Friday, August 12, 2011

A holiday hoops classic for women? Let's do it!

Dear Gov. Bob McDonnell:

Congratulations for your efforts in convincing (strong-arming?) the state's best men's basketball teams to square off against each other for Holiday Hoops Classic doubleheaders in 2012 and 2013. Long overdue.

Now that that's out of the way, how 'bout getting started on spearheading a Women's Holiday Hoops Classic? We realize there's probably very little clamor for this, no "they-never-play-us" momentum to drive ticket sales. Heck we may be the only ones asking for it. Doesn't mean we're not onto something. With a little vision - OK, a lot of vision - and some creative marketing, we think it'll develop into a must-be-there event.

Especially if Beyonce takes us up on our offer to headline a concert before the games.

Of course, we're kidding about Beyonce (although it wouldn't hurt to ask, right?). But we do think making the women's classic an event, something bigger, more interactive and more inclusive than just a series of basketball games, is the winning ticket. So we'd shape the women's classic something like:

Virginia Holiday Hoops Classic

What: A four-team, two day event featuring eight of Virginia's 13 Division I teams.

When: A Saturday and Sunday in early December, beginning in 2012

Who's playing?: The top eight teams in average home attendance from the previous year. If there was a 2011 event, the qualifying teams would be Virginia (averaged 3,048 fans in 2010-11), Old Dominion (2,771), James Madison (2,568), Virginia Tech (2,359), Hampton (1,786), George Mason (771), Norfolk State (768) and Liberty (735). The 2012 field would be determined by 2010-11 attendance. As you can see by the totals of the last three teams on that list, every school has a chance to draw enough fans to crack this list.

Where:The event will be hosted by the team that averages the highest attendance the previous year. Virginia would have hosted this year. In 2012, who knows? Charlottesville, Norfolk, Harrisonburg and even Blacksburg all seem like contenders. It's all up to the fans.

The matchups:Determined by online voting to begin the day after the 2011 NCAA Tournament final and continuing for one month. Fans of the eight qualifying schools vote for the non-conference opponent they'd most like to play. The most popular field - subject to logistical adjustments - will be announced at a press conference in early May.

Responsibilities of competing schools

   - Invite one of the past greats from your program to be recognized at the event

   - Hold a talent show at some point during the first semester, with the winner to represent your school during the event;

   - Get a ballcap of the competing team for your school president, and have him/her learn the opposing school's fight song (just in case; more on this later).

As for the event's format, the two-day schedule would break down as follows:


   -  Commonwealth Challenge: One player from each team will compete in skills competition (a timed obstacle course of dribble, shooting and passing), a 3-point shootout and a H-O-R-S-E competition.

   - Meet-and-greet: Fans interact with current players and the past greats. Light refreshments served. DJ pumping music in the background.

   - Virginia Idol: The winner of each of the school's talent contest perform for the Holiday Classic talent title. Judges will be the eight former stars from the competing schools.

   - Music concert: To cap the night off in style. For the first event, we recommend Noelle. She has roots in the state's hoops (we remember her as ex-ODU star Nicole Bellinghausen), and she's just as hot as the divas we see making bank on MTV. Now, if Beyonce accepts our offer, well.... But failing that, we'd be thrilled with Noelle.


The four games, with the first tipoff starting at noon. Each winning team gets a shiny trophy to keep for a year. The losing team has to parade its president to center court, where the prez must put on the ballcap of the winning team and sing that school's fight song.

So there you have it. A little quirky, we'll grant you. But if you think this is out there, you should see our ideas on the state's budget. Anyway, hope this helps you as you kick around ideas about showcasing the state's women's basketball. Good luck, and thanks for reading.

Sincerely yours,



  1. Ladyswish - how about YOU running for governor??? Great idea - hope the governor can see that women's basketball in VA is just as exciting as men's!

  2. I thought the same thing when I read the article making the announcement. Sounds like a great idea!!Lets make it happen.

  3. This is great letter, ladyswish. Hope it will happen! I remembered the Richmond hosting Old Dominion-Virginia game in which OUD ransacked UVa, 80-51 many years ago at Richmond Coliseum in front of 7K spectators. It can happen and it will succeed!