Our capacity for silliness in this country appears to be bottomless, which I suppose is OK as long as the ardor for all things goofy and inconsequential doesn’t extend into genuinely important areas that might typically beg for adult participation, like politics or gin rummy.
So I hardly bat an eye when a Hall of Fame-calibre women’s basketball coach spouts gibberish like, “Because we’re breaking a men’s record, we’ve got a lot of people paying attention.”
This was, of course, UConn coach Geno Auriemma blathering after his team recorded win No. 88 in a row. “The reason everybody is having a heart attack the last four or five days is a bunch of women are threatening to break a men’s record and everybody is all up in arms about it,” he groused.
Uh, huh. Seems too bad that a coach would diminish his own team’s noteworthy accomplishment by pretending that it’s something it most assuredly is not. That’s a shame. His protestations seem childish and counter-productive: Here he is in the middle of orchestratiing the greatest dynasty in the history of NCAA Women’s Basketball and he allows his silliness to overwhelm and shift the spotlight.
Does anyone really need to be reminded that if UConn wins 176 consecutive games that UCLA’s record of 88 wins in a row will remain the standard for NCAA Men’s Basketball?
Of course, Auriemma can presumably be excused for indulging in this sillyfest, since mainstream media outlets of all descriptions have beat him to the punch. “UConn Women’s Basketball Wins 88 Straight; Team Ties Men’s 36-Year-Old Record Held by UCLA,” is how this was handled on the CBSNews.com website.
You don’t say.
If it’s sexist to insist that the two are distinctly separate records, then so be it. Actually, I decline to be dubbed a sexist for a couple of fairly cogent reasons: 1) I’m not; and 2) UConn’s gals can’t possibly break any of the UCLA Men’s records, and if I have to explain it to anyone, we’re in really big trouble. My grasp of biology is tenuous, but still adequate enough to get me to age 60 without being arrested or even slapped for any kind of gender-based confusion.
And I would be quick to point out that my observations have not a thing to do with my once-legendary allegiance to all things Bruin-like. I rooted for UCLA when I was a teenager even before my sister went there in 1968 and sat behind Lew Alcindor in a science class. By that time, I was a full-fledged nut about the Bruins, and it’s fair to say that I got a bit spoiled by so rarely having to endure the ostensible ignominy of the occasional defeat.
Ole Geno ought to understand that part of it. It ought to be enough that his teams have rewritten the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball record book in their image.
It’s just so sad that the guy with the so much to be proud of would instead succumb to such silliness. I’ve got a hunch that his amazing charges suffer from no such delusions.