Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lady Mids are Headed to the Dance!

I hauled the kids downtown this evening to take in the Patriot League Women's Championship game between Navy's Lady Midshipmen and American University. I couldn't think of anything more appealing to do tonight than show my support for our local Belles of the Basket Ball. It was worth the trip to Alumni Hall to see these terrific athletes show what they are made of by coming on strong in the second half after a first half that left them struggling behind a sharp American University squad. The final score was 47-40 in favor of our home team.

I have to admit, I've never seen a Navy Women's basketball game before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Both teams were impressive to see. It's a different game these women play than men's NCAA basketball - somehow tougher and grittier. It looks more like what we grew up playing - more relatable - but MUCH better. I was not bored for a second. I've had a couple of people (men actually) say to me over the years that they prefer the intensity of women's basketball to men's, and I can appreciate why they would feel that way.

The Brigade of Midshipmen are on spring break this week, so the normal support system was not available, but the word went out that reinforcements were needed, and the Annapolis community responded. A strong showing of local fans and supporters took up the slack and showed their appreciation for history in the making. This will be the first appearance ever for the Navy women in the NCAA tournament. It's what every college basketball team strives for all season - an invitation to the dance. These ladies have earned it, and I look forward to following their progress in the tournament.

I took these two videos of the final moments of the game with my Canon Powershot - more poor quality video for your viewing pleasure. The first is a three-pointer sunk with under three minutes to go which put the Lady Mids up by six - their biggest lead of the game and the first sense that it might be in hand.  It was a beauty. The second includes the final moments of the game, the ensuing celebration, and the playing of the Navy Blue and Gold. Those sweaty, excited, adrenaline-filled girls snapped to attention and serenaded us with the traditional anthem sung following all Navy sporting events:

Now colleges from sea to sea
May sing of colors true,
But who has better right than we
To hoist a symbol hue?
For sailors brave in battle fair
Since fighting days of old,
Have proved a sailor's right to wear
The Navy Blue and Gold.

The lyrics were changed in 2004 from "For sailor men in battle fair..." to "For sailors brave in battle fair..." Fittingly so. The Lady Mids earned their right to sing those words tonight and to wear "the Navy Blue and Gold". It's the best part of the video.

Keep an eye out for the Navy women in the NCAA tournament. I know there's a lot of basketball to see in the weeks ahead, but there can never be too much basketball in March, and there's nothing better than a home team to cheer on! Here's wishing that all your favorite teams get their own invitation to the dance tomorrow and Monday, and perform well in the tournament. If any of them happen to meet Duke along the way, that's where my good wishes end. Go Blue Devils!

Thanks to Bill Wagner for giving us a heads up about the game on his Navy Sports Blog at HometownAnnapolis. That's where I learned about it, anyway. Here's his more informed overview and analysis of the game following all the fun:

NavyFreshmen guide Navy women to NCAA tournament berth

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