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2011 YEAR IN REVIEW

Recall: How sports-rich San Antonio could capitalize on fields of battle in 2012

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During the Sweet Sixteen this past March, hordes of blue-shirted University of Kansas fans strutted along the River Walk like Midwestern Huns, having conquered the city for the second time in three years. In 2008 KU won the NCAA Championship here, and so San Antonio was becoming a common pilgrimage site. Then there was women's volleyball in December, and more college fans came along and made the city their own. Point being, this is a sports town, just maybe not one that belongs entirely to the townies. San Antonio's abundance of facilities has led to some interesting semi-near-misses this year. There aren't many towns that can even consider converting a high school football stadium into a professional soccer venue, as Spurs owner SS&E and San Antonio Independent School District are considering at Alamo Stadium. A $515 million bond and two potential teams make the deal pretty sweet — if only they can figure out what to do with that running track! And while consideration is about as far as it's gone — still, that's an embarrassment of riches.

We've got the tourism infrastructure, we've got the super-massive arena. Maybe it's just that San Antonio hasn't found its sporting niche yet. Even Austin managed to get Formula One racing. Monaco, Abu Dhabi, Austin. Since the NFL, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer aren't quite lured by the charms of this tier-one city, perhaps there's need for new kinds of American sport. Maybe our destiny is to bring some of that good old fall-of-Rome depravity back to professional sports. Certainly we're breeding the right kind of player, if the recent Sam Hurd debacle is any indication. The Brackenridge High School grad was a promising wide receiver for the Chicago Bears when he decided to branch out into serious drug-running. If hockey is going to get tame, we'll need something new to ritualize violence.

We could fill the Alamodome with water and stage elaborate naval battles. Lions and Christians. If the NFL and baseball doesn't want San Antonio, neither shall San Antonio covet them. Now is the time for the National Viper-Fencing League, for Major League Trampling, for the National Collegiate Arson Association. When fans come to the city to visit, they should fear the games they've come to love.

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