Lament of a UConn women’s basketball fan

I’ve been very lucky in the sports teams that geographical proximity has given legitimate claim on my fan devotion. When I was a kid it was the Yankees in the prime of their dynasty. By the time the Red Sox finally started winning World Series I had been long installed in New England. Which residency has also given me the perfect right to share in the glory of the Patriots.

In between for 17 years I lived in Hartford, one of the few benefits of which was being able to claim University of Connecticut basketball as it rose to national fame. That included the two years in which both the men’s and women’s teams won national championships, about as close to an epiphany as this atheist is likely to see.

UConn women have of course proven way more worthy of my fandom than the men and currently have a streak of 101 games going, having broken the school’s previous all-time record of 90.

I’m comfortable with that long streak. I feel well-rewarded for my fan attention. I wouldn’t mind if the streak went on and on, if in fact they never lost again (my, wouldn’t that be something). Although I can understand that people less geographically blessed might not agree with this.

But as you can perhaps imagine, given my fan background, UConn’s latest victory, number 101, was too close for my comfort. And perplexing. After beating most teams, even ranked ones, by double digits, doubling the production of numerous victims, they beat unranked Tulane by a mere three points. The game actually got tense toward the end. I didn’t appreciate the stress. Given what’s going on with politics these days, I don’t need my team to start exhibiting signs of human vulnerability.

And it doesn’t make any sense. Less than a month ago, UConn beat this same Tulane team by 44 points. How could they almost lose to a team they had so completely dominated such a short time ago? I don’t like it. And I don’t get it.

Seems to me that the story of that game is not that UConn won another one and the streak continues but that they almost lost. I’ve looked online for that story, for some explanation from basketball pundits, but in vain.

Why is no one else curious about this?


UNDERMINING THE MARIJUANA BALLOT VOTE

It’s surprising how tolerant we seem to be of all the tinkering with the people’s decision to legalize marjjuana. The ballot measure, passed by a convincing majority of 54% to 46%, is called a “law” in a recent AP article and yet state lawmakers (and police chiefs) are treating it like a very rough draft […]


One cheer for compartmentalism

Watching pro football is not like the ancient Romans watching gladiators killing each other in the coliseum. But it’s not so very different either. Especially now that we know the systematic, longterm, life-shortening physical toll taken on players. Nevertheless, I notice that I go on rooting for the Pats. A part of me shows up […]


Resolutions. And counter-resolutions

While a lot of us are making our annual resolutions to lose weight, the president-elect has been resolving on a larger scale. Reverse the Affordable Care Act, make climate change denial the country’s official policy, circle the wagons against the alien threat, and, in some strange dance with his Russian counterpart, take us back to […]


Cumberland Farms winning the battle vs. Wellfleet

Maybe it’s legal. But it’s wrong. And Bad. A company shouldn’t be able to ride roughshod over the wishes of a whole town. A few years ago, Cumberland Farms petitioned the Town of Wellfleet to enlarge the existing store on Route 6 and add a gas station. At a well-attended hearing, citizens were overwhelmingly opposed […]


Rendering unto Trump at Christmastime

The last two years I broke with my tradition and didn’t do a holiday season column. Last year I felt I needed to write on the reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks. The year before it was a local racism issue that bumped Christmas from this space. And now, with Trump ruling our attention, my […]


Kline settlement hastens death of the town

So the Kline house controversy is finally settled. For $3 million the new owners will get to live in the house after all, whenever they happen to be in town. According to the “Banner” story, “most of the selectmen appeared to have agonized over the decision.” The town had already spent a lot in legal […]


WHAT WILL HAPPEN? WHAT WILL WE DO?

Has ever a president-elect been held in such contempt by such a large portion of the electorate? These feel like dangerous times. Those signs protesting “F**k Trump” and “Not My President”–suddenly it seems not unreasonable to ask: are we becoming one of the many countries whose violence, instability and inability to govern themselves we’ve always […]


“Community”: a shallow premise for planning

A few days after the election, 80 or so of the most civic-minded Wellfleetians took time out from anguishing over the Future According to Trump to take up what seems a more manageable topic, the future of our own town. The idea was to crowdsource ideas to be incorporated in the latest update of our […]


AI : thinking about the end of the human era

Don’t look now, but while our attention is being distracted by all the media focus on climate change, there’s a much more ominous threat on the horizon: artificial intelligence ( AI). Unlike climate change, AI is not an unintended consequence of technology but something fellow humans are working hard to bring about. The goal the […]