Man, we have a lot of halls of fame here in Maine. Somebody should design a special license plate to commemorate all of them.
Already this year, two more halls of fame have been announced. This past week, the Maine Principals’ Association unveiled the inaugural class of its Hall of Excellence. In March, the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame announced its debut class.
The Hall of Excellence will induct its class on May 20 at the Augusta Civic Center. On Aug. 21, the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame inductees will learn the secret handshake in a ceremony at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Just a few weeks ago, the Maine Sports Hall of Fame inducted a fresh class of immortals in a ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center. That’s a lot of chicken dinners.
It’s understandable if you have hall of fame fatigue, but look at it this way: Maine has been blessed with many excellent athletes and coaches. It’s natural to want to recognize as many of them as possible.
The MPA’s Hall of Excellence honors athletes, coaches and administrators. Among the first class of inductees are David Jeffrey, the dean of Eastern Maine track and field, Peter Webb, the state’s basketball commissioner for the last 25 years, and Dwight Littlefield, the former Valley High School boys basketball coach.
Littlefield coached Valley for three decades, and the next time he raises his voice will be the first time. When he was on the sidelines, Littlefield was as calm as a church. Don’t mistake calm for a lack of intensity. Littlefield loved his players and the game — he just didn’t need to be boisterous to prove it.
A few names seem to pop up with every single one of these halls. Bob Brown won more than 600 games as a high school basketball coach, most recently winning state titles at Cheverus before retiring a few years ago. If there’s a hall of fame in Maine that has anything to do with basketball, Brown deserves a place in it.
Like Littlefield, Brown is also a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. This year, Brown has the distinction of being a member of two inaugural hall of fame classes, joining the MPA’s Hall of Excellence and the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.
Brown should be joined in both by Cindy Blodgett. You know her accomplishments but let’s review them anyway. As a high school player at Lawrence, Blodgett won four Class A state titles and was the best girls basketball player the state has seen. Of that, there is no debate. At the University of Maine, Blodgett was an All-American, led the nation in scoring twice, and led the Black Bears to the NCAA tournament. She’s the best player in the history of UMaine, and the America East Conference. Again, there is no debate.
Blodgett will be inducted into the MPA’s Hall of Excellence later this month. She won’t be a member of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame for a while.
The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame’s requirement for player induction is 20 years after playing days are complete. With that in mind, Blodgett, who ended her college career at the University of Maine in 1998 before a few years in the WNBA, has a long wait.
Twenty years is an insanely long waiting period. The folks at the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame say the number is based on research of halls of fame in other states, but those states got it wrong, too.
I get it. We’re a now-culture that dismisses the past for the newest and latest too often. The folks in charge of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame want to take a more deliberate approach, and that’s reasonable. Ten years would be long enough to make us slow down our collective short attention span and seriously consider candidates for induction.
In the meantime, Blodgett waits for her inevitable call from the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame.
The rest of us wait for the inevitable announcement of another hall of fame.