Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lady Vols Recognized in House of Representatives

Being a Tennessee resident, my father being University of Tennessee at Knoxville alum, and being a basketball fan makes me an obvious fan of Lady Volunteer basketball.

On June 2, 2009 the Lady Volunteer basketball team was recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives for all of their accomplishments in women’s basketball.

The resolution is H. Res. 196, and its title is “Congratulating the University of Tennessee women's basketball team (the “Lady Vols") and Head Coach Pat Summitt on her 1,000th victory.” This comes as no surprise to me considering the Lady Vols have won eight NCAA titles, 27 Southeastern Conference tournament and regular season championships. The Lady Vols have made an unprecedented 27 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16.

Twelve Olympians and 71 All-SEC performers have emerged from the program. Coach Summitt passed Dean Smith on March 25, 2005 for most NCAA collegiate basketball wins of all time. Summitt was also the first female head coach to be put on a Wheaties Breakfast of Champions box.

I remember watching the Lady Vols as early as elementary school and I believe this had a large impact on my choice to participate in team sports.

One summer, in between basketball camps, I read Pat Summitt’s book, Reach for the Summit. She describes how she can see her teams grow together as women and how team sports encourage sisterhood. This women’s basketball program has paved new stomping ground for women athletes, coaches, and fans.

The Lady Vols generate interest in the women’s game that is often ignored because of all the hype around the NBA and male athletes. On Tuesday, myself and the other interns went to Grand Central, on the televisions played a WNBA game. The seats in the stadium were empty and as I watched it kept flashing back to show Kobe Bryant walking to the locker room in a suit to prepare for another NBA finals game.

Instead of showing the women’s game, the network assumed viewers would rather watch Kobe, doing nothing, except walking, how exciting. With the acknowledgment of this strong women’s program, the hope that women in sports will gain respect has grown inside me.

Women’s basketball and women’s coaches are a force to be reckoned with and should not be overshadowed by the ball hogs, trash talkers, and controversy that circulates in the men’s game. Congratulations Lady Vols on being recognized for all your achievements!

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