I can remember it like it was yesterday. I spent draft day back home in Pittsburgh, PA, my best friend and I gathered together at Dave and Buster's with a hosts of friends and family. Nothing big or major just a few people that were close to us. It was nerve wracking because we didn't know what to expect, we were both super anxious, just waiting for our names to pop up on that TV screen. I remember secretly wanting Minnesota to pick me at that 11th spot, I had already known one of their big players, Nicole Ohlde, as well as a few other people I met during college from the area. When the 11th pick came and Minnesota choose, Kristen Mann, I was sad, but refused to let it show, the next pick was the Seattle Storm, the whispers I'd been hearing was that they were going to pick me. "AND..... with the 12th pick of the 2005 WNBA Draft, the Seattle Storm selects Tanisha Wright, of Penn State University" I couldn't have felt more relieved, my family seemed to be just as relieved and excited. My pastor gathered the group of people there and we prayed and thanked God for the opportunity and the doors he had opened. It was a GREAT day, overwhelming at times, but everything went by so quickly, up until my name was called it felt like forever, but once my name was called it was done, it was time to move on to my next journey.
This year's draft just got extremely interesting with two new players deciding to forgo the rest of their college eligibility and join this years group of seniors. Each of you have worked extremely hard to be in this position. The next coming weeks will be a whirlwind but when you step on that court for the first time for your first official WNBA game, it will be worth all the anxiety and sleepless nights you experienced. There's nothing like being able to play at the highest level, to reaching your dreams of being a professional athlete. I leave you with the same advice other veterans left me with, don't compromise yourself, be who you are, surround yourself with people who mean you well, never get too high and never get too low, there will be tons of ups and downs as you go through your professional career, and lastly don't be afraid to BE GREAT!!!!!
All businesses should just declare NCAA tourney a national holiday. Calling off, eating wings, sipping on a corona(or beer if that's what you like), hanging out with basketball enthusiasts, and watching the most competitive sensational basketball I've ever witnessed, are some of the best parts about watching basketball in March, what other sporting event rivals the intensity of March Madness????...I long for this, and ONE day this WILL be my life. But for now, I will stay up until the crack of dawn, hook up my sling box, attempt to watch multiple games at once, and enjoy the madness in the comfort of my own bed.
What I love about watching the Men's NCAA tourney is the unpredictability. Sure everyone has Kentucky as the favorite but if truth be told, NOONE believes without a doubt that Kentucky is the only team that can win it. Why??? Because there is soooo much parity in the men's game. When it comes to tourney time it doesn't matter what team steps on the court, the games will be competitive, the games will be fun and exciting, you should expect, good basketball play, UPSETS, buzzer beaters, overtime, and sometimes DOUBLE OVERTIME. You can just tell the basketball is different in March, for instance pay attention to how the refs call the game during the tourney time as opposed to any other time, they let the guys play, they let the guys, both offensively and defensively, make plays to win the game. That is what it's all about in March, if you've played with all your heart, gave it your best shot, and left it all out on the court, you learn to live with the results. Probably the most talked about and watched basketball the whole year.
WHAT IS THERE NOT TO LIKE ABOUT NCAA TIME??????
I'll tell you(and I'm sure I'm going to ruffle a few feathers on this). The LACK OF parity on the WOMEN'S side of the game. Let me say this, I love women's basketball, PERIOD. I don't always enjoy watching women's basketball during NCAA tourney time, mainly because the games aren't as competitive. Now, I'm NOT saying that the girls don't compete just as hard, or that their is a lack of talent, or that there won't be lower seeds that beat higher seeds, no, I'm saying that there is a superiority within the teams that are playing. It doesn't matter what the seedings are, when you look at women's basketball, you know the programs that are good, better, and the best. For instance, take the first round of the tourney, how many games were decided by 3pts or less, how many upsets happened, how many buzzer beaters or overtimes did we witness. As fans, in order to get that March Madness high, on the women's side, we typically need to wait until the elite eight or final four.
What we do see are amazingly talented players put on ridiculous individual shows and teams that compete hard, but just don't have as much talent to match up to their peers. As a fan of women's basketball, I want to see these games become more interesting, more competitive, more exciting from the beginning until the end of the tourney. I'm in no way diminishing anything that these young ladies have accomplished in their careers. I've been in their exact position before, and being able to experience the NCAA tourney for 4 times in my college career was a privilege. So I understand that just making the tourney is a big deal for some programs, but for some teams, not making the tourney is not an option. This kind of competitive demeanor within all of our programs is what we need to stress in order for our NCAA tourney to start living up to it's MARCH MADNESS TITLE!
I really don't have the answers, I'm really just rambling on, BUT i'm a competitive fan who wants to witness the March Madness experience from beginning to end rather than in Jan. already mentally handing UCONN the title.