June 15th, 2009: the day I decided to commit to the University of Connecticut. It was the scariest, yet best decision that I have ever made in my entire life. After countless visits, hours driving, and phone calls made, I knew I had made the right choice. There are so many amazing things about every single school in the country, which makes the college decision that much harder. But from the moment I stepped foot on UConn’s campus I knew that I was born to Bleed Blue. It felt right. Everything about the campus and my new team seemed like my home away from home. As a girl from NY who spent most of her time in the Big Apple, I was about the embrace the farm life for the next 4 years of my life, and nothing could have made me happier.
How UConn Basketball Ignited School Spirit:
Storrs, CT is known as the basketball capital of the world. Right now coach Geno Auriemma and the women’s basketball team are preparing to play in their 11th consecutive Final Four. I don’t think many people would have guessed that he would reach this point when he stepped on campus in 1985. In my freshman year, I was lucky enough to witness both a women’s and men’s basketball National Championship. That success continued, and over the next 3 years I saw 2 more women’s championships and another men’s championship. The basketball program’s success had a unique influence on the school and the rest of the athletic community on campus. It made everyone proud to wear UCONN across our chests. The basketball team inspired every student at the university and helped bring everyone together on a united front to root for something amazing. From one athlete to another, they were incredible. Their work ethic and pride is one that not only I admired but one I had constantly hoped to achieve.
The women’s basketball team is one of the most loved teams in the entire country and their long list of successes cannot go unnoticed. They have inspired girls and boys both young and old and have given hope to everyone, showing that hard work and determination will get you far. Outside the wins, what’s most incredible is learning of their trials and tribulations. While this team might seem perfect on many fronts, every day they have to work just as hard if not harder to get better. I had the privilege of sitting in on one of their practices. Every rep of every drill was just as hard as the next. The reason they are so good is because they make each other better. They challenge each other, and no opponent was going to challenge them more than their own teammates. Nothing was handed to them. I hope if any young girl or boy takes anything away from this, it’s that talent can only get you so far. You have to work for everything and appreciate every single day you are given to play. Play every play harder than your last one.
In my junior year, the day before we played Notre Dame, Geno Auriemma stopped by our practice. For me and my teammates it was like a celebrity standing in front of us. He talked to us about always playing hard, never giving up and playing as a team. He ended his speech with these words of wisdom “Knock them down and when they get up, knock them down again.” Before this day we had never beaten Notre Dame, we had never made the Big East tournament and we had never made the NCAA tournament. The next day we went out and beat Notre Dame, which also gave us a spot in the Big East Tournament and later secured us a spot in the NCAA Tournament. That year we become the first team ever to achieve these goals. Obviously, Coach Auriemma wasn’t on the field with us or on our sidelines coaching, but his presence and his words resonated with us.
Being able to say that I attended and represented UCONN is a feeling that will never go away. I am so proud to have represented what I believe to be the most amazing school in the world. I would do just about anything to spend one more day there.
As we say at UConn, Students Today, Huskies Forever.