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athletic support by eli cranor

Athletic Support: Pregame music offensive
February 21, 2021

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Please use the “Contact” page at to send in questions for “Athletic Support.”

Dear Athletic Support: My wife and I recently travelled to a nearby town for the boys’ conference basketball tournament. All of our children are grown but we still enjoy watching the games, especially when it comes time for the postseason. These were the first high school basketball games we’d been able to make it to this year (blame COVID!) but once we got seated for the pregame warmups, I was appalled by the music. Yes, I’m in my sixties, but I grew up with Rock and Roll! In other words, I’m used to music that pushes boundaries. The music at this tournament, however, wasn’t even music. It was downright nasty. Lewd and crude. I felt embarrassed just sitting next to my wife. I can’t imagine how some of the parents with younger children felt. Are there some sort of rules regarding what music is played at high school sporting events? I sure hope so!

— Rock N' Roll

Dear Rock N' Roll:When I played football in Sweden, they blared uncensored music from the speakers before every game. I always guessed there was a language barrier but still found it shocking to see little kids running around the bleachers while f-bombs reigned down from the stadium’s PA system.

Hopefully, the music at this tournament was at least censored, right? If not, I imagine the superintendent has already received a barrage of calls.

When I was coaching, I let my players choose the music for warmups. This seemed to really get them pumped up before the game, but it also came with certain risks. Players sometimes forgot to download the “clean” versions, and the results were, well, shocking.

I know, I should’ve previewed the playlist beforehand, but honestly the pregame music was the last thing on my mind during a game week, which is probably true for most coaches.

Nevertheless, the coach is the one who makes the final call in regard to the pregame music. He’s tasked with choosing music the kids will enjoy and music the parents will also think is appropriate, which is just as hard as it sounds.

Dear Athletic Support: I’ve been a college basketball fan for what seems like forever, but I think I missed something. I was watching a game the other night and noticed a semi-circle beneath the basket. Do you have any idea what this is for? —Keith (Joplin, Missouri)

Dear Keith: That semi-circle is called the “restricted area,” and it’s the area where place a player cannot draw a charge.

At its core, the restricted area is a safety precaution. It prevents defenders from hanging out under the goal and trying to draw charges, which could end up cutting the legs out from under an offensive player driving to the basket.

The rule was implemented in the NBA for the 1997-98 season, and then introduced to men’s college basketball in the 2010-11 season. So you’re only about ten years late to the “restricted area” show!

Previous 2021 Columns:
Fouls in girls basketball
Red Shirting
Coach makes political post
7th grade girls basketball woes
Multi-million-dollar buyouts don’t make sense
Private schools have the upper hand
Best of 2020

Athletic Support Columns 2020

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If you end up purchasing this book for your children or grandchildren, I only have one final suggestion — ask them to read it while standing up!

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"Eli Cranor has an almost unbeatable advantage. He can remember how it felt to think like a twelve-year-old and he can see the very same events like the adult he is. Don't try to resist this book!"
- Jack Butler, Pulitzer-Prize nominated author

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