The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Most sports commentators didn't give them a chance. Not at the beginning of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (a.k.a. March Madness), not in the second week, not against mightly #1 seed Florida in the semis, and certainly not against Kentucky. After all, the University of Connecticut (UConn) Huskies we playing the bluest of blue chip players from the bluest of blue chip programs with fans the bled blue. But, as they say, that's why they play the game.

During the NCAA finals, UConn never lost the lead—not once. They used athleticism, fierce defense, and a well-designed strategy to shut down bigger, more talented players. The best guard tandem in the country, Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright took the vaunted Kentucky guards out of their rhythm and took the entire Wildcat team out of its game. They weathered a few fierce Kentucky runs, but never lost their poise.

As a twice UConn alum, it was a beautiful thing to watch.

Sports is a near perfect meritocracy. Unrelenting practice, desire, enthusiasm, teamwork, risk, and talent are rewarded. Sure there are intangibles. In the case of UConn, Coach Kevin Ollie—a second year head coach, following in the footsteps of the legendary Jim Calhoun—helped his team achieve a remarkable level of cohesiveness, selflessness, along with the burning hunger to win it all.

UConn men's basketball has now won four national championships in the past 15 years, making it one of the pre-eminent basketball programs in history. In an era where history is often compressed into months or a few years, UConn 15 year run is epic—better than Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville or any other of the historical basketball "powers" during that time span.  With this championship, UConn is now a member of that list.


And this from Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant:
ARLINGTON, Texas — They took the stairs. They took them one step at a time. They took them one by one when there wasn't anything to play for last season and they were the pariahs of the NCAA. They took them one step at a time even after Louisville smoked them three times this season.

Their coach, this NBA vagabond, this UConn blueblood, kept insisting they take one step at a time through the early victories and a 9-0 start that left them ninth in the national polls. Climbing, climbing, up this skyscraper of a season, huffing and puffing at times, stubbing their toes at other times, even briefly dropping out of the national polls.

"We're going to take the stairs," Kevin Ollie said that day he was hired in September 2012. "Escalators are for cowards."
Read the whole thing.