So I was thinking today that when I started this blog I said I’d try to focus on positive athletes, ones who are good role models and are worth you rooting for.
And I haven’t written about one in a while, so here goes: Let me introduce you to Elena Delle Donne, the biggest thing going in the state of Delaware right now (admittedly, it’s a tiny state, but I love it).
Delle Donne’s story was detailed in 2008 in this great story from the New York Times last year, and then updated very well by Selena Roberts in Sports Illustrated in November, but college basketball fans have known about her for a while.
The native of Wilmington, Del. was the No. 1 women’s basketball recruit in America in 2008. She’d had an awesome career in high school, and at 6-foot-5 could do everything on the court. She had her pick of colleges, and like most top players, picked UConn, by far the best program in the U.S.
But after two days on campus, Delle Donne bolted back to The First State. She said at the time she was burned out from basketball, which was perfectly understandable. As I’ve seen and railed against, amateur basketball is a cesspool of pressure and bad influences, and way, way too many games played by kids so young.
It turns out, though, that Delle Donne’s biggest reason for returning to Delaware emerged: She really missed her sister Lizzie. Lizzie was born blind, deaf and with cerebral palsy, and she and Elena have a tremendous bond.
Elena was heartsick at the thought of being away from her sister for four years at Connecticut, so she came home, and enrolled at the University of Delaware (my alma mater, thank you. Go UD!). She played volleyball last season, but then got the itch to play basketball again.
So now she’s back on the court, and is unstoppable again, and there’s excitement in Delaware over women’s basketball, which I can assure you has never happened before.
Delle Donne also happens to be a super-nice kid according to all, and as UD has piled up wins this season she’s stayed long after games to sign autographs.
It’s nice to see someone like Delle Donne say “no thanks” to the fame and spotlight of big-time sports, isn’t it?
***You want to know what you’ll lose if newspapers continue to die in this country? Instant results like this. Yesterday I wrote about a New York Times story that outraged me: clothing stores like Walmart and H&M were throwing out, and intentionally damaging, extra merchandise that couldn’t be sold, instead of donating the clothes to the poor or to charities.
Well, one day after being shamed before a million readers, H&M now says it will donate all unworn clothing at that NYC store to charity.
See, this is what newspapers do best. Bring miscarriages of justice to light, anger people, then force corrective action. Bravo.
***Finally, the train wreck that continues to be Mariah Carey once again gives us amusement. Here’s an apparently drunk Mariah at the Palm Springs Film Festival Tuesday night: She later admitted that she was, indeed, quite sloshed.