Published June 7, 2001 – Cameron Citizen-Observer
THIS JUST IN: It’s debatable, but the greatest class of women’s basketball players just graduated and entered the WNBA and the number one pick was a 6’5 woman from Australia.
Lauren Jackson is already considered one of the best players in the world. The Miller twins and Jackie Stiles are pure shooters that can create their own shot. Ruth Riley and Katie Douglas are fresh off their battle for the national championship last spring.
Semaka Randall was a starter at the University of Tennessee, the mecca for women’s basketball, and she was a second round pick.
The best women basketball players in the world are evenly distributed on 16 teams with a short season, the ideal situation for any sport. But the real question is: Who cares?
Quinn Synder and the University of Missouri gave Duke a huge scare in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last spring. With Kareem Rush coming back and a great recruiting class, the Tigers are expected to compete for the Big 12 title and possibly more. Each year in college football, Bobby Bowden is expected to take Florida State to the National Championship game.
In baseball, expectations are like mail. Most of it is bad and it changes every day. In April, Red Sox fans expected their team to stink. Now that they are contending, they expect that this is the year they break The Curse of the Bambino.
When the trading deadline approaches, clubs that expected to contend will expect to get top prospects for aged stars like David Wells and Ken Caminiti. Owners that expected to raise pennant flags will fire their managers for performances below expectations; like Felipe Alou, formally of the Montreal Expos. Owner Jeffery Lurie expected his young team to battle for the National League East crown. With the third worst record in the National League, Alou became the scapegoat. But how fair is that?
In 1994, Alou managed the best team in baseball, full of young talent that was winning now. Pedro Martinez, Jeff Fassaro and John Wetland anchored the staff. Larry Walker and Moises Alou provided the power. The strike ended the season and three years later, all those players became stars for other teams. Is it Alou’s fault that management made horrible decisions? No, but each season is full of new expectations, regardless of past blunders.
An expectation is an assumption. And as we all know, ‘When you make an assumption, you make an ass out of you and mption’, whoever that is. Tim Blackwell was second team All-State last year as a sophomore. An assumption is that he will improve and lead Cameron to the Sectionals. An expectation is that he will be first team All State this year.
But what if, knock on wood; he can’t live up to these expectations. What if he has an injury that allows him to play, but not perform to his full capabilities like Allen Iverson in the playoffs? Will he be praised for his courage and heart, playing through the pain or will Dragon fans talk badly about him behind his back?
With Ron Bowers stepping down as head coach of the football team, what are the expectations for the new coach? Whoever it is, they will inherit a team that went 1-9 last year and lost 80 percent of their offense to graduation. Nevertheless, if Cameron football goes 1-9 again, people will call for his head.
Expectations are not fair. They’re not fair to make and they’re not fair to the people they’re made for. But that doesn’t stop anyone from making them or getting mad when they don’t come through. I expected the New York Mets to keep Mike Hampton this past off-season. They didn’t and I moved on. I’m still a Met fan and that’s the most important thing.
That’s the beauty of sports in my eye. Teams are still going to be there tomorrow, regardless of what you think or say about them yesterday. But that doesn’t mean you should abuse that right by expecting anything from your team. They don’t owe you anything, even if you go pay to see them. Remember, advertising pays players salaries, not four bleacher seats and 12 beers before the sixth inning.
When I was growing up, my mom expected me to become a lawyer. I expected to play second base at Shea Stadium. We were both wrong. As a single bachelor, I expect to be surrounded by women like John Travolta in those Swordfish commercials. But look at the picture, would you date that guy? Better yet, would you let your daughter date that guy? I know I wouldn’t and that’s the truth.