Before exposing my two-year old to the elements and Terry Vaughn's comical refereeing at RFK, we took her up to Columbia for the UM Rebounders' second annual minigolf tournament for the University of Maryland Women's basketball team.
The event was fantastic, our daughter had a great time, and our admiration for the program grew in result.
Although I am a passionate sports fan, I am not drawn to sports for social interactions. I will not go to a movie theater or playhouse by myself, but have no problem flying solo to a stadium to watch a game.
So, this might be the first time I have wanted to join a supporters' group and get to know its members. The first thing conveyed by the Rebounders at the event is that they are an extremely nice group of people. The second thing conveyed is that the Rebounder volunteers genuinely make people feel welcome. We knew no one there, but were treated warmly and left to our own devices to enjoy the event.
But the third thing -- and this is the most important takeaway -- is a sense of the intense pride felt in the great history of women's basketball at the University of Maryland. At the first hole on the minigolf course, the "celebrity" host for that hole introduced herself to us as Dottie McKnight. And we had no idea who she was... A hole earlier I took a bad prat fall on the green trying to stop my daughter's putt from going into a sand trap. Chris Weller came by to make sure that I didn't hurt anything beyond my pride. And we had no idea who she was...
That level of ignorance is embarrassing. But if either Coach McKnight or Coach Weller were put off by our cluelessness, they did not show it. And while we did not know who they were at the time, we've remedied that now.
We weren't unaware of everyone on the course and brief interactions with some of the current players and coaching staff underscored the quality of the program. And my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about Lori Bjork's time in Transylvania playing professional basketball this past European season.
Our sincerest thanks to the Rebounders for organizing the event and for making it open to the public.