|Volume XXIX Issue 15||January 23, 2002|
Behind the game: Class travels to
experience the history of womenís sports
Kristin Simonetti - Reporter
Few Elon students can claim that they stood on the hallowed ground of the basketball court at Thompson-Boling Arena. In fact, even less probably know actually what Thompson-Boling Arena is, where it is located and why it is in any way significant to the average American. Ten Elon students could tell you.
As part of "The History of Women in Sport," the Winter Term class created and led by Elon head volleyball coach Sue Leonard, traveled to Knoxville, Tenn., during the beginning days of semester to learn about the history of womenís basketball and its modern-day heroes.
This is the third year Leonard has taught this course. In past years, the class taken a five-day trip to the Womenís Basketball Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Forced to plan a shorter trip, Leonard chose Knoxville as the destination for this yearís class.
"Womenís basketball really had so much more relevance to this class," Leonard said. "And itís close."
Arriving early in the afternoon Jan. 8, students had the opportunity to tour the three-year-old Womenís Basketball Hall of Fame in downtown Knoxville. From the pseudo-locker room, where guests can watch the greatest womenís basketball coaches give halftime speeches, to the ring of fame, featuring over 50 enshrined jerseys.
The museum lived up to its billing as one of the most interactive in the nation. But the studentís favorite area of the museum had to be the downstairs playground, where they shot hoops on a real "basket," a modern basket and practiced drills.
"Itís a museum completely devoted to womenís basketball," class member Sarah Farley said. "Itís special because of that."
That evening the students arrived at Thompson-Boling Arena,
home to the six-time national champion University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Leonard said it was important for the students to visit this national symbol of womenís basketball triumph. "To see a top, premier basketball team and see what they do is very relevant to this class," she said. "Itís so impressive."
The Lady Volunteers soundly defeated the Old Dominion Lady Monarchs with the aid of team stars Michelle Snow and Kara Lawson, as well as the teamís legendary coach Pat Head Summitt. Following the game, students had the opportunity to go on the court and meet a few of the players. Leonardís students thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
"It was impressive how many people were there, considering it was a womenís game," Erin Flynn said. "Itís starting to be considered seriously. You can see how womenís sports are advancing."
The following morning, they had an opportunity few can claim to have: the privilege of a tour of the Lady Volunteersí locker room. "The coolest thing was the tradition pole," Flynn said, referring to a large padded cylinder adorned with the UT Lady Vols logo and signed by all the graduated members of the Lady Vols.
Underclassmen are not permitted to touch the
pole until graduation,
and they face consequences at the hands of Coach Summitt upon infringement. From the oak lockers, spacious showers and fully-stocked Coca-Cola fridge to the pool table, leather couch, big-screen TV and glimmering trophy cases, the Lady Volunteers enjoy all the spoils of their victories.
Students explored the court and athletic center, meeting and talking with Lawson in the process. The trip proved an enjoyable and educational experience for the students, who returned to Elon with stories and pictures to share that afternoon.
The trip to Knoxville will be unforgettable to many students in the class, and made many realize the strength of character women in sports possess. "It was the highlight [of the class]," Flynn said.
|Print Advertising Staff Info Contact Info||
Elon University Pendulum © 2003