A young woman from my alma mater by the name of Aly Beebe is in her freshman year at Stanford University. She was a basketball superstar in high school, leading St. Joseph to a state championship (which, in California, is seriously difficult – the best high school girls’ team I ever saw never even made it to the finals.) I checked some box scores early in the season this year and found, to my dismay, that she was not getting into games. What I found out eventually is that she is ‘red-shirting’ this season, which means she is on the roster, practices and travels with the team, but does not play in games and (this is the key) does not use up one of her four seasons of eligibility. This made some sense, finally; Stanford is one of the deepest, most talented teams in the world of women’s college basketball and they have an amazing player named Chiney Ogwumike who plays the same position as Aly. (Here is a good article about Chiney that appears on the sfgate.com site.)
After learning about this situation, I was actually foolish enough to feel sorry for Aly. I really wanted to see her play on the big stage. But the article on Chiney dumped a bucket of reality over my head, metaphorically speaking, and woke me up to the following:
1. Aly (an excellent student) is getting an education at a world-class university (free!) where she has the opportunity to take classes such as those described in the article.
2. She gets a year to adjust to a very different world from a small high school in the suburbs. As a point of comparison, the gym at St. Joe’s is probably smaller than the coach’s offices at Stanford.
3. She practices with and against players like Chiney every day in practice. She learns the plays, the defenses, and the work ethic that she’ll need for next year.
Not a bad deal, I think. I’ll just have to be patient and wait for my chance to see her shine.