Ruminations on the Meaning of "Success"
I couldn't just let the topic go, though, so, on this lazy Sunday morning, I find myself ruminating about some of the ideas, and I'll also share where I agree and disagree with Case on what I would consider a successful season for each of the women's sports teams at UofL.
Sports fans seem to frequently define success as achievements specifically within sports for their team and/or the individuals of that team. Towards the more reasonable end of the sports fandom spectrum, you'll find fans that see success not just in National Championships, but steps along the way. It seems pretty rare, in my perception, to find many sports fans that look for success beyond that, and I think that's something of a shame. Case mentioned Brian Brohm and Luke Hancock. Brohm is in the coaching staff at Purdue where his brother is head coach, and Luke, after playing limited pro ball suffered a career ending injury and is now a financial advisor.
Of course, my sport of choice is Volleyball, so I'd like to highlight some of the spectrum of success that see coming out of that team over the past years.
professional volleyball. The first that come to mind are Lola Arslanbeckova, and Erin Fairs. Lola had several years of playing professional volleyball, mostly in Puerto Rico, but has since had a child and is spending some time being a mother. Where does more success come from there? I have no children of my own (I have a niece and a nephew, both of whom are absolutely delightful, and I find tremendous joy in being an uncle), but I surely tip my hat to those who chose to have children and raise them well. That's a contract that's at least a couple of decades long. Erin Fairs is about to start playing professional volleyball with her 4th team in Romania. She has already spent time in Sweden, Puerto Rico, and Turkey and has seen a great deal of team success on those teams. Is there non-sports professional life ahead for Erin? I have no clue, but from the little I got to know her in her year with the Cardinals, I have little doubt that whatever is ahead for her, it will be able to be described as successful.
But what about some other volleyball players? Emily Juhl was a great hitter and server for the Cardinals, but chose not to pursue a professional sports career. Emily is enrolled in the UofL School of Dentistry, and has already had the opportunity to put her developing skills in that field to some charitable use. You could disagree about how much success she had on the volleyball court at UofL, and what impact she had on the team, though I think, pretty clearly, it would be an disagreement about degree of success, rather than success vs failure. Clearly, though, she is a success story in what she is doing with her life "post-sports".
Friday, I posted a fun article about Gabbie Wiley playing in a Mud Volleyball tournament back home in Hannibal, MO. But let's talk a little bit more about Gabbie, not only is she tearing it up as a defensive and serving specialist, but she's been named to pretty much every honor roll list announced for the past couple of years, making (just on a quick check) the Athletic Director Honor Roll at UofL for multiple years, but also the ACC Honor Roll. Let's remember that she's a pre-med student, while playing D1 varsity Volleyball. This is not a light workload, by any stretch of the imagination. I don't expect Gabbie to go play pro volleyball anywhere, but I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone who knows this young woman, even to the limited degree that I know her, that would say she is and will be anything but a success.
As much as I love to rip the NCAA as an organization, there is one slogan they have that is good to remember. "....Most will be going professional in something other than sports." Let's not shortchange the success to be found there.
What About the Teams, Though?
OK, a couple of quick thoughts about what success will mean for the UofL Women's sports teams this year.
Soccer: Generally agree, here. Also, I'm not as knowledgable about soccer, so defer quite a bit to Case and Paulie's judgements here.
Field Hockey: Generally agree, again. Though 5 losses probably doesn't earn you a top 2 spot in the ACC in this sport.
Volleyball: Top 4 in the ACC would be a moderate success for me. I think this team can win the conference, and I'd like to see them advance to the 2nd weekend of NCAA tournament play.
Basketball: I don't think anything short of a Final Four appearance will be considered a fully successful season for this sport anymore. Top 3 in conference, Elite Eight in NCAA is a good season, though.
Lacrosse: Top 3 in conference is probably good for top 5 in the nation in this sport. I'd agree with that criteria, but bump up the tournament expectations to a Semi's appearance.
Softball: Top 3 in conference is probably pretty good (I doubt anyone takes FSU out of the top spot if they're half as good as they were this year), and I think a Super Regional appearance that goes 3 games would definitely crown a successful season.
THE CARDINAL COUPLE RADIO HOUR
We had a great time in the studio yesterday with Paulie, Worldwide, Case and Jared! A GREAT interview with Asia Taylor, a challenging quiz (for some) and our usual totally irrelevant, off the subject rants and diversions. DID YOU MISS IT?
Not to worry....the replay is HERE