As a University of Connecticut alumnus, naturally I was aware two years ago of the phenomenal freshman season of Paige Bueckers. I had never seen a female basketball player, that good, that young. It seemed as if there was nothing that she couldn’t do on the court. Like many other fans, I was swept up in the team’s entire season, and was a bit disappointed when they got knocked out in the final four. Still, their accomplishments were many.
This year, another player has emerged who, perhaps, exceeds the prowess of Paige Bueckers. Caitlin Clark, as everyone now knows, has lead her team to the finals of the NCAA tournament. She had been good at an early age, playing against her brothers, then making most of the U.S. youth teams which played abroad.
When she entered college she was slight of build, but still a remarkable talent. She could score from almost anywhere, and she passed with the precision of Sue Bird.
You Work Hard, You Get Better
Over last summer, I’m told, she worked out extensively in the weight room building up her body and her stamina. It paid off. She was just named AP Player of the Year, and is the first woman in basketball history to score 41 points in consecutive games, and deep in the NCAA tournament. At the University of Iowa (!) of all places, seeing her lift up her team of decent but not extraordinary athletes is, in ways, miraculous.
What is the difference for me between Paige Bueckers and Caitlin Clark? Paige Bueckers is extremely talented, but I personally draw inspiration from Caitlin Clark. Although I am decades older than she, watching her makes me want to be a better athlete. As she does things on the court that don’t seem possible, it makes me believe that I can be better at swimming, basketball, running, pickle ball, aerobics, and anything else in which I engage.
So, thank you Caitlin Clark, for whatever it is you do that creates a magical feeling among those who watch you. It certainly has happened to me.
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Republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.
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