i’m living in the 21st century, doin’ something mean to it
do it better than anybody you ever seen do it
screams from the haters got a nice ring to it
i guess every superhero need his theme music…
– kanye west, ‘power’
You can say UCLA would kick our ass if we played them.
You can say a high school boy’s team would kick our ass if we played them.
You can say Bill Walton would take Maya Moore to the hole.
You can say my father, the man who cried at my high school graduation, who held my hand in support when I was at my lowest, most Godforsaken point, is an arrogant sonofabitch. (and you’d be right sometimes)
You can say you don’t care about women’s basketball, which is the main crime we all should accuse mainstream America of, not of rage or irritation, but of total apathy.
You can call us unexciting.
But there is one thing we can say back.
Like it or lump it, we hold the longest winning streak in college basketball. Men’s OR women’s.
In the waning moments last night, when the clock wound down and the crowd leapt to their feet in electric joy…all of the years of blood, tears, and sleepless nights ran back in my head like a Rolodex of memories. All the times I sat in the back of the bus. The birthdays my father missed. The times I got made fun of on the playground for having a father who wasn’t around. The messages I’d read on message boards about how my father probably beat my mother at home because he had such a temper on the sidelines. The heartbreak of losing so many beloved players to injury – Keesha. Shea. Sveta. Caroline.
In that moment…all the pain was worth it.
I wouldn’t trade any tear I cried, any heartbeat I skipped watching a game, any horrible thing said about my dad. None of it. Because it got us here, today, celebrating a radiant achievement in athletics.
And I know if John Wooden were alive, he would be proud and smiling the way his grandson smiled at the game on Tuesday night. The way I was proud and smiling of my father, the way my nephew will someday smile and be proud of his Pop-Pop.
You can say a lot of shit about me, my family, the team, anybody. But you will never take that away from us.
PS. It was also fun to see that my one moment of glory on ESPN2 was when I called my brother a ‘dumbass’. I got a lot of messages about that one.
PPS. Talked to Bria last night about the kiss on the cheek Dad gave her after the multiple threes she drained. She called it “the greatest moment of my life.”
PPPS. HOW GOOD was Buck last night? I was so proud!