Skip to main content

Soccer Poet



Photo by Mitchell Anderson

As promised, the Belmont story has wings. Today CNN’s Headline News ran this segment. But the report that must have a battle-weary Belmont brass wondering where exactly the wheels came off was Tuesday’s story from Nashville Scene that proposed this little gem:

Belmont University may have been founded by… (wait for it)… (honestly couldn’t make this up if I tried)… LESBIANS.


Man. Talk about your all-time backfires.

In a 1996 article, Nashville Scene reported that Belmont’s founders were Isa E. Hood and Susan L. Heron, whom historians have suggested were lesbians.

Ida E. Hood and Susan L. Heron are buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in a grave with a double marker. Documents and papers found in the Nashville Room of the public library paint a picture of two lifemates who very likely shared much more than a devoted ‘friendship.’ (One oft-repeated antecdote tells of the two women daily pushing the sofa in front of the door when it came time for their afternoon nap.

The Scene felt obliged to remind its readers about that little tidbit of research. Of course there’s plenty of speculation weaved into the Scene’s theory and no discernible proof, but again Belmont finds itself in an impossible spot. The recent wave of bad publicity has had Belmont’s P.R. department burning the midnight oil, espousing a campaign of tolerance in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding. The enlightened stance of a kinder, gentler Belmont was hammered home when university president Dr. Bob Fisher (who has probably spent the last few sleepless nights wishing he’d never heard of soccer) declared that Belmont seeks to be a “safe and welcoming place for all.”

That stance, laudable as it may be, prohibits Belmont from even questioning the veracity of the Scene’s story. Because why would they? If the university’s stance of tolerance is to be believed, then they wouldn’t care whether or not the story was true or false. So the powers-that-be just have to sit there wondering exactly how much further down they have to go to hit rock bottom, waiting for this to all go away. It’s straight out of Seinfeld. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The bottom line is that the university’s actions regarding Coach Howe a week and a half ago are incongruent with the message they’ve been trying to sell ever since. I don’t care who you have writing your press releases, when words don’t match actions you’ve got yourself a problem. And wow, do they ever have themselves a whopper.

You know, this all reminds me of some sage advice I got many years ago:

There are two steps necessary to climb out of a hole you’ve dug. Step #1 is to stop digging.

Until Belmont does that, Step #2 just doesn’t matter.