March 1, 2006
Women's BasketBlog - March 1, 2006 - Lori Bjork
March is finally here, our record is back to 0-0, and we are ready to let the Madness begin. Today we leave for the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, and I am eagerly anticipating my first taste of the college postseason. We still have a lot to play for, so I am obviously excited to see how far we can go. In addition, I can't wait to play in "The House That Reggie Miller Built (and Ron Artest Nearly Destroyed)," which is more properly known as Conseco Fieldhouse.
In hopes of gaining some good shooting karma, I thought about sleeping in my #31 high school jersey (for those of you lacking the requisite sports knowledge, this was Reggie's number and my number until this year). However, judging by the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team's debacle in Athens, perhaps I should be seeking the favor of Lithuanian national team, and current Pacers, sharpshooter Sarunas Jasikevicius (once again, for the benefit of the non-fanatical sports fan, this is the man who torched the U.S. team for 28 points in a Lithuanian preliminary round victory at the '04 Games). I also won't let go of the pipe dream of running into Pacers executive Larry Bird in some forlorn tunnel in the bowels of the arena where he is still licking his wounds from being hung out to dry by Ron Artest.
Sunday's win at Michigan was Coach Grentz's 650th win. One might have expected a nice postgame ceremony, a special team celebration, or at the very least a game ball presentation in the locker room. But none of this happened because Coach Grentz's goal is not individual recognition. As she reminds us every now and then, she has already done it all, from winning a championship to winning Olympic gold. Her focus now is on helping us to have these same opportunities. How can she help us to work together and reach our dreams?
Now I have an embarrassing admission to make: I forgot that it was #650. To grasp what an egregious memory lapse I made, one only needs to take a quick look inside the numbers: Right away, I am going to go out on a limb and say 650 wins is a lot. I don't care who was on your schedule - even if it was Cupcake U and We-R-a-Joke State- 650 wins would still be impressive. Considering Coach Grentz's teams played everyone from Tennessee and Connecticut to Big Ten foes makes it all the more mind-boggling.
Next, I begin to think of my entire basketball career. Given that I played in my first organized league (when they finally determined we could keep score) in third grade, I would need to have won an average of 59 games per year to reach 650 wins. Goodness knows any parent who lets a child under the age of 10 play 59 basketball games should probably be reported for child exploitation. However, some people who know about my passion (those less fond of me choose the word obsession) for basketball might believe me if I said I played a 59 game season at age 10. But, just for the record let me say that my efforts to lobby the YMCA recreational league to extend the 10 game season by a mere 50 games were, unbelievably enough, denied. (I attribute my proposal's failure to the acrimonious nature of the 3rd grade rec league labor negotiations back in '95 - at least I didn't pull a Gary Bettman and get the whole season canceled).
Now that I have owned up to blowing off Coach Grentz's momentous win, I do have a few words to offer in my own defense. You see, if Coach Grentz had a more "me-me-me" attitude and constantly referred to herself in the third person, I probably wouldn't have forgotten her big day (then again, I might be giving my observation skills a little too much credit here). However, Coach Grentz has gone the entire season without so much as one mention of her win total. Can anyone reasonably expect someone like me to be able to count that high all by myself?
So, Coach, I hope you accept my apology for momentarily forgetting your milestone win. I only hope that you will find it in your heart to still put me in the game at the Big Ten Tournament. The best gift we can give you is win #700 as soon as possible - and I promise to put that one on my calendar so I won't forget.
Lori Bjork #20