Breaking records and breaking boundaries

Marchaè Grair

It’s women’s history month. And basketball season.

I happen to be both a proud woman and a basketball fan, so I cannot ignore the accomplishments of the record-breaking Huskies.

For those of you who aren’t basketball fans, the Huskies are the women’s basketball team from the University of Connecticut that just broke its own record for a winning streak by winning its 71st game in a row. The Huskies’ winning streak started in 2008, and the team will probably win the NCAA championship this year.

Records aside, the UConn basketball team is one of the classiest sports teams I have ever seen. It stepped off of the court after breaking an astounding record, showed respect to the other team and left the court as if it just won a normal game.

The could-be trash talkers handle themselves as true role models as Division I athletes should.

In light of the great team the Huskies are and the records they have broken, they are still absent from the radars of most sports fans who would rather watch anything but a woman in a jersey.

Many praise the Huskies for being “good, female athletes,” instead of simply congratulating them for being the talented athletes they are, gender aside.

I tuned in to ESPN to watch some highlights and interviews from the latest win, and I was surprised to see all of the athletes interviewed about the team’s new record were men. ESPN seemed to forget the millions of female athletes they could have interviewed about the team, including one of many talented women who play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

In the world of sports and beyond, women and men still live in a separate but equal existence. It seems as if gender roles are too hard for society to disregard or reconstruct. Even in something as universal as sports, the sports world cannot celebrate for women without relentlessly pointing out that they are women first and athletes second.

When I was a young girl, I remember going to a Cleveland Rockers game. I was so excited to see a reflection of myself as I looked out into what was then the Gund Arena.

Most people probably did not know Cleveland ever had a professional women’s basketball team, and that’s probably why the Cleveland Rockers don’t exist today. Sadly, women’s sports at the professional, collegiate and even high school level cannot garner the same respect, funding or support as men’s sports.

Sports are one of the most lucrative industries in our country, and the social divisions within it speak a lot about the social divisions that exist outside of it.

I congratulate the Huskies for being more than an outstanding women’s team. Congratulations for simply being champions.

Marchaè Grair is a senior electronic media management major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].