Sports Commentary 12/22
Scott on the streak and those before them….
I can remember as a young boy sitting at my great grandfather’s knee, drawn into his eloquence as he spoke of his youth. A college professor, he grew up in post war rural Kansas. Post Civil War, during a time when Jesse James was still the most famous celebrity in the territory. I remember his favorite song, “Danny Boy”, and how it brought tears to his eyes. My great granfather didn’t live long enough for us to have an adult conversation but I have always felt connected to his life and the history it encompassed. Through him I felt a kinship with ol’ Jesse himself every time I strapped on the Roy Rogers six guns my folks gave me for Christmas when I was six years old. Maya Moore probably never met Audrey Epstein, but she embraced Audrey, a member of Geno Auriemma’s first UConn team, when she basked in a moment of glory shared by hundreds of people over nearly three decades. “A lot of people come to mind who have contributed to this program”, said the senior All American after the UConn Huskies won their eighty ninth straight game last night at the XL Center, “It’s just great to have that be shown to the world the way it has.” Maya is the player who sets the standard for women’s basketball players today, a standard by which players who have been part of past UConn national championship teams would not even be on Auriemma’s recruiting radar today. “Competitiveness”, said Auriemma, paraphrasing the great UCLA men’s coach John Wooden, who’s teams of the early seventies held the record his team had just broken, “Is having the ability to be your absolute best when your best is needed”. Geno was talking about Maya Moore. Moore had not yet been born when Kerry Bascomb signed a letter of intent with UConn. Bria Hartley, the freshman with ice water in her veins who came of age against Baylor last month and started the Huskies on their way to win number eighty nine last night, had yet to be born when Bascomb played her final game as a Husky. It was when Kerry Bascomb called Geno to tell him she was coming to Connecticut that he realized something special was about to begin. Moore and Hartley probably never met Kerry Bascomb, the player who laid the cornerstone for what happened last night in Hartford, but both embraced her. “It’s a great honor to be part of this team”, said Hartley, “All five of us freshman take some ownership in this team now.” Tiffany Hayes, along with Moore, the only players to play in all eighty nine games of the streak, probably never met Kathy Ferrier or Debbie Baer, the associate athletic director at St. Joseph’s College in West Hartford. Kelly Faris probably never met Kris Lamb or Laura Lishness. Lorin Dixon and Heather Buck have probably never met Tammi Sweet or Stacey Wetzel. Caroline Doty, Samarie Walker and Lauren Engeln have probaby never met Orly Grossman or Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gedney and Michala Jackson and Stephanie Dolson have probably never met Pam Weber, Meg Murray or Renee Najarian, but this morning they, and all of their UConn basketball sisters, stand on the same mountain top, sharing a view no college basketball players have ever seen before. With a comment from the sports world, I’m Scott Gray.