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There’s Room For One Sportswriter In A Van Of Women

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on November 23, 2007

Doc’s Note: This is the latest in a series of columns on sports at Crichton. These columns will appear regularly until the end of the school year.

Over the course of the last three years, the city of Nashville, Tennessee has been a constant thorn, if not presence, in my life.

It was the city in which I almost ended up facing the law in Metro Nashville for going on an outburst that would have made Mike Gundy proud.

Where I came oh-so-close with my friend Kasi three years in a row, most notably when I watched the St. Louis Cardinals shock the world in the 2006 World Series.

And infamously, the home of the Tennessee Cheesecake Company, the company where I sold cheesecake for two months prior to coming to Crichton College.

But nothing would be anything like the trip I made to Nashville to watch Crichton continue their winning ways against Fisk University on Monday night.

Since I started on Friday morning as the basketball manager, I wanted to wait until the next road trip to Little Rock on Wednesday to flex my muscles behind the bench.

But a very attractive twist of fate happened when one of Crichton’s biggest basketball fans, Kenisha Banks, introduced me to one of her friends that ironically attends Vanderbilt University.

“Tell her what you do,” she said to me.

“I’m a columnist for TNB,” I said, “not only that, I’m also the basketball manager.”

“Why are you not with the team?” my friend Jasmine asked me.

“Because I wanted to attend one more game as fan,” I replied.

What I thought would be a mixture of guys and girls attending the game, would turn into something that was similar to my trip to Nashville in 2005 when I went to my then-job at Porter-Leath’s Children Center to Nashville for various service projects.

This time, there wasn’t any flamboyant guys rooming with me that I had to cuss out for being a pain, just the company of a dozen girls, most notably the namesake of the award I give on TNB for the upset of the week in college football.

Our first 80 miles or so on the way up to Nashville for me was a perfect opportunity to get to know Kenisha’s friend by breaking the ice as I spent much of our time in Madison County asking various questions about her and trying to think of ways to tune out everything Kenisha was saying.

When we stopped on the outskirts of Jackson, in some industrialized area in east Madison County at a gas station, I went on a hunt for a 1-liter Coke for thirst.

“We don’t have any,” the nice lady said to me.

Defeated, I ended up getting a 20 oz. in the interim and the same question from my friends whenever I pop open a Coke.

“Why do you drink so many Cokes?” Jasmine asked me.

“Because I can,” I replied.

Later on, as we entered Williamson County, my friend Brittanee asked me about the hills of Middle Tennessee and why there was lights on top of them.

“People live in houses on top of them,” I said, “All of the mountains are further down the road towards Chattanooga.”

“So there’s no mountains?”

“No,” I said.

We arrive in Davidson County about 40 minutes before tipoff and in another scene similar to when I went my then-job to Nashville two years ago when they drove my boss and me up the wall, we ended up getting off Interstate 40 two exits ahead of the exit we were supposed to get off on.

So instead of making it easy for us to get to Fisk, we instead use the streets of West Nashville to get to Fisk and although it took the grace of God for us to make to the campus, we still couldn’t find the gym.

On our way back down Jackson Street, which runs through the middle of Fisk’s campus, we stopped a lady who was walking down the street and asked her where the gym was.

Instead of getting to the point, she ends up telling us her entire life story, including how she found God and was Luther Vandross’ longtime girlfriend.

Despite this, we still managed to find the gym, which if not for the campus, would could easily pass for a creaky old factory in the middle of the inner-city.

After saving all of my sanity and voice to deal with Kenisha’s singing and Brittanee doing her best Tom Joyner impersonation with the CDs we were listening to on our way to and from Nashville, the whole experience of traveling with them was nonetheless an enjoyable one.

Too bad we didn’t stop on Alabama Avenue for some cheesecake from the Wilson family.

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