Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Auriemma backlash

Sure, the moment I get on board with some of Geno Auriemma's antics, others turn on him.

There have been some interesting responses to Auriemma's comments about the gendered nature of the streak his team broke last week. gathered the thoughts of its contributors and talked about it on 1st and 10 where one commentator called his comments not-so-nice. They didn't seem particularly mean to me but...

Skip Bayless thinks that Auriemma's characterization of the "miserable bastards" (and why Bayless has a problem using the word bastards is kind of curious to me) is wrong. That men who don't care about women's basketball just don't care enough to be upset about this--that they just ignore women's basketball all together. Probably true to some extent. But it's hard to ignore something that even ESPN is making a big deal about. And the fervent naysayers don't seem to be so zen about the breaking of the streak.

My--hopefully--final thoughts on this: I think the word comparison is problematic. Comparing feats and streaks and accomplishments across sports, eras, players, coaches, programs, etc. is never a fruitful endeavor. It usually only provides a few minutes of fodder on sports shows and the occasional column in a newspaper or magazine. Remember when Pete Sampras was compared to Laver? And now it's Federer versus Sampras and the name Nadal has even snuck into the conversation. Is Chrissie Evert better than Martina because of her clay court streak? Is Graf better than Navratilova because she has more individual Grand Slam titles?
Mary Lou Retton versus Nadia Comaneci?
Such comparisons are utterly subjective. So everyone can stop saying "apples and oranges." We're all aware that fruit comes in different varieties. Streaks are streaks. They all mean the same thing: that someone(s) did something really, really well. Let's just appreciate that.

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