UVA Basketball May Have Lost, But They Still Deserve Respect

UVA Basketball May Have Lost, But They Still Deserve Respect

One loss to UMBC in the tournament does not define an entire season.
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At this point, I think that pretty much everyone knows that UVA basketball got crushed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. As of that game, no one left on ESPN's Tournament Challenge Website had a perfect bracket. UMBC essentially wrecked everyone. This was the first time that a 1 seed lost to a 16 seed and a lot of people are giving UVA heck about it.

People say that they've been overrated all season, that they can't cope with stressful situations in games, and, worst of all, that they don't deserve any respect anymore. I'm here to tell you that these are all false.

The Wahoos started the season as an unranked team just hoping to hit the pretty decent level they were at last year. They were a humble little team coached by someone who cares more about having good people than good players. But then something happened: they started winning. And not just winning, but winning a lot, winning frequently, winning big.

Suddenly, they were ranked.

Then, to the surprise of even the guys working for ESPN, they became the number one team in the nation and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. They play slow basketball, are defense-oriented, and care more about their character as people than their score on the court.

Statistically, they went 17-1 in the ACC and 31-3 overall. The closest team to that was Villanova, who went 14-4 in the Big Ten and 32-4 overall. They were ACC regular season champions outright and ACC tournament champions.

Tony Bennett was ACC Coach of the Year and is shortlisted for NCAA Coach of the Year. Kyle Guy was 1st Team All-ACC, Devon Hall Second Team, and Ty Jerome 3rd Team. Isaiah Wilkins was ACC Defensive Player of the Year and De'Andre Hunter was ACC Sixth Man of the Year.

So, still think they're overrated?

As to their not being able to handle the stress, I invite you to take a look at this video, in which Virginia managed to score 5 points in 0.9 seconds against Louisville to win the game and then talk to me about them handling stress. They might not have had a stellar game against UMBC, but they most certainly can play basketball down to the wire.

People saying that they no longer deserve respect is my biggest issue. First of all, everyone deserves respect. Second of all, this team is one that has fought hard all season to be recognized as being as good as they are. They worked and worked and worked and it showed on the court. Our starting 5 were great, but one of our great strengths was how strong our guys coming off the bench were, guys like De'Andre Hunter, Nigel Johnson, and Mamadi Diakite.

UMBC's live tweets during the game are now trending, but I want to address the one in which they demand respect. No self-respecting team with even an ounce of class would play like UMBC did during the last minute and a half of that game, no matter who their opponent was. To leave the starting 5 in and have them running down the floor dunking the basketball over and over on a team that had so obviously been defeated was uncalled for, classless, and just generally rude. This gets to the real heart of why UVA deserves respect: their attitude.

Tony Bennett leads his team as a family, as a group of good people who are also good basketball players. They are good humans first, good students second, and good players third. Bennett's 5 pillars that he expects each of his players to uphold are humility, passion, unity, servanthood, and thankfulness. He pushes them to be good people, toward what he thinks is more important than basketball.

The boys take these and apply them to everything, beyond just their time on the court or on the team, and I can honestly say that they apply them to their schoolwork.

UVA is no joke when it comes to schoolwork, being ranked the number 3 public school in the nation. I have personally sat in classrooms with athletes and let me just say that they are not any easier than my other classes. They are expected to meet the same demands as every other student.

Most of those guys came back to UVA after the loss just in time to start studying for midterms.

As for upholding the pillars on the court, I think their record and effort speak for that in itself. To look at this team and how far they've come in proof enough in itself. Yes, they had a bad game, but never say that they don't deserve respect.

Here's to another great season next year. Wahoowa!

Cover Image Credit: Instagram: @uvamenshoops

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30 Things I Would Rather Do Than Watch The Patriots Win Another Super Bowl

Because no one like the Patriots except the Patriots.
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The Patriots are definitely one of those teams that everyone loves to hate (myself included as a Steelers fan). With multiple past cheating scandals, it’s surprising that there isn’t more attention brought to the speculation that the refs are in their pocket. Somehow the rules are always in their favor just when you think they are going to lose. We are all tired of seeing the Patriots win in ways that only seem possible by ritual sacrifices and dirty politics. I don't even need to be a fan of who they're playing — here are 30 things I would rather do than see the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl this year.

1. Get a Brazilian bikini wax

2. Be allergic to the sun

3. Give up chocolate for the rest of my life

4. Get my wisdom teeth pulled… without anesthetic

5. Have to speak in front of a class in my underwear

6. Put my hand in a deep fryer

7. Have a bloody nose every day for the rest of my life

8. Use my first ever email address (saigepoo@aol.com)

9. Never be able to text again

10. Have to walk to class in the rain every day

11. Lose my wallet

12. Wait in line at the DMV

13. Be stuck in high school forever

14. Shave my head

15. Go without power for a week

16. Fall off a cliff

17. Get hit by a car

18. Run an ultramarathon

19. Never pet another dog

20. Walk on legos

21. Go on a juice cleanse

22. Have my car break down on the interstate

23. Bite my tongue over and over

24. Get a sunburn on my butt

25. Have to speak without using E’s

26. Be chased by a clown

27. Get braces... again

28. Never eat at Taco Bell again

29. Drop my phone in the toilet

30. Throw myself down a flight of stairs

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To All Of My Athletes, Thank You For Trusting Me To Be Your Coach

My first season as a high school diving coach is coming to a close, and I want all of the athletes I have ever coached to know how thankful I am for each of them.

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I started coaching at a young age. When I was 14, my tumbling coach let me assist in tumbling and cheerleading classes doing basic things like leading warm-ups and supervising younger athletes in the foam pit. By the time I was 19, I was running my own classes, open gyms and private lessons.

My boss, the athletes and their parents all watched me grow up from being a freshman in high school to a freshman in college, all while trusting me enough to coach these aspiring Olympians and ninjas and everything in between.

Having to leave my first coaching job to go to college broke my heart because each student became a huge part of my life.

I would help elementary students studying for spelling tests before our classes started and comfort middle schoolers who just had their heart crushed by their first major crush. Leaving all of that behind for a year was so difficult. I was lucky though because my sophomore year of college came with the opportunity to coach the high school club diving team from my hometown.

I had worked with high schoolers when I was in high school, but now that I am in college I took this job position knowing I needed to set an example of how to be a good student, athlete, leader and overall person for athletes that were in the process of applying for college. Now that my first season in this role has almost ended I am realizing all of these athletes taught me more than I could ever have taught them.

I am so thankful for that and I need each athlete to know that.

To my divers: Thank you for trusting me as your coach during this season. For a lot of you, this was your first experience diving and you let me learn how to do this job alongside you all learning how to be a diver. I know there will be a lot of room to improve for both of us as we work together through the rest of your time in high school and mine in college, but I really appreciate you sticking out the season through all the rough patches and letting me be here to help you succeed.

For my seniors that are about to go to city and state meets for one last time:

thank you for not quitting during this season! I know senior year is hard, I was just there. Senioritis is real, but I am so proud of the hard work and dedication each of you has put into the season. I could not care less about what the outcome of city and state meet are, I am just so lucky to have been your coach during your last high school season. I cannot wait to see where life takes all of you!

To all the athletes that let me coach them when I was still a high schooler:

Most of you probably will not ever see this or read this, but thank you for treating me like a big sister, babysitter, mentor, coach and everything in between. I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of as a person from dealing with toddler temper tantrums and high schoolers that are totally too cool to listen to a coach.

I would not be the responsible, caring person I am today if it were not for the good and bad days we all had together. I try to keep up with as many of you as I can on your journey through life and I pray that every single one of you will grow up to be an amazing athlete, student and person.

Lastly, I have to say thank you to my athlete's parents:

First of all, you all have some amazing kids! Second of all, even now, I look really young. I know it has to be odd having your child coached by someone who barely looks 13 years old, but I am so glad you all trust me.

Being able to coach your kids, interact with you all, and see the love and support you have for your athletes has really stuck with me and sits in my heart. So thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your child's life. I really appreciate everything I have learned from you all as parents.

Long story short, I will never be able to look each athlete and parent in the eye and tell them "thank you."

I also know there are so many other people I have interacted with as a coach I should thank, coworkers, all my bosses and other random people that walked into the gym, but I could go on for days listing gratitude.

All in all, to my past, present and future athletes, know that I am praying for you to be the incredible people I know you will grow up to be and I stand firm in the saying "once a coach, always a coach."

If you ever need me I will be here around to help you where I can, your success is and will always be important to me.

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