Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Root For: University of Connecticut Huskies

Here in the home of sports futility, I intend on occasionally highlighting the reasons I root for the teams I do. Now, as the image at the top of this blog shows, I have amassed an unusual stable of favorite teams for someone who lives in Southern California. Between the four of them, they have exactly three championship appearances, and zero championships to show for them. But, there are a few teams I like that do have a history of winning. And since we are on the cusp of the NCAA basketball Final Four, I'd like to highlight my favorite team in that realm, the University of Connecticut Huskies, also known simply as UConn.

I really root for two teams in college basketball, the other being the University of Kentucky Wildcats. My father was a big fan of UK, and started watching college hoops in the early 1980s. We have family in Kentucky, so it came quite natural to associate the two. Being young and somewhat naive, I would watch the games with my father and listen studiously to the scoreboard report during halftime. They didn't have the cool, flashy graphics they have now, so usually it was just someone reading the scores. The score reader (usually Brent Musburger, gag) would refer to games featuring UConn. Being a child with a huge interest in geography, I heard this as Yukon. I was fascinated with the thought that the northern Canadian province competed against some of the more esteemed US colleges, and over the course of a number of years I began to develop a soft spot for the Huskies. (you have to admit that it makes sense that a team located above the Arctic Circle would have a Husky as its mascot. At least it did when I was 11) Of course I felt rather silly when I did realize that Yukon was actually Connecticut, but my loyalty was cemented.

The Huskies have made appearances in four Final Fours (1999, 2004, 2009 and the current 2011 tournament) having won the NCAA Championship twice (1999 and 2004) Their opponent on Saturday playing for a chance to go for a third title? Yeah. The University of Kentucky.

Somehow I think my father would understand. He passed away in 2005, and I'd love for the chance to sit and watch this game with him. No matter who wins, I have someone to root for in the finals, but I'm hoping for a UConn win.

Oh, and UConn's women's hoops team ain't so bad either! Maybe they'll sweep again like they did in 2004.

Of course, I have the cap.

My original UConn New Era fitted. I've had this one since 1996. A bit dusty from storage. Note the difference in the embroidery.

And here is my University of Kentucky Wildcats cap. For my dad.

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