Monday, March 28, 2016

The Auriemma/Shaughnessy gambit

Geno Auriemma was exactly right. I'll get back to that.

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy had said Geno's Lady Huskies continuing to steam-roll their opponents was bad for lady's college basketball. It was an ignorant thing to say, and smacked more of bias/envy than being objective.

Perhaps Shaughnessy wants us to believe it's somehow Geno and UConn's fault that they have assembled a dynasty in recent years. Hey, isn't being the best what every team or player in every sport has always aspired to? Are they supposed to apologize for having reached that pinnacle?

The response to Shaughnessy's petty jealousy has been righteously swift. He's being pilloried by the talking heads, especially the female variety. In today's world, it's usually a bad idea for a male -- even a reporter -- to criticize anything a lady or team of such has accomplished. Right or wrong, the critic will be eaten alive. The fairer sex normally doesn't respond well to any sort of public condemnation -- under ANY circumstances.

But in an ensuing press conference, Auriemma made a terrific point. If the dominance of UConn lady basketball was so bad for the game, then why.....

Was Tiger Woods heralded as a hero during his decade of domination on the PGA tour? He was winning just about everything too until he flamed out personally and physically. Most still suggest Eldrick was GOOD for golf. It forced other golfers to get better. Yours truly disagrees with that assumption. Like it or not, every generation of athletes is better than the last. Golf would have been just fine with or without Tiger, and the players continue to get better regardless. But certainly nobody ripped him when he was tearing it up on tour. Quite the contrary. He was idolized, and his legions of groupies still believe he will rise to his former greatness again. Um -- well -- good luck.

Geno could have went further. Until she recently started showing some chinks in her aging armor, Serena Williams was winning just about everything on the pro tennis circuit. Like Tiger, she was a hero. I don't recall any scribes saying Serena was bad for tennis.

Where was the outrage when the NY Yankees and Boston Celtics of long ago were reeling off one championship after another?

Or with John Wooden's UCLA basketball teams in the 60s?

Or Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls rolling to so many NBA championships in the 90s?

Even this year, the Golden State Warriors aren't criticized, but rather celebrated as they chase the best all-time regular season record.

Novac Djovokic has become seemingly unbeatable in men's pro tennis. Nobody rips him. And for sure nobody took issue with Roger Federer racking up so many titles a scant few years prior to the Serb coming on the scene and displacing him.

Ever hear of anybody saying Jack Nicklaus, Richard Petty, or more recently Peyton Manning or Derek Jeter were bad for their sports? Among other notables, they won a lot of stuff too over the years.

But for whatever reason, Shaughnessy zeroed in on the UConn lady's hoops team.

Well gee. Let's take a closer look. Danno has long been a columnist at the Boston Globe. Bet you won't find any of his articles critical of the New England Patriots back when they were the class of the NFL. And OF COURSE he resides in Beantown. Where else would an Irish sports writing dude that looks a bit like an older gargoyle version of Rory McIlroy take up residence to ply his trade?

And OF COURSE he's going to be St. Patty's day green with jealousy over any success story that happens in New York, Philly, or Jersey, much less some girls college hoop team from tiny Connecticut that might well turn out to be -- quietly -- the greatest sports dynasty of all time.

Idle thought. As the lyrics to the classic song go -- Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.

So here's an idea for Shaughnessy. The pipe may still be calling him, but he needs to quit that stuff, else he "crack-up" completely.

One is free to root for or against Geno Auriemma and the program he has built with the Lady Huskies over the years, but saying they are bad for lady's college basketball is like claiming Donald Trump has made Presidential politics less news-worthy.

It was a stupid thing to say and defies the obvious.

There has never been a greater interest in either.

And both are good things.....

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