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I Never Thought I Would…

Photo by Duane Miller

A friend, Terry, emailed me today about collaborating on project around story-telling. Story has been in my wheelhouse for awhile, from the time that I started blogging in 2005 and writing personal essays about raising kids and being self-employed to running “brand story” workshops to guiding clients on telling a compelling narrative on their LinkedIn profile.

I suggest to Terry that we meet on a Weds evening in March. When he suggested March 6, I replied,

“Can we do March 13 instead? I have become a fan of the Iowa women’s basketball team and they will likely be playing on March 6. The following week, there’s no women’s basketball.”

I never thought I would prioritize watching sports–any sports, let alone women’s basketball. In the same way that I thought I would never need to enter a pet supply store, and then found myself adoring and taking care of a cat adopted at a local shelter, I have been smitten.

My calendar is filled with the dates of remaining Iowa games, where Caitlin Clark is the star of the show. But as anyone who has watched the Hawkeyes play knows, it’s not just one star athlete. It’s a star team that’s just so much fun to watch. Clark is the shiny attraction that draws me to the living room on Sunday afternoons and Thursday nights, settled in my lounging chair and ottoman, with a lap blanket and a lit gas fireplace. Iowa winters were made for watching sports on tv. I whoop it up for great passes, 3-pointers swooshing in, and scoring in the paint (it took me awhile to figure what the announcers meant by that). After the final buzzer, I stick around to watch the game highlights.

I never thought I would understand the appeal of being a sports fan. Now, I get it. There’s the thrill of the unexpected. Each game is a surprise, especially in the Big Ten (except for when Northwestern, my alma mater, plays.) And oh, the joy of seeing a perfectly synchronized pass that results in a score. I feel the comfort of belonging, in being part of a shared experience. Pride in my new hometown (Iowa City) has blossomed, seeing the Carver-Hawkeye arena filled with fans on national display.

Much has been written and said about Caitlin Clark. She exemplifies the competitive spirit. She was interviewed after breaking the all-time NCAA women’s basketball scoring record. Before heading to the locker room at half-time, Clark slipped this into the conversation: “We need to get better on defense.”  (BTW–Love that t-shirt mantra: “You break it. You own it.”) She’s grace under pressure combined with humility. She plays to elevate the sport, not just herself. She’s generous with her time to inspire young girls. Being a sports fan also means soaking in great leadership, game after game.

I never thought I would write a post about watching women’s basketball.

There’s a lot of things I never thought I would be doing. I surprise myself. And that’s a good thing.

Go surprise yourself. Do something you never thought you would do.


  1. Irv Kooris on February 22, 2024 at 10:56 PM

    Go Hawkeyes, and high five to their new fan.

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