midcourt. Who let the dogs out?
So do I like the new design? No, in reality there’s way too much going on for it to gain my approval aesthetically. Maybe JMU figured any attention would be better than none.
I do like the concept, however. It’s more than just a paint job on the newly installed hardwood floor. A new court means a new slate, literally. It represents a clean palate on which Matt Brady’s new contract and new team can begin etching history. The court is a symbol for what’s to come.
With the construction plans of a new Convo still in the works, a fresh court gives fans something new to look at. It’s not a new multi-million dollar facility, but it may prolong demands for one while the school figures out where all this mess is going to be built and better yet, who’s paying for it.
It all reverts back to the question of whether negative publicity is good or not. In this situation I’m saying yes, it is good. No matter the writer’s view on the court, stories have been published featuring hyperlinks to JMU’s press release, another to the history of the Duke Dog, and the usual tags that direct you to JMU’s page within that organization’s site.
This is good. No, this is great for a program that would still like to ride the wave of attention following their NCAA tournament birth just six months prior. People who didn’t know anything about JMU basketball will know now because of this new court.
At this point in the program’s current state, they still should be taking whatever attention they get and saying thank you. Because for many, these articles will spark up memories of, ‘Hey, I remember JMU in the tourney last year and they had that really good defender… what’s his name…oh, Andre Nation, I think, I wonder if he’s still there? Will JMU be on TV this year?’ A Google search later and the tree of exposure continues to blossom.
Hopefully the oversized Duke Dogs along each baseline will help remind students to chant “go dukes” besides the usual “chicken nuggets.” In February, a conference win means a lot more than whether you save a punch.
Contact Stephen Proffitt at email@example.com.