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The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Nov. 16, 2022
Happy Basketball Wednesday! And thank you to so many of you for your responses to last week’s piece on Britt Prince. I’ll be following that story for you in the coming months for sure. I am a women’s basketball journalist. So I permit myself a lone rooting interest in the sport: my alma mater, the Bard Raptors.
So it came to pass on Tuesday night that amid the many higher-profile basketball games at my fingertips — and yes, I am old enough still to marvel at how many options we have now — I tuned into the Bard-Sarah Lawrence tilt in Bronxville, with only a combination of childcare responsibilities and rainy weather keeping me from making the trip myself.
At a certain point in my life, this decision — the choosing of one game, which by definition means I am not watching hundreds of other games — would have caused me stress. But I have long ago realized we cannot get to everything we want to in life, even among the areas that we love the most.
I won’t see every game, read every book, watch every film and listen to every album I want to. It simply isn’t possible. So instead, I’m going to appreciate the smaller moments within the ways I do allocate my time.
There are ways to do that when watching national powers like South Carolina, too. I’ve written before, and I will again, about the defining characteristics of Aliyah Boston at Dawn Staley’s program. What separates her as much as her obvious gifts, like rebounding and efficient scoring around the rim, are the small choices she makes, the deliberate way she moves on the court, forcing opponents to go at her pace. Her center of gravity on the floor is something rare and lovely.
There are small moments, too, in the world of Bard women’s basketball, which does not feature the consensus number one pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft. In broadcasting these women, I’ve gotten to know them, their struggles, their athletic arcs. Even as they set off to change the world, Maggy Payton is busy learning how to finish more effectively at the rim, Mae Redmond is learning to trust her shot, Thalia Grandinetti is figuring out how to harness her intensity, the group is playing a season without the best scorer in program history, the now-graduated Christina Kiser.
So I marched on my treadmill last night, the rain beating against the window, letting the energy of my hopes for these young women power my workout as the game streamed on my television. Bard took a ten-point lead, and for a program where wins have been at a premium, we all began to dream a little. I’m broadcasting Bard’s first home game on Sunday against Pratt — could it be a winning streak on the line?
But despite some clear signs of growth, the Raptors fell, 53-47. It was easy, though, to see the green shoots beginning to show above the ground. A perfect pass from freshman Shirley Dong to Redmond for a fastbreak layup. Five steals from Grandinetti. 17 points, a career high, for Redmond.
A small moment, a night to enjoy the craft of this beautiful game we all love so much. What worked, what didn’t, how to get better. Within the thousands of games ahead, so many moments like this. There’s a game near you, no matter where you live. Don’t worry about the stakes. Just go see it.
Drink deeply from it, my friends. Don’t stress the forest. Enjoy the glory of every tree.
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Five at The IX: Curt Miller
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