UConn women's head basketball coach, Geno Auriemma, has his finger on the pulse of the American sports watching public. Or least he does in his mind.
Coach Auriemma and the UConn Huskies won their eighty-eighth consecutive game yesterday, tying the mark set by John Wodden's UCLA dynasty of the early 1970s. According to Auriemma, his team is getting attention only because they are women one game away from breaking a men's record.
"Just know," Auriemma said in the postgame press conference. "There wouldn't be anybody in this room (air quotes) if we were chasing a woman's record."
Auriemma said the woman (media members and fans) are "happy as hell" and can't wait to ask questions. The guys (men I suppose) who follow women's basketball are the same way.
He also referred to those who follow men's basketball as "miserable bastards" if they have a problem with his team passing Wooden's UCLA team in the record book.
But Geno, what about me? I feel left out in yesterday's "tirade" because I'm not a woman, I don't follow women's basketball, and I couldn't care less if it's a men's record broken by a women's team.
I, like most of the American sports watching public, simply don't care about women's basketball. Women's basketball is like the tree in the forest that no one is around to hear fall. It most definitely makes a sound, but I'm one thousand miles away with some Beats by Dre headphones on both ears.
For better or worse, the UConn women's basketball team is not going to be as interesting now as they will when they lose. It has little to do with sex, and everything to do with their dominance.
Auriemma should be happy with any of the attention his team, and by proxy his sport, gets for its achievement, be it positive or negative. Women's basketball is a hard sell, on the college and professional level. The Huskies won their eighty-eighth straight game beating the 10th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes by thirty-one points. The last time they lost a game was in the 2008 NCAA semis to Stanford. They had another close game against Stanford last season in the championship game, ultimately winning 53-47.
Other than that, blowout after blowout. Which means Auriemma may be right suggesting that few people to see his team win, but wrong as to the reason why. You win eighty-eight straight games, it's no longer news until you lose. Those are the cold hard facts of the American sports watching public.