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Let's Look at Basketball Tournaments Differently

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So it’s no secret that I will be attending the 2014 Diamondhead Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii. It isn’t a secret because I feel the need to subtly point it out at every chance I get. OK it isn’t subtle. Shut up about it. I’m going to Hawaii and you are not.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

But how can we make this a fun tournament? Let’s strip away the actual games, and the beaches, and the umbrella drinks, and the… wait, what were we talking about?

At any rate, I have an idea to improve these early season tournaments, and all tournaments really. And rivalry games. And basically everything else about college basketball. Bear with me (not to be confused with "Bear Down," which Kyle Ringo believed originated with Rich Rodriguez, because he knows nothing about everything. It’s on the goddamn basketball court for god’s sake).

Anyway, a fun thing to do for these tournaments would be for each team to issue commemorative pins for the tournament. So, I could buy a bunch of "CU 2014 Diamondhead Classic" pins. Or CU specific Charleston Classic pins. Or whatever the hell that trash tournament we made last year was called.

Then we take those pins to the tournament, and trade them with fans of the other teams in the tournament. I would trade a CU Diamondhead pin for an Ohio Diamondhead pin. Because that’s fun, and the point.

Say CU created a special pin for season ticket holders, another for the Diamondhead Classic, another for the Pac 12 tournament, and another for the NCAA tournament (hope!). Fans who fit the bill could buy those pins and then trade them with fans of other schools at those places, adding to their collections. Maybe a special commemorative pin if you go to all the home games, as an incentive to leave your house on a Saturday afternoon to go see the Northern Colorado Bears. Isn’t that fun? Let sponsors make their own pins and sponsor trading rooms on site. "Come get the AT&T Pac 12 Tournament pin at the Coca-Cola trading suite inside MGM Grand." Or whatever. Who cares.

We did this when I was coaching little league baseball and went to the national championships. Half the time was playing ball and the other half was trading pins with the other teams. We all competed to have the best looking pins. We were getting 2 to 3 opposing team pins for one of ours. It’s also been done at the Olympics and World Cup soccer.

Thus, you create some interest among really big fans who love to collect things on behalf of our universities. At the Pac 12 tournament, I could trade, say, 2 CU Diamondhead Classic pins and a Wichita State for Ucla, Wisconsin, and UAB Battle 4 Atlantis pins. Trade one 1997 NCAA pin for like 5 random Arizona pins (in our make believe reality, there have always been pins. Or just sell them off on eBay to degenerate weirdos. I for one would love to see what my towel looks like after the Diamondhead, Ucla, Arizona, and the Pac 12 tournament (um, because you capture your pins on a towel). It would take a coordinated effort to get this going (looking at you, ), but it would be enormously fun. It could be a mild fund raising opportunity (both by selling pins and selling the opportunity to make them to sponsors) and a way to galvanize your fanbase.

The best thing about sports is that it brings people- strangers- together to support and commiserate around a commonality. Whether that's someone you meet on twitter dot com or SB Nation who also loves the CU Buffs, or the guy next to you at the bar who happens to be the one Lakers fan who isn't a pompous ass while you watch the far superior Clippers. Sports brings us together. When I was in Las Vegas for the Oklahoma State game, there were fans of CU, Okie Lite, Marquette, New Mexico (the other two participants), and the Las Vegas Bowl teams (BYU and USC I think). Trade pins with all of those people. We are all there for the same reason- because we all share an irrational love of watching players who represent us do so at a high level that we could only hope to replicate. It is our shared commonality, so we should nurture that and help it grow. Who wouldn't love to do this? Present yourself.