I’ll never forget the first time I had an encounter with the NDWBB program, it was the fall of 2000 and Ruth Riley had come to speak to the junior high students at our youth ministry at Granger Community Church. One student asked her what her favorite movie was and she said, “Hoosiers.” I had never seen this movie but later in the basketball season would see a real life Hoosier movie play out. I had no idea who she was but as I watched that season I soon found out who she was. One of the students asked her, what was her goal for that year and she said to, “win the National Championship.” And that she did! I watched faithfully on t.v. that year as they beat teams time and time again. I was working at the South Bend Airport for Delta, the day they beat UCONN and being on the team bus taking them out to their flight, you could hear a pin drop. Not a single word was heard. I watched as they proceed to the National Championship in April 2001 in St. Louis. I watched as they battled their way to the top against the in state rival of Purdue. This was a true life Hoosier movie playing out! There was just a few seconds left in the game with Purdue ahead and Purdue fouls, Riley is at the line and makes both shots bringing home the National Championship for the first time in Notre Dame history! I watched this again while at work at the airport. I got off just after the team had landed and knew there was going to be a party on campus. I headed over and joined in welcoming the team bus back to campus. I had no idea of the rich tradition and joined with the students in singing the Notre Dame fight song. I was not a student at Notre Dame but just a local who felt part of a community that night. From that season on I have been a fan of Notre Dame Womens Basketball.
Notre Dame Women’s basketball stands for all the young girls who dream of playing one day for the Irish. It represents the hours that young girls spend shooting hoops to perfect that 3 pointer, it represents the countless driveway pick up games in neighborhoods across America. It represents that Women can succeed at a sport that has mainly been dominated by men. Go to the Joyce and see the crowds that go and support these young women faithfully every game. We try to attend 2 games/season and each time we are in the cheap seats but those cheap seats provide life lessons as all around us are dads and daughters young and old watching the game and learning from the plays being made on the court. They cheer loud, the cheer proud because here come the IRISH of Notre Dame!
As a girl growing up in Indiana I had dreams of one day playing basketball on a team but that never transpired due to lack of coordination and do you know it really takes talent and a lot of work to shoot a basket! When I watch the Notre Dame women I am living a dream through them. A dream of wining!
This past Sunday we had the opportunity to attend the Boston College game and after the team had a singing, it was icing on the cake, these young women just played their hearts out for 2 hours and now they are up meeting fans. Fans that have a dream of one day being like them. That is respectful! Same with their Head Coach Muffet, she was walking out the door and some fans including myself asked if we could get pictures with her, she took her coat off and obliged. Such genuine, real people who make up this team.