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Thursday, April 06, 2006

Real VT: Basketball Online

Dscf4541Vermont doesn't have any big name pro sports teams, but it's about to get a pro basketball team. Sports Illustrated contributor and Cornwall, Vermont, resident Alexander Wolff is organizing an ABA team dubbed the Vermont Frost Heaves. The Frosties? Heaves? will play at the Aud in Barre and at Memorial Auditorium in Burlington.

You've probably heard Wolff on VPR or seen him in the news. He's been at this awhile. One of the interesting little twists in this tale is that he's using the Internet to engage fans in his quest to put the team together. Says the Frostbite's website:

As the Frost Heaves' founder, Wolff will file regular, insider dispatches to Sports Illustrated and si.com about the birth and life of the team. Any fan who joins the Bump in the Road Club will get those updates by e-mail, and can vote over the Internet on select team matters. Eventually play-by-play of Frost Heaves games will be streamed over the Web, so people all over the world can follow every twist in the team's fortunes.

The Frost Heaves model is built for both the 21st century and Vermont: part reality series, part high-tech demonstration project, part New England town meeting, part local hero. In other words, a lot more than your typical pro basketball team.

On Monday, Wolff is letting b-ball fans vote on the Heave-ho's coach. To receive a ballot via email, you need to sign up for the Bump in the Road club. In an email, Wolff says fans will probably have 48 hours to vote once the ballots go out. Gotta be signed up by 3 pm Monday to participate.

April 6, 2006 at 01:00 PM in Real VT | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 13, 2006 12:00:06 PM


Not only do I doubt an ABA league team will be well enough supported to sustain it in this region of the state for various reasons, but mostly I cannot understand why anyone thought the name picked for the team was the one to go with.

When they play poorly and, whatever few fans they manage to draw take to wearing bags on their heads whenever attending their games, I can imagine the press and blogs within the region will be calling them something along the lines of the frozen pukes, ..., etc.

Maybe when they are dying on the vine and, someone else buys the current owner(s) out and takes the team over, they will have the insight and wisdom enough to change its name.

If I am proven wrong, fine; yet, among other things concerning this team that leave me wondering, I still think the selection of the name was not very well thought out.

Posted by: mwb | Apr 6, 2006 3:15:34 PM

hmmm, or on second thought: ...

Frigid Pukes

Yeah, cold hearted, I know. :-) [smile]

Posted by: mwb | Apr 6, 2006 6:46:46 PM


Just had another thought, this one about the bump in the road motto, which will likely be taken by some -- including the other ABA teams and their fans as well as some within the press/media -- as only helping to define the team as being (potential) road kill, especially if and when other teams run all over them on the court.

Let's hope not, huh.

Posted by: mwb | Apr 6, 2006 7:36:12 PM

Morgan, you're on fire, man!

Posted by: cresmer | Apr 6, 2006 7:46:13 PM

I interviewed Alex a few months ago and he has some awesome ideas for the team. As he put it, he will be playing in the "dumpy old arenas" that many find nostalgic. He wants to do all sorts of insane promotions, and I really think the team will do well next season. Having the fans pick the coach is just awesome. It goes back to "grassroots basketball", and I think fans will really get into this team.


Posted by: Chris Fells | Apr 7, 2006 8:53:35 AM

I don't know if they'll be successful or not but based upon the Mountaineers success, I think they have a good shot. People love community oriented activities and this will fit that bill.

I'm curious what else they'll let us vote on. Uniforms? Player Acquisitions? Starting Line-ups? Regardless, it should be a hoot.

Posted by: Murf | Apr 7, 2006 12:28:28 PM

When I talked to Alex he said he wants to involve the fans in all aspects of the running of the team. From my understanding, this does include player aquisitions, but not starting lineups. It would be hard to get a coach if he thought the fans were doing his job.


Posted by: Chris Fells | Apr 7, 2006 5:36:41 PM

Within my initial comment post above, I wrote: ... If I am proven wrong, fine; ...

Even though the season is quite young and, I also have not seen them play in person as of yet and, while I still retain my previously stated reservations about the choice of the team name (although I understand the reasoning behind such and the right of the team owner/founder to name the team whatever they want to), I am happy to admit that it seems the Vermont Frost Heaves organization and team are proving me wrong thus far (at least as it regards my posted comments about how the team might perform and how much support they would actually have over the long term) and, I hope they continue to do so.

Just by way of explanation, some of the matters of concern I had with the team at the time in a very general sense (especially given I knew absolutely knew nothing about the team or the ABA league they play within, not knew what to expect from the owner or the organization), included how well the players would be treated, if they would be paid enough as well as also having good health care and other benefits. In addition, high up among my concerns was about what would be done for them in regards to decent and affordable housing during their season -- both in terms of housing them and any family who may reside with them in the area, but also so as not to further put a strain on what affordable housing may be available in the region, especially given such a tight and expensive market exists already.

Too often people in the area do not bother to think about such things when a team may be coming into the area and, I think it is always crucial to not only think about such things, but to debate and -- even more importantly -- make sure these matters are appropriately addressed.

Of course, at the time I posted my comments and though I considered airing some of them, it was way too late in the game to bring them up and I figured there would be those who are so rabid about sports as well as the promise of any economic benefit to the host communities may be that not many would care enough anyway, etc.

While I still have these concerns and, also am waiting to see how things continue to flush out regarding them (as I was when I kept quiet on these concerns when I posted my earlier comment about the team), I have heard team owner Alex Wolff make certain comments addressing some of these, so it appears he is at least aware and talking about such matters.

It will take time to see just what happens about them in one fashion or another.

These concerns will not take a backseat for me, yet I think I am beginning to become a fan of the team all the same, even if a cautious and concerned one.

My apologies for the lengthy comment post, but thank you for allowing me to share some of my thoughts on the subject.

Posted by: mwb | Nov 17, 2006 3:43:16 PM

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