Sunday, August 29, 2004

There Is Something About Dawn Staley

When I was 14 or 15, I became infatuated with Virginia Cavaliers' Women Basketball team. Holt, Hawkins, Carter and Anderson were in their last year at UVa and they lost to Tennessee in Elite Eight. I was worried about the next year's edition.

Darrell Avery barged in my dormitory bedroom so violently that the thick door banged on the wall and back to the other wall. He then saw the metal trash can and kicked it -- it flew across the room -- when it crashed on the wall, it created a loud vibration that I cannot ignore ... I stared at Darrell. He said, "Good news! Dawn Staley signed with Virginia!"

Who is Dawn Staley? I asked him, he stared at me and his voice boomed as he signed rapidly: She is the best player ever to come to Virginia!! Watch out!! Funny zero!!

Fast forward to a year later, Dawn Staley made an impact as a freshman at Virginia. But I hadn't gotten a chance to watch her play. Then an opportunity comes up as Virginia was playing 4th-ranked team, Maryland Terrapins. As I was sitting to watch the first few minutes of the game, I was impressed with Dawn Staley in the first 20 seconds of the game as she swiped a ball for a basket right after the tip-off of the game. As Maryland attempted to inbound the ball to another player, Dawn then stole the ball again and banked in another basket.

Wow. I became a fan of Dawn Staley ever since. There are times that she made me mad. Staley loves to pass more than score a basket. In one game, it was inevitable that she has to score in order to beat one team, who else? Maryland. Coach Ryan jokingly made a threat that if she does not score enough, she'll walk back home tonight. Sure enough, Staley got the message and scored 24 points in an upset of No. 1 Maryland. I was at the game in front of 14,500 plus crowd, it was awesome to see thousands of fans being devastated with their home team as Virginia pulled the carpet to win the game.

Today, Dawn Staley indicated that she is done with the Olympics. She gathered 3 gold medals and unbeatable in international competitions since '94. In 1992, the USOC decided not to pick Dawn Staley for Barcelona '92 Olympics. The local papers in Virginia and DC ridiculed the USOC decision. The USA team then lost to the Russians. Then in '94, they decided to bring her on. Ever since, they never lost in a span of 205 games.

Staley Celebrating For The Last Time as Olympian

Staley came from Philadelphia's poor neighborhood and she had nothing but her dignity. She just conquered the world for 10 years. As of now, she is playing for WNBA's Charlotte Stings. And she also is the Head Coach of Temple Owls.

It is my hope that someday, she will return to Charlottesville as the Head Coach of Virginia Cavaliers.


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