up travel recreation creations
San Antonio, the Final Four - Stanford Women's Basketball

Historic San Antonio - The Missions

San Antonio - Walking Around the City

The City's Subterranean River Walk

Hanging out with team, families and fans

Game Day - Getting Ready to Play

Return to Spirit & Community page


On April 3, 2010, Carmen and I went to San Antonio, Texas to support the Stanford Women's Basketball team in their quest
for the National Championship of Women's Collegiate Basketball. We are season ticket holders and followed the team to both the Pac 10
Tournament in Los Angeles and the Western Regional Tournament in Sacramento, where they were victorious. In fact, we had been treated
to an undefeated home schedule throughout the last three seasons. These women play exceedingly well and seldom lose a game.

Stanford, ranked #2 in the country, was on a collision course with the #1 ranked, east-coast team, the University of Connecticut,
which seemed unstoppable. Both teams reached the finals and UConn prevailed, although, given the first 25 minutes of the game,
it was Stanford's game to win. It was agonizingly disappointing for the Stanford coaches, team, and fans, as it was for us.

As time eases forward, though, perspective begins to replace disappointment, and the real value of the game, the season, the intense effort
of players and coaches, and Carmen's and my cheers and sighs comes to the fore. We know why we have attended and enjoyed the games
in the past three seasons, and it was not to win (although we have enjoyed that aspect). Losing also has its lessons, and that is what
we would like to address here:

We enjoyed Stanford Women's basketball because the women who played the game were winners of the heart. They truly projected
the highest values of the sport in the way they played. They were unselfish team players who practiced hard and played hard, but never
with an attitude, certainly not the kind of chest-thumping, brash, and trash-talking attitude, which has come to dominate college and professional
sports in this day and age. We could fill pages with accolades and cite the qualities we observed in the Stanford women's play, but let us just
give one example of one of our player's behaviors this year.

During a home game this season, an opposing player went down in intense pain from a hard-fought play and didn't get up. She lay crying and
holding her knee as her trainer bent over to assist her. It was clear that she had a season-ending injury, probably an ACL tear to which athletes,
especially women, are vulnerable. She laid there for a long time with no one in the gymnasium, other than the trainer, offering to help. While both teams
huddled at their benches discussing game strategy, the trainer tried to help the player off the floor and back to the locker room. At this point Stanford
player JJ Hones got up from the Stanford bench, went out onto the court and helped the trainer carry the injured player off of the court to the locker room.

JJ's gesture was symbolic of the spirit of the young Stanford student athletes. They excel in basketball (with a 27 game winning streak this year), excel in
academics (100% of them graduate from a university with high academic standards), and they excel in life as citizens with honor and integrity (plus they are
very approachable). From our perspective, this is truly the definition of winning -- and these young ladies are, without a doubt, real winners!

Our final view of the 2010 Stanford Women's Basketball Team was in their exit after the Final Four game. As one would have expected there were
consoling hugs among the players and plenty of tears, but rather than hang their heads low and take their disappointment into the locker room, many
of these young women turned, smiled and waved to the fans before leaving the floor. Even in defeat, these warriors of the hardwood showed their appreciation
and kinship to those of us who had supported them all year. They knew instinctively what was far more important than their own disappointment and that was
their deep connection to their community. What huge lessons they have learned at such a young age as they prepare to play the much bigger game of life.

Go Stanford!