Sports in Hoots is a big deal. From traveling softball teams to decade old rivalries between football teams where schools only sit eight miles apart, the sports subculture gives folks something to do and to believe in.
Every once in a while, we get lucky. Chad Clifton, who plays for Green Bay, hails from Hoots Central and many a Hootervillian would drive to Knoxville to see him play during the days of Peyton Manning. Justin Harrell, one of the nicest people you will ever meet, also plays for the Packers and although he has been injury prone, when he is on fire, he’s amazing. He played football and basketball during his high school days.
And now, for the first time in a very long time, UT Martin has a guy that came out of nowhere that is breaking records.
His name is Lester Hudson.
Tomorrow, the Skyhawks will open their basketball season at 11:30 a.m. at the Elam Center. Kids are coming from schools all around the area, getting a day off from studying to see the opening game. Business owners are closing up shop. Parents are chaperoning.
To say it’s a big day is an understatement.
Hudson is the only player ever in NCAA basketball to rack up a quadruple double for the history books. He entered the draft last year for a short while, but opted to return to the Skyhawks. For a little background on Hudson, this story from The Washington Post tells a lot about the player who overcame academic issues to play for the OVC team and here is his ESPN profile.
Hudson has created a great deal of excitement in Hoots. It’s not every day that you get to see a success story in the making. It’s pretty amazing.
As for tomorrow, I will be watching the game with Squirrel Queen, bugging her with bizarre questions and smiling. Smiling is good.
I’m glad that Hoots has something to be excited about. And believe me, the place is buzzing.
Photo : Trevor Ruszkowski