It’s not often that the Sportsfly crew muses on women’s athletics, except to clown or hammer home a point of irrelevance, but today closes the uplifting yet sorrowful saga of North Carolina State Women’s Basketball Coach Kay Yow. Yow’s Hall of Fame career has some amazing stats. 700+ wins. Olympic gold medal coach. Numerous NCAA Tournament appearances. These stats and career moments pale in comparison to her real contribution to humanity.
Yow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and battled the disease over the next 22 years of her life. Yow’s initial response to being diagnosed was to go out and coach the Olympic team in 1988. She beat the disease and continued coaching. In 2004, the cancer returned, yet Yow faced it down again. Indomitable spirit defined Kay Yow’s life experience. In December 2008 Coach Yow took a leave of absence and said she would not return this season. A week later, she checked into the hospital. A week after that she passed away. A fitting farewell to an inspirational figure.
All to often the true essence of sports gets lost. Amongst media blitzes, over-dramaticized hyperbole, and overexposure the nature of sports dwells and unfortunately it takes stories like Kay Yow’s to bring that nature to the fore. Competition breeds internal fire and that fire can be used to succeed, defy odds, perservere through adversity, stand humble in the face of success, and recognize one’s place in the greater scheme. It’s fitting that both Kay Yow and her Wolfpack compatriot, Jim Valvano, lived and taught these principles as they faced an opponent that typically drains the spirit just as much as it drains the body. To the end, Kay Yow remained resolute to not let cancer take her out of the game. On the court she stood, even as her physical self dwindled away. When she finally decided the fight was over, it ended. That is the beauty of free will. Kay Yow was laid to rest today, but her example and teachings resonate.
FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!
If you haven’t heard, the New Jersey Institute of Technology snapped a 51-game losing streak Wednesday night beating the Bulldogs from Bryant. NJIT held the longest losing streak in the NCAA for a team playing a D-1 schedule. This team had not won a game since 2007 and they were celebrating like Marisa Tomei was giving them all lap dances. Coach Jim Engles said, “We deserve this. We deserve to win most of our games, because we work so hard every game. The kids never quit. I’m really happy for them,” Yeah you really deserve it, congratulations you are now 1-18.
Now this story hits real close to home. Being an alumni of the Bryant Bulldogs I received about 12 emails with the same sarcastic wit. They ranged from:
“How bout them Bulldogs”, “That can’t be good for business”, “Bulldogs, more like peeing Poodles” and finally “NJIT beat Bryant? Who the F*** cares!”
First of all, we’re in the rebuilding process. We’ve just become a University and starting playing division 1 schools. I mean we only lost to Maryland by 19 points. Now that’s something we can work on. The sky is the limit, we can only get better from here. Alright, enough with the clichés, I had to get down to the source of it all. So I made a phone call to a friend we once called the Prince of Pawtucket. An alumni of Bryant who not only played hoops but moved like a graceful Acie Earl. His name was Georgie “High Tops”. Since he lived in Rhode Island, I figured he’d have the scoop of what actually went down Wednesday night.
George was out eating some baklava down in Pawtucket when I disturbed him. He quickly turned to code language once I addressed the issue of the Bryant loss. He said, “Yeah I know what went down, it was a business thing.” A business thing…what do you mean? “They paid off the President of Bryant, Bulldogs being a business school…we took a dive.” And there it was. Now it all makes sense. Being new to Division 1, we are paying our dues even if that means giving the worst team in the country a victory. I knew Bryant made dreams happen but never the impossible come true. This compares to the time Barack Obama walked on water in D.C., if you can dream it you can do it. So don’t worry fellow Bryant alumni’s, we’ve only just begun to bring the terror to the D-1 basketball. Remember, anything is possible.
*Bryant President told me to go screw and never call him again when questioned, story probably not true.
OK. 2008 didnt see the Football Huskies tally another National Championship, nor did it showcase the Mariners coming back from 2 games to none to send the Yankees home from the playoffs, or did the Seahawks go undefeated at home en route to another Super Bowl shot….but, what it did provide was a miserable, cellar-dweller, across the board, display of mediocrity from the entire line of Seattle based sports teams. But! I have also spent the last 8 years watching a certain President drive our economy into the ground, pick fights with every country but Canada, and pile-drive the morale of American citizens. And what happened next? HOPE. Yes, hope…as in Barack Obama…as in no more Bush….as in better and more opportunity.
The pieces are in place for the city of Seattle to rise up and bring respectability back to a city of higher standards. Like the Huskies football team, the Seattle Supersonics (remember them), and the Seattle Storm* of the WNBA, we will look at how and why each franchise/college team has a shot at bringing home the gold.
(* means “nobody cares”)
Let’s not forget that the Mariners were fighting for the AL West title just 2 years ago. The only true losses from that team are Raul Ibanez and Jose Guillen, but the youth and the addition of Erik Bedard make this team as talented if not more than ’07. Seattle has the best leadoff man in baseball, has the $$$ to sign Griffey as the DH, an onslaught of talented young catchers and pitchers, highly touted infielders Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez, a charismatic young GM and a new Manager that brings winning experience by way of Oakland and Anaheim (I refuse to play the “Los Angeles of “game). Prediction: 84-78 record, Jeff Clement, Brandon Morrow and Felix Hernandez become All-Stars and the AL West was in reach until Bedard got hurt.
In 3 seasons with Atlanta, Jim Mora Jr. was 26-22 building around the anti-christ to animal rights activists, Vick, and establishing a top running game. Why is this relevant? Mora not only has Hasselback at QB, but has the speedy and creative Seneca Wallace to work with. Seattle also has an army of “C” class RB’s to work, similar to what Mora had in Atlanta, but made successful. The defense boasts Pro Bowlers Patrick Kerney, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu, and Julian Peterson and have all intentions to add a high-profile free agent, probably a safety (Jermaine Phillips, Kerry Rhodes) or DT (Albert haynesworth, Tommie Harris)…, OR, how about bolstering the offense (Fred Jackson, Derrick Ward or maybe T.J Houshmandzadeh)???
The Seahawks boast arguably the best OT in the history of football (Walter Jones) and have a decent rest of O-line, when healthy. The receiving corps clearly needs an upgrade, even without the injuries, fortunately, Seattle has the 5th overall pick…Michael Crabtree! If we cant sign Jackson or Ward as free-agent RB’s, I have no problem with taking Chris Brown of Oklahoma with the 5th pick in the 2nd round. The talent is there, Paul Allen has the money, and the Seattle fans believe…it is all up to Mora to put it all together. Projection: 12-4, loss in the NFC Championship. Seriously.
Washington Huskies – football:
Jake Locker has the running ability, energy and potential leadership ability of Tim Tebow…unfortunately has the passing ability mostly likened to Garo Yepremian. But wait, in comes Steve Sarkisian, the former offensive coordinator and QB coach at USC, having developed Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert, Matt Cassel, John David Booty and Mark Sanchez. Couple this dynamic with WR D’Andre Goodwin, OLB Donald Butler, DT Alameda Ta’amu and a solid Offensive Line, and the Huskies could turn in and 5 to 6 win season.
Washington Huskies – basketball:
As of this moment, the Huskies are 12-3, 2-0 in the Pac-10 and undefeated in 2009. Jon Brockman is a beast down low, and the trio of Isiah Thomas, Justin Dentmon, and Quincy Poindexter get shots up. There is no reason that the Huskies cant make a serious run at the Tournament this year. Projection: 22-9 in regular season (12-6 vs Pac-10), should win 2 games in the Pac-10 tournament (24-10), that is worthy of a 8-11 seed in the NCAA 64. I’ll take it!
All in all, this is a good year. Each team has a reasonable shot to bring home a crown, although my personal projections dont allow any of them to deliver this year…but in 2010, it will happen!
As the year ends, sports viewership continues to rise. With classic moments such as:
-Basketball Rivals Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers Go Head-to-Head
-New York Giants Stomp Unbeaten New England Patriots in the Superbowl
-Nadal Defeats Federer in Five Sets
-Michael Phelps Drowns Swimmers with 8 Medals
Who wouldn’t have wanted to watch male-testosterone, competition based events with sweat, anger and adrenaline? Your significant other you say…? Well, if you missed out on 2008’s greatest moments, you may want to make sure the love of your life is ready for 2009. You sacrificed enough if you missed ANY of the above mentions. Do not let yourself get trapped into the ballet, babysitting or watching chick flicks like Mean Girls.
Follow the steps below and you just might catch some action on the tube…Or live if you’re lucky. Hell, you may even get to go to a Superbowl party early next year if you take this matter seriously.
Barter with Her:
You’re always forced into doing things with her, why can’t she reciprocate? Tighten your belt and voice your thoughts. Spend an evening with her going shopping so she can spend a day with you watching a game. If that doesn’t work, beg to do housework.
Keep Her Comfortable:
If bartering was tough, chances are she’s going to need a lot of time to warm up to the concept of competition. This isn’t drama to see which girl can outdo the other in b*tch@$ness, this is the result of gladiators hard at work. For her first few viewings, make sure you’re in a quiet setting so her ears aren’t pounding from raging drunken men at bars. Allow her to chill and learn the game – Yes, this means you have to explain it to her. Not ideal, but at least she’s open to it now.
Remind Her It’s Quality Time:
Whether you’re watching the game or getting pedicures, in the end it’s quality time that matters. Assure her that you’re not just into the game (even if you are) and that you would like the best of both worlds…As would she.
Watch Eye Candy Sports:
Let’s face it, women love fantasizing about men just as much as we love wet dreams of XXX models – The only difference is their fantasies are more likely to happen. Ask your significant other who she’s fond of and watch that athlete’s games. David Beckham? Tom Brady? Kobe Bryant? Let her watch him as you watch the rest of them. She may be watching for a completely different reason, but hey, at least she’s shut up and allowing you to do your thing.
Develop Emotional Ties:
Did she go to a college with a good athletics program? Is she passionate about her hometown or residential city? Let her get attached to the teams so she wants to watch them play.
Play with Her:
Toss the ball around and teach her the skills needed to play the game. She just may understand what its all about and join in the fun. She might even become your cheerleader for when you play pick up games.
Buy Her Gear:
Be sure to buy her team attire. It’s a whole different ball game for a fan when they’re representing a team. Buy her a cute jersey, sweatshirt or better yet a thong with her favorite team’s logo. Who knows what the excitement could lead to…
Good luck and Happy New Year in advance!
Skrybe – Keep it Fly