Column by Carly Grenfell
On Oct. 7, we will officially kick off the year with full team practices (that’s nearly 18 days away, I might add). While basketball is pretty much a year-round sport, that is when the season begins, per the NCAA.
This will give us a solid month to prepare for our home opener — and a challenging one at that. Mark your calendars for Nov. 8. The Creighton Bluejays will be in town.
Our non-conference schedule will be far from a cakewalk. We have Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin and will play two tough teams at our Thanksgiving tournament in Seattle, Wash.
But what is the start of the season for? To win games? Absolutely. But also to grow, compete, learn and prepare for conference play.
No game is an easy game in the Valley. We know each other inside and out, especially when we face each other two and sometimes three times a year. But enough about “them.” After a great summer and a special team retreat over Labor Day weekend, our team is ready for the next step.
That next step is something not every team has. But it is, in fact, something that winning teams have. And that is an untouchable camaraderie.
Untouchable. Seems like a pretty dramatic word, right? Perhaps.
But let me just say that great things happen to teams that know each other, trust each other and play for each other. When it seems like you against the rest of the world, you have every teammate to fall back on.
The worst part about such a hyped up team dynamic is that it is much easier said than done.
It takes time, patience and understanding. It takes selflessness and genuine courage.
If it were easy to have, every team would have it.
So what’s the point here?
I think it’s fair to say that many of us have witnessed unbelievable runs in the NCAA tournament (Wichita State and Butler, just to name a couple).
You can’t tell me that those teams don’t play for each other. I am sure the X’s and O’s of basketball serve as part of their success. But no team experiences success at this level without untouchable camaraderie.
It’s that extra edge, that extra heart that separates one team from the next.
It’s that untouchable unity that allows teams to beat teams they aren’t supposed to beat.
It’s that untouchable unity that can surely leave you with goosebumps.