Thursday afternoon, I stopped to chat with Heather Buck for 10 minutes. As a personal favor, I’d appreciate it if you read what she had to say about the impending end of her playing career at UConn.
It is instructive, a rare view into the mind of a young woman with a lot going for her.
There have been those in UConn Nation who have not treated Heather very well in her five years with the program, as if the only way to judge this young woman’s worth was through basketball.
Here’s what she had to say:
“What I will take with me and treasure are the friendships I have made with the people here, all the time we spent together, what I learned about myself and how to be a teammate.
“We all come here to be a part of the best team, to learn from the best coaches and be the best players we can be. And we also want to contribute to something great. That’s what we all believe [at the start].
“And when you come, you hope you will be a able to contribute on the floor every night, that you will play, get a lot of minutes and score a lot of points. But because that is everyone’s expectation, there are going to be people that will need to find other ways to contribute.
“No one expected I would get mono [when she was a freshman]. No one would have expected that things would go the way they have. There are so many factors in any situation. So you take what happens and make the best of it. I found a different to contribute, by being the best teammate I could be throughout my career.
“Everyone asks [if she regrets her decision to attend UConn over Stanford] and I honestly think it’s a silly question. They ask me a lot. I don’t have any regrets. I never thought that. If it was possible to go back and make the decision again, I would still have chosen to go to UConn.
“My only wish was that I would have done things a little differently, and been able to contribute in a different way. But even if I couldn’t guarantee it might happen, that there was still a chance the same exact thing would happen, I would still come here.
“I have always been very happy with my decision and I have never second-guessed myself. I would make the same choice every time. And when you think about it, it is fruitless to even consider otherwise because you make your choice in life and that’s the way it is. You need to figure it out.
“I still love basketball. It’s hard to consider not having it in my life anymore. It’s what we’ve all [her teammates] have done since we were children. I started playing when I was 10. It’s been more than half my life. The love will never go away. I’ve chosen basketball over so many different activities throughout my life, because it is what I love. We all do that. It’s [the love] not something that will fade and even if not playing I will still be involved somehow.”
One year from now, Heather Buck will likely be a nurse in emergency department of some hospital, perhaps helping to treat someone you love at the Connecticut Children’s Hospital, where she completion her rotation in the fall.
She is a success. She will do what she came to UConn to do. She has scored major points. And we congratulate her for that.