Friday, November 18, 2005

dribble, dribble

After three and a half years in Knoxville, today was my first time inside the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The reason for my visit was a ceremony to mark the start of this year's Salvation Army bell ringer campaign. While there, I got to meet the lovely Stacy McCloud from WVLT-TV, who broadcast live from the event.

The ceremonial first coins were dropped into the Salvation Army kettles by the UT Lady Vols and Mayor Bill Haslam. Lady Vols basketball is a big deal here, almost as big as college football. Come to think of it, the way the Vols are playing football lately, women's basketball may be a bigger deal this year.

With the local popularity of the Lady Vols, it always surprised me to hear that the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame doesn't attract as many visitors as hoped. Before the event today, I took a quick look around. Maybe the people who run the Hall don't want to seem like homers but I didn't see all that much Lady Vols stuff in there. It looked like there was a lot more space devoted to Moore's All American Red Heads than the Lady Vols.

Next spring the coach of the archrival UConn Huskies will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He's as popular around here as Steve Spurrier. I don't know how many locals will be flocking to see the Geno Auriemma exhibit.

Perhaps the Hall of Fame could attract more fans by putting up a statue of the WNBA's biggest fan, Rosie O'Donnell. There might be a precedent. One of the sculpture figures I saw today bore a suspicious resemblance to Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation CEO Gloria Ray.
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