Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Annual Maryland Banquet, Version 2010

It took a little effort to decipher this sign, but as far as we know, all the folks planning to attend managed to find their way to the "Grandball" Room!

For the BasketCases, Maryland's season is not officially over until after the annual team banquet. Yes, we know that WNBA training camp started today, and we'll be writing about the Mystics very soon, but today was all about celebrating a group of talented and gracious young women who proudly wore the red, white and black this season, and about putting that final punctuation mark on their 2009-10 efforts.

For the first time in four years, there was no Maryland senior heading off to the WNBA. We were afraid it might make this year's version of the banquet somewhat less enjoyable, less exciting. But, as a matter of fact, that wasn't the case at all. To be sure, the banquet was different, but still great. It kind of had a family feel to it. The large --and diverse -- Terp family of players, coaches, staff, and fans who attended were there to celebrate the people who wear the uniform, not championships or draft choices. As we honored the departing seniors, what made this one different for us was that this evening's banquet was less about future basketball and more about future life.

One thing that always remains the same: some of the players (including Co-Rookies of the Year, Diandra and Tianna, above) like to WOW us with some sartorial choices we certainly never see them wear on the court. As Coach B said about the entire team, "they clean up pretty well."

Clearly, sophomore "veteran" Lynetta gets her height -- and her great smile -- from her Mom.

Coach B called each of the freshmen up to the podium one by one, noting their many rookie accomplishments. (BTW, there was no clear favorite for the annual Marissa Coleman Shortest Skirt Award . . . all in all, a pretty conservative bunch. We call it a 3-way tie.)

The sophs had their turn at the podium as well. For a change, Kim wasn't on crutches, but Yemi was!

And no banquet would be complete without the senior farewell speeches. Lori (who was voted by the coaches as Terp Player of the Year) went first and delivered a truly heartfelt and emotional speech in which she thanked everyone for making her feel so welcome at Maryland after her transfer. The standing ovation and cheers that Lori received at the end were just another indication of how much she had endeared herself to the fans and become such a valued member of the Terps program.

Lori is hoping to play some ball overseas for a bit, with medical school very likely to follow. As Coach B noted, if Lori does end up practicing medicine, she can't imagine being in better hands. (The BCs hope she'll accept Medicare.)

Lori's parents made the trip from Iowa (via Kansas City, apparently) to attend today's banquet. If you didn't get at least a little teary eyed (like everybody at our table did) when Lori literally broke down thanking her family for all of the sacrifices they've made for her . . . well, maybe next year you should attend the Duke banquet instead.

And then it was Emery's turn at the mic. Like Lori, she spread around plenty of heartfelt thanks . . . Coach B, her teammates, the fans -- and, of course, her parents, whose support has been absolutely phenomenal (as we've written about in this blog previously). But our lasting impression of Emery's speech was how polished, professional, humorous . . . and sincere it was. After witnessing her presentation, will the BCs be surprised to see Emery with a mic in her hands someday when we turn on our TV? No, to the contrary, we'll only be surprised if we don't. Like Lori, Emery has a promising post-basketball future ahead of her.

The evening concluded with a highlight film -- including plently of clips of departing seniors Lori and Emery. As we watched, we realized once again what a privilege it is for us, the fans, to see these young women arrive on campus, see them work hard at their dreams, see them develop into young adults, and, finally, see them exit, more mature and more ready to take on the world. We are reminded once again that the Maryland women's program is not just about basketball . . . it's also about people.

We thank Lori and Emery for everything they have given to Maryland and once again wish them all the very best in the future.

And now that the 2009-10 season is officially over, we can't wait for the next season to begin! Bring on 2010-11! Go Terps!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases


At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your blog.
The banquet was smaller than the last few years, but still a great banquet. Love it!

At 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The banquet was great! Loved both Rev/Coach Wallace's and Lori "LB/Meat & Potatoes" Bjork's speeches- both are class acts! Happy the new "Wonder Twins" received Co-Rookie of the Year award! They're just a great group of young ladies, each one of them is a class act! I cannot WAIT til next season! Go Terps! mcb

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love this team. Thanks for all of your hard work. I'm not normally a banquet fan, but every year I really enjoy this one. Hard not to have a few tears in my eyes each time with the seniors.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed the banquet, but enjoyed your coverage. Happened upon this article about Marissa and thought I would share.

Mystics STH B100

At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Literally laughed out loud at your Marissa shortest skirt line!!


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