Only rarely have I ever looked forward to a game more than my beloved UConn women’s basketball team going up against Mississippi State in this year’s March Madness semis. After all, one of our school’s alumnae, Chinwe Okorie, played for MSU and was likely to get significant playing time. It would be wonderful to root her on as well as my own favourite team. I confess, though, I was a little jittery as to how UConn would do. At one point in the season, MSU had been ranked #2, and they were the only highly ranked team UConn had not yet faced. I felt in my bones that, if anyone was going to stop UConn in this tournament, and I knew that was possible, MSU had perhaps the best chance.
Here is a comprehensive list of all the NCAA basketball programs besides the UConn women’s side that have ever won 100 straight games:
Not only is the feat unprecedented, but also they have kept it going in a year where few people if any predicted they would maintain this level of dominance. Their top three players - who just happened to also be the first three players taken in the WNBA draft, a feat that is also unprecedented - had graduated, and while this year’s group certainly had talent, they were seen as a young team due for what passes as a rebuilding year at UConn.
'There have been so many wonderful moments in the 2016 Olympics, and in particular this seems to be a year in which women’s accomplishments are garnering a lot of well-deserved attention. My Twitter feed has been exploding with news celebrating medals and achievements not just in prime time sports like gymnastics, swimming, track, beach volleyball, and more, but also in wrestling, rugby, boxing, actual volleyball... and more. Every two years, our screens, papers, and magazines fill up with images of strong, confident women achieving at levels most of us can’t even conceive of reaching, and it’s a wonderful, moving, and inspiring sight to see.
Whatever you might have thought of the Super Bowl, at least it's a chance for the people of Seattle to celebrate their first championship in pro sports in 35 years, right?
As many of you may know, and to no one’s surprise who follows women’s basketball, Brittney Griner, a 6’8” Senior from Baylor, was the first player to be chosen in the 2013 WNBA draft and will play for the Phoenix Mercury. With only three rounds and only 12 teams drafting, very few players are invited to attend in person, but of course Ms. Griner was there, all smiles, in a white tuxedo.
Two days later, during the course of an interview with “Sports Illustrated,” Ms. Griner was asked why she felt sexuality was no big deal in women’s sports. She responded, “I really couldn't give an answer on why that's so different. Being one that's out, it's just being who you are.” Asked if making the decision to come out had been difficult, she said, “It really wasn't too difficult, I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that. I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So, it wasn't hard at all.” Though the interview received a fair amount of attention on social media, it received attention more for the low-key “no big deal” feeling to the moment than for the news itself. As Wesley Morris said in his article “Brittney Griner and the Quiet Queering of Professional Sports,” “Maybe it was amazing for its utter whateverness.”
Filed Under: Brittney Griner, Middle School, women in sports, gender, Sports, gender stereotypes, athletics, On Education, Bill Ivey, Beautifully different, Gay-Straight Alliance, On Athletics, Acceptance, diversity, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education
You could say I was frustrated. On the way home from Virginia on Sunday, April 7, at a gas station near Scranton, I had downloaded first the CBS Sports app and then the ESPN Sports app, but was unable to tune in to the UConn – Notre Dame game. Baseball, NBA, and discussions about baseball and the NBA – and men's college basketball – abounded across my virtual dial. However, nowhere could I find a live broadcast of the women's Division-I basketball semi-final game even though it featured one of the premier rivalries in sports.
Shaking my head, I sent out a general tweet asking my friends to keep me informed of the half-time and final scores, started up my car, and got back on the road. Jeremy Deason, our former Athletic Director, and Susie Highley, a middle school teacher friend from Indiana, would both oblige, updating me every 10 basketball minutes or so. I knew Liz Feeley, our Director of Development and a former Notre Dame coach, had been nervous with excitement and anticipation all day, and I decided if only one of us was to be able to experience the game firsthand, it should be her. She must have been experiencing her own frustration, though, since Notre Dame ended up falling to UConn by nearly 20 points, a highly atypical margin from two teams who had produced a one-point game, a triple-overtime game, and a two-point game over the course of the season (all three games going to Notre Dame).
When I click out of my Yahoo! email, I often scan to see if there's a news item that interests or intrigues me. The other day, I was shocked and outraged to learn of the existence of something called the "Bikini Basketball Association" through an article entitled: "Deion Sanders' daughter joins the Bikini Basketball League (sic) despite her dad being 'kind of upset'."
For January 1, 2000, my mom and stepdad helped our family assemble a time capsule which we would open exactly 20 years later. Among other things, we were asked to respond to a list of questions about our favourite things. For my favourite sports team, after some thought, I put the SBS varsity basketball team. My son's sports career had not yet begun, and after years of running the scoreboard for home games, I felt a deep connection to the program.
The hills up into Conway are starting to feel a little longer than I would like, and I can feel my leg muscles straining to keep the pace I've set, a little faster than I would normally choose. But I dig deep and force myself to keep going, maybe even step up the pace slightly. "You don't get to the Olympics by giving up on yourself," I tell myself. Eventually, I'm at the spot about two miles out where the road flattens out a bit before finally giving way to a longer downhill, and I enjoy a brief moment of exhilaration as my body shifts into cruise control.
It's Sunday morning, February 5, and my Twitter feed is bursting with sports news and opinions. Most are about the Super Bowl, of course, and then, somewhat less mainstream, there's the one from Talib Kweli which links to an Atlantic article by Max Fisher on "Why Thousands of Iranian Women Are Training to Be Ninjas."
Filed Under: Middle School, women in sports, Grades 7-12 and PG, gender, Connecticut Sun, athletics, On Education, Boarding and Day, Ninjutsu, Boston Celtics, On Athletics, All Girls Education, Women's Professional Soccer, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education