I have no particular attachment to Pat Summitt or Tennessee women’s basketball. I came of age after Title IX, where women’s sports, if not always culturally or popularly supported, at least had an acknowledged right of existence. The way I understood it during my childhood, Pat Summitt was like any other great coach in her chosen sport; famous, respected, and of course, the architect of teams you never wanted your favorite team to run into in the tournament.
I didn’t know back then, that she started coaching Tennessee before the NCAA Women’s Tournament even existed, for a salary of $250 a month. I didn’t know that the women’s Olympic team she played on, in 1976, was the first ever women’s basketball event at the Olympics. (Seriously, go read her Wikipedia page, it’s like a primer in women’s sports history.) For someone my age, she was just always there, glaring over the court from the sidelines. The media fanfare over her retirement is remarkable because it’s not suprising, simply her due as a prominent figure in her field.
Let’s see, my beloved Sooner women’s basketball team lost a heartbreaker Tuesday, then yesterday there was You-Know-Who to the Jets, oh, and you might remember my boyfriend’s a Saints fan… it’s been a frustrating sports week.
Here are three things making me happy.
1. Brittany Griner and the Baylor Women’s Basketball Team. I suppose I should hate them since they smoked my girls twice this year, but they’ve smoked everyone this year (at 36-0, their margin of victory was in the single digits only 4 times; 3 of those victories were over Tennessee, UConn, and defending champion Texas A&M). The Bears, and star player Brittany Griner, are so good that you can’t help admiring their skill. I know accusing ESPN of bias is nothing new, but let’s just say that if this team had “UConn” on their jerseys we’d be hearing a lot of “Best Women’s Team Ever” talk out of Bristol. Do yourselves a favor and check out one of their tourney games in the next couple of weeks.
Let’s see, Louisville, Florida State, Missouri … was there any major conference tournament where the 1 seed came out on top? And are those results foreshadowing another chaotic NCAA tournament, or just a sign of the top teams saving their best efforts for a national championship run?
You tell us, because the Ladies…Bracket Brawl is back! Just join our Tournament Challenge group (the password is ladiesdotdotdot) and see if you can be the first reader in three years to come out on top. The Ladies are just playing for bragging rights; our readers are playing for their very own guest post. Of course you have to win first. And to win you have to enter a bracket before the games begin on Thursday, March 15.* Just click the link and get started!
*The First Four play-in games, which take place earlier in the week, aren’t included in the brackets. Sorry, that’s just how ESPN sets it up.
It is nearly time for the NCAA tournament, and by extension, the Ladies… Bracket Brawl (look for a sign up post late Sunday). Since my alma mater is on year three of Absolute Hopelessness Where Men’s Basketball Is Concerned*, I like to spend conference tourney week selecting underdogs to root for come March Madness Thursday. I keep hoping that one of these years I’ll pin my hopes on an underdog that becomes a true Cinderella, but as of yet, I always bank on teams of the play-valiantly-but-lose-the-first-weekend variety. So join me on my quest to find this year’s VCU, won’t you?
*It’s a real thing. And extra painful when, immediately before the onset of said Hopelessness, you had Blake Griffin.
Your TV, radio and internets are being bombarded with Year In Review posts and specials as I type this. Well, guess what? It’s no different here at Ladies… We took a few moments this week to reflect on our favourite memories of this past year. Some will be hilariously obvious, others may surprise you. All of them will make you warm and fuzzy, like a delicious flute of champagne.
I waited to post this next ACoH because I didn’t want to adversely affect his last game (shouldn’t have worried) or his Heisman chances (turned out to be a non-factor), or his school’s BCS championship game chances (ditto) and I think we’re far enough away from the Fiesta Bowl that any jinxing will wear off by then. Thus, I present for your enjoyment Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
The Milwaukee Brewers open the NLDS at home this weekend, with games 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday. The #7 Wisconsin Badgers open Big Ten play Saturday night against newbies Nebraska and the defending National Champion Green Bay Packers take on Denver on Sunday.
Unless you live in Boston or New York, you’ve probably never experience the Happy Fan Dance that I’ve practically mastered in the past few days.