Everett: Tune in to the women’s Final Four to learn what women’s basketball is all about
Joe Everett | Friday, April 5, 2019
The two upcoming Final Four matchups this weekend should prove to be must-watch TV.
No, I’m not talking about Michigan State-Texas Tech and Auburn-Virginia (though those should be great games as well).
Instead, in this Sports Authority, I’m highlighting what should be an even better round of Final Four matchups: Baylor-Oregon and Notre Dame-Connecticut.
But instead of breaking down each matchup, putting forward my “keys to the game” and highlighting the important players from each team (which is admittedly a shame, since all four teams have so many fantastic players), I want to start by making a confession.
I’ve never been a fan of women’s basketball.
I mean, yeah, I’ll admit it. You would hear the same complaints from me as you would from a lot of other people: The game’s not exciting enough, the same teams win every year and it’s not just the same as men’s basketball — it doesn’t have the same drama, flair or star power. I’d rather find $10 then have the local WNBA team win the championship.
Again, I’ll repeat it: I’ve never been a fan of women’s basketball.
That is, until now.
Now, I still can’t say that I’ve watched a lot of the WNBA (which is partially because it never really seems to be prioritized on the big networks). So, I’m still ignorant on that point.
No, my conversion came from simply watching a few games of the women’s college basketball tournament this season.
After having written an entire senior thesis about the virtue of play and the power of sports to bring people together and help cultivate a better society, the way in which I view sport — and play — has changed a lot over the past year.
When you’re on a team, by being selfless and putting the goals of the team before yourself, you begin to cultivate values of solidarity, kinship and loyalty with your teammates. There is a bond there that bridges any human-made divide that we so often see within our larger society. Play, in its ideal form, can transcend all these things to something higher.
That’s what I see in the game of women’s college basketball. It’s a beautiful game. Players cut and move and screen for each other without hesitation. Some of the best plays are often passes or a demonstration of incredible vision to see a teammate. There’s an insane understanding of the fundamentals of basketball that is actually jaw-dropping when you stop and take time to realize how well the players play.
Aesthetically, then, it’s incredible. But it’s also great to see women make incredible individual shots and to get fired up and to trash-talk on the court. I think it’s incredibly refreshing and exciting to see. If last year’s Final Four is any indication, there is no lack of drama in women’s basketball.
“BUT THEY CAN’T DUNK!”
Well, yeah, bro, neither can I! You probably can’t either, for that matter. Yet we still love to play basketball anyway. In fact, it makes the game more fun and more challenging. The NBA looks far too easy for so many giants nowadays. It’s much more rewarding to creatively find a way to get a good look near the basket when you don’t have the option of simply lobbing it up to the tall guy. The game becomes all the more beautiful and team-oriented.
So what am I saying? Watch the women’s Final Four tonight, and see for yourself what I’m talking about. Furthermore, put some respect on the name of women’s basketball. They’ve earned it.
This new fan will be watching tonight. You should too.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.