The latest film released by ESPN, as part of its new “30 for 30” series, centered around a topic all too familiar with Springfield College.
The film There’s No Place Like Home was released Tuesday, following the journey of Josh Swade, die-hard Kansas fan, hoping to obtain the original rules of basketball, written by James Naismith.
Naismith invented the game on the Springfield campus, but shortly after was hired by the University of Kansas and became the school’s first basketball coach. Kansas has always embraced the game, becoming one of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball. Although Naismith ended his coaching career at Kansas with a losing record, the court bears his name and Lawrence, KS became his home.
Throughout the film Swade is captivated with the thought of bringing his alma mater one of the ultimate treasures in sports, the original rules of basketball. In order to do so, he must – in a short amount of time – get KU boosters to donate money to win the rules as part of an auction. If they have the winning bid, Swade can deliver the Jayhawks with something he feels the program, the school and the state of Kansas are entitled to. It’s a campaign to bring the rules home, but the only problem is the game is original rules are probably not best suited there.
For instance, bringing the rules home implies bringing them back to its origin, which would be here on Alden Street. As a Springfield student and Springfield native, it would be nice to have the rules somewhere located in the city.
I feel SC would be the second best option, following the Basketball Hall of Fame, which also is named after Naismith. Realistically the school and the Hall of Fame were never an option. The rules were up for auction and if the school or the Hall had the $3.8 million that Swade and his group used to win the auction, surprised would be just one of my emotions.
The idea that the original rules belong in Kansas seems like a bit of a stretch, however if you watch the film closely it appears that reality and Swade has split up for a long time before the cameras began rolling.
One of the more interesting moments (that’s the nice way of saying it) occurs when Swade visits Naismith’s grave site. He lays up next to it and decides to leave the shirt (which he was wearing) with Naismith’s grave.
The whole time Swade talks about how basketball evolved at Kansas, which is an argument that holds some ground. But to determine that they deserve the rules is tough to persuade me on. I understand Kansas has an incredible following, but so does Kentucky, UCLA, Duke and North Carolina, all of which have as much if not more impressive history than the Jayhawks.
Naismith spent most of his life in Kansas, which is his best argument. But if Swade truly loved the game, the rules would be best served where not just KU fans, but fans of basketball from all over the world can enjoy them.
The rules belong in Springfield, at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside a peach basket. But hey, I can hate on where they are, Swade earned them, he got the $3.8 million to get it and if you can collect that kind of money you can put them wherever you want.