My hat’s off to the University of Kentucky Women’s Basketball Team.
The Lady Cats were the pre-season pick to finish 11th in the SEC. Last year, the Cats went 16-16 in the season with a 5-9 record in the SEC. This year Matthew Mitchell’s Cats post a season record of 23-6 overall, a school best 11-5 in the SEC and finish the regular season ranked 19th in the country.
A freak season? Not according to their peers. The season awards have been announced and, if this was the Olympics, the UK Cats have swept the podium. Drum roll please, here are the Wildcats that won SEC post-season awards:
Coach of the Year: Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky
Player of the Year: Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky
Freshman of the Year: A’dia Mathies, Kentucky
1st Team All-SEC: Victoria Dunlap
2nd Team All-Sec: A’dia Mathies
All-Freshman Team: A’dia Mathies
All-Defensive Team; Victoria Dunlap
Only one other team has won the SEC coach, player, and freshman of the year awards in the same year, the 1998 UT Vols that went on to win the National Championship. Congratulations to Coach Mitchell, Victoria Dunlap, and A’dia Mathies for an outstanding season and Good Luck for the post-season.
My hat’s off to Canada, oh, Canada. The XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada concluded with the closing ceremony on Sunday. It is a daunting task to expose your country to the eyes of the entire world to host a world-wide event of this caliber.
The Canadian Olympic committee, the people of Canada and the Canadian Olympic Teams represented their country with the high level of class one expects at the Olympics and should be proud of their efforts.
My hat’s off to the Canadian and USA Olympic Hockey Teams. The Gold Medal Game, won by Canada 3-2 in overtime, will go down as a classic. So it should.
Both teams played at a level that denies description. If you didn’t have an opportunity to watch, find it online. You don’t have to be a hockey fan to appreciate the teams’ efforts; being a sports fan will suffice.
Both teams filled their rosters with NHL players. It was basically the USA-NHL vs the Canadian-NHL All-Star Game. However, any resemblance to an All-Star game ends with that point.
These teams played hard.
They represented themselves and their countries well. We can all be proud of all of them, Canadian and American alike.
My favorite moment of the Gold Medal Game: Zach Parise of Team USA scored the goal to tie the game at 2-2 with 28 seconds left.
He was skating from the right to the left in front of the net, scored, and never slowing down, skated to the left corner and self-checked himself into the boards.
As a friend of ours said, “He got airborne. Baby!” Even the old East German Judge had to give him a 9.9 on that move.
My hat’s off to Team USA at the XXI Olympiad. The USA received 13 total medals at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan in 1998. At the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, Team USA received 37 total medals.
Team USA received 9 Gold, 15 Silver, and 13 Bronze. This is a record for total medals in the Winter Olympics.
Team USA won medals in the following disciplines: Alpine Sking-Men, Alpine Sking-Women, Bobsled-Men, Bobsled-Women, Figure Skating-Men, Figure Skating-Couples, Freestyle Sking-Women, Freestyle Sking-Men, Ice Hockey-Men, Ice Hockey-Women, Snowboarding-Men, Snowboarding-Women, Short Track Speed Skating-Women, Short Track Speed Skating-Men, Speed Skating-Men, and the Nordic Combine.
The Men’s 4 Man Bobsled team USA-1, nicknamed Night Train, won the 1st Gold Medal for the USA since 1948. Steven Holcomb, Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevic dominated the Whistler Track that is considered the fastest in the world.
My Favorite Moment for Team USA in the XXI Winter Olympics: The medals won by the Nordic Combine Team by the smallest of margins over the accomplishments of the rest of the Americans. The USA had never won a medal in the Nordic Combine in the history of the Olympic Games.
Bill Demong and Johnny Spillane went Gold-Silver in the Individual Large Hill, Johnny Spillane won Silver in the Individual Normal Hill, and after adding Bret Camerota and Todd Lodwick, the team won Silver in the Team Large Hill. (The difference between the large hill and the normal hill isn’t the size of the hill climbed in the cross-country section of the combine, it’s the size of the ski jump used. When they say Large Hill, it means LARGE JUMP)
Thank you, Team USA for your dedication to your sport. You have done your country proud.
My hat’s off to John Calipari. Once again, Coach Calipari has lent his name and likeness to help benefit a worthy cause. In this case, it’s the UK Symphony Orchestra and the School of Music’s Outreach Program.
The 2010 edition of Makers Mark’s “Most Beloved” series will feature coach Cal’s signature and likeness. They will be available on April 2 and priced in the high $40 range. Thanks, Coach.