As a girl who has loved the game of basketball since the age of 9, when I was the only girl on my YMCA basketball team, I knew this was a sport that would be part of my life forever.
The older I got and the more I studied the game I quickly realized that there was one coach I wanted to play for, and her name was Pat Summitt.
My reverence for Summitt was understandable. She was the commander-in-chief of the best women’s basketball program in the country; the women whose legendary precision and steely determination had been immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and who had, more importantly, delivered widespread respect to our game.
Pretty much all of us: every young basketball player, at every summer camp, at every tournament, in every nook and cranny of this entire country – even those of us, or perhaps especially those of us, wanted to play for the University of Tennessee just so we could have the chance to be coached by her.
The basketball world lost Summitt last year, and while myself as well as many other basketball fans across the globe mourned her loss and what she meant to this game we love, I couldn’t help but wonder who the next generation of female athletes would have to look up to.
And then it happened; over the weekend the UConn women’s basketball team won their 91st game in a row. Ninety-one. The UConn women, coached by Geno Auriemma, have been the picture of basketball perfection.
The Huskies finished 38-0 last season en route to earning the program’s 11th all-time national title. A perfect regular season may once again be in order this year for the program and then it hit me – the next generation will be just fine.
Geno Auriemma and the UConn women basketball program will mean to young girls today what Pat Summitt and the Tennessee Lady Vols meant to me growing up.
I did not know Pat Summitt. And yet, somehow, what she offered me was invaluable: She helped me know myself.
Hopefully this next generation of female athletes will get the same reward from Geno Auriemma and the UConn women’s program.
Megan Huston is the sports editor for The Meteor. She can be reached at 936-348-3505 or email@example.com.