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Observations on the 2023 NCAA Women’s Basketball Finals

  • The level of play in the Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship and the fan interest is great for women’s sports including volleyball.
  • Sometimes the behaviors in sports can give us a glimpse of a better world but much of the time it reveals the world we are living in.
  • Catlin Clark and Angel Reese are amazing basketball players. I suspect that Reese’s behavior in shielding her face was in response to what she deemed as disrespect that Clark exhibited toward South Carolina in the semi-finals.
  • I am uncomfortable with athletes in any sport drawing attention to themselves, but that reflects the values I grew up with. It also should be noted that volleyball is different than most sports in that the competitors are separated by a net. The culture of volleyball (at least in the U.S.) is different than basketball.
  • It should also be noted that in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Finals, a head coach approached the down official and tried to badger the official as she was reviewing the video. There was no penalty.
  • Our society is adversarial. A significant amount of the interaction that takes place today on social media is either designed to self-promote or diminish someone who has a different point of view.
  • I always believed that a player’s behavior reflected the head coach. That can be complex when you have a highly spirited player, particularly if you think that asking her to alter her behavior might significantly reduce her performance.
  • I understand the argument that what took place was no different than what we see men do in competition in the NBA, tennis, golf, etc. But that doesn’t mean that what men do is appropriate either. (The Houston Astros cheated for two complete seasons) That is the ultimate lack of respect for your opponent.
  • As volleyball gains popularity we are likely to see the same issues emerge. Collegiate sport has moved from a focus on self-development to entertainment.
  • I think of Sue Enquist, the former UCLA softball coach, when she uses the phrase, do we “honor the game.” Catlin and Angel and all the male and female athletes we admire certainly do so with their preparation, competitiveness, and execution. I don’t believe they (and we) do so when we do not respect our opponent, when we do not honor the game. We cannot reach our potential unless we have a worthy opponent.     –Terry Pettit



One Comment

  1. Jo Jo

    You hit it Terry!

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