In the next game it was all Stanford. They took out Gonzaga in a rout that put them in the Final Four for the fourth consecutive year (say that five times fast). For the Cardinal it was Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike who spurred the win.
Through my pain this evening, I found some happiness and some hope.
One of my favorite routines throughout the years is to watch the NCAA tournament at the gym. I’ll watch a game, go work out some, come back and watch another game or a half or part, go work out more, etc.
It’s usually only men who stop to see what’s on the television when they see it’s a game. And years ago, once they saw it was a women’s game, they’d say “oh” and walk away. But that doesn’t happen very much anymore.
This weekend I had some men and teen boys stop and watch with me for a while. Tonight the same thing happened, plus some of my friends sympathized when I told them my team was losing.
“Aw, I hate that,” Ryan said. “When the Lakers get behind….” he made a face.
Ironically, one of my greatest moments of pain was softened by a man on the elliptical trainer in front of me, just below the TV showing Tennessee-Notre Dame. Skylar Diggins hit a big three shot to put the Irish up by eight, and he whooped and applauded. He continued to applaud and exude enthusiasm as they grew their run, burying the Vols. What could have been a moment of total misery for me was tinted with the bright lens of hope. It’s no longer an oddity to be watching women’s basketball.
Another upside: both games tonight were on ESPN. Not ESPN 12, online only, or broadcast in the middle of the night. Live, on ESPN.
It’s getting better.