I will not be at the UConn parade today. I am afraid of clowns. And you never know if someone from the SEC will show up to ruin UConn’s celebration at the state capitol.
I have transitioned into my summer job; covering the Connecticut Sun and WNBA, and I will be spending the day today fawning over the Mets, preparing for tomorrow’s draft and getting ready to watch Mad Men.
Before I do, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who came here to visit my blog this season for information – and hopefully entertainment. My bosses tell me the numbers are in the high hundreds of thousands. I don’t have that many of anything, with the possible exception of faux reading glasses spread around the house.
There are many, many places you could turn to on this well-covered beat, many informed voices and minds to choose from. Thank you for choosing mine on so many occasions.
As I prepare to head to the casino, I have one more thing I want to say. I have said this many times on many formats, but I think it bears repeating before parade begins.
UConn basketball fans, particularly the fans of Geno Auriemma’s program, are living in the gilded age of college sports. Seriously, what you have seen transpire over the last 20 years will never happen again, exactly like this again, in our lifetime. It can’t. It’s an original. You never forget your first.
There may come a time when another coach in another program learns how to sustain; but it will never approach what has happened at UConn since Auriemma won his first national championship in 1995. The circumstances are too unique, the environment too perfect, the coach too dynamic, the players too remarkable.
Look, I realize he could care less what I think, and his supporters and friends are far more well-positioned in life, but I sincerely believe, yes I do, that Auriemma is one of the greatest coaches in the history of sports, college or professional.
He is the Walter Camp, Knute Rockne, Connie Mack, Casey Stengel, Red Auerbach, John Wooden and Scotty Bowman of his sport and his time. He is generational in his impact.
If more people cared about women’s basketball in this country- I live in the world 24-7 and I know they don’t – he would be right up there with Coach K and Bob Knight, Joe Torre and Bill Belichick. He would be an iconic figure.
Someone would put his name on Sunday sauce or wine or a restaurant. Oh wait, they have. This is Connecticut. Check please?
What he has done for his sport, and his school, is remarkable. Women’s basketball is a heavy thing to lift and frankly he hasn’t had much help over the last 15 years. But there he is, with nine national championships, one world championship and one Olympic gold medal, many of the greatest players in the game’s history by his side, holding the sport – collegiate, professional and international – over his head.
So here’s what I have to say to UConn fans, some of the most loyal, fervent, but occasionally spoiled in the world. Take a second to take…this…all…in.
Sit back and savor the gifts of nine national championships and five undefeated seasons and national players of the year.
Don’t tie yourself into knots worrying about the little stupid things, like why there was only one freshman last year or why this or that happens or doesn’t. Let Geno and Chris Dailey worry about it. They have it covered quite nicely.
It is going to end someday. Even Geno said so. It has to. Nothing sustains, lasts forever. Not even Mad Men. Someday, UConn may be just another competitive program fighting to get to the Final Four, not one able to order room service for the 2015 Final Four before the regular season even starts.
Thank you for coming. Drive home safely. Enjoy the day. Beware of clowns.