This week several UConn fans were taking up for the Mercury after they won the first draft pick next year. Because Diana Taurasi is on the team, they were acting like the Mercury were the Huskies. They were giving the twitter virtual middle finger to anyone (most people) who were upset that Phoenix won first pick.
I’ve heard this before on the Tennessee-UConn spectrum. Vol fans are leary of the Connecticut Sun, as it’s stacked with former UConn players. Husky fans don’t seem to like teams with former Lady Vols on them.
The school from which an athlete graduated seems to matter much more to the fans than to the players themselves. Tonight I saw Swin Cash tweet to Candace Parker; yesterday I saw Ashley Robinson tweet to Cash; and Kara Lawson and Renee Montgomery stood next to each other yesterday upon receiving their respective awards, giggling.
The media does it too. After winning the gold medal at the London Olympics last month, reporters got Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi together for an on-camera interview, as they’ve been on the last three Olympic teams together. The reporter made a crack about them getting along as Tennessee-UConn alumni, and all three laughed awkwardly. Catchings said “yeah,” and then they seemed to be ready for the next question.
The whole thing was ridiculous, as Catchings graduated in 2001, Bird in 2002 and Taurasi, 2004 – a while ago. Undoubtedly each still has pride in their school, but maintaining the same intense rivalry feelings to this day? No.
Fans and some media need to get over it. This is the pros – not college. If former Tennessee and UConn players can be friends as adults and get along, then fans should too.