It’s not often that we graduates of the University of Delaware get to puff out our chests and boast of our athletic prowess in ANY sport, but 2013 has been an embarrassment of riches so far.
First our best quarterback ever, Joe Flacco, leads the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl. And now, capping off a magnificent, never-before-seen-in-our-little state career, the transcendent Elena Delle Donne has led the Blue Hens women’s basketball team to the Sweet 16 for the first time ever.
If you don’t know who Delle Donne is, she’s only one of the top five women’s basketball players in the country, and as I’ve written about her many times on this blog before, it’s a miracle she’s at a non-powerhouse like UD in the first place. But through personal circumstances and incredibly good luck (for UD), she came back to her home state four years ago and has led a remarkable surge to the upper echelon of women’s hoops.
Last year the Blue Hens and the 6-foot-5 Delle Donne (watch VP and Delaware alum Joe Biden gush about her here) won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time, and this year they’re doing even better. Tuesday night before a sold-out crowd at the on-campus arena, the Bob Carpenter Center (which believe me, never sold out for men’s or women’s games before Delle Donne came, even when UD won), the Blue Hens advanced to their first-ever Sweet 16 by beating national powerhouse North Carolina. (Of course as a Duke fan I love it when any UNC team loses, but to have my tiny alma mater beat ’em? So sweet).
It’s beyond any Delaware fan’s wildest dreams to think one of our basketball teams could do this well, and I absolutely know that is is a one-shot deal; Delle Donne fell into Delaware’s lap and we’re never likely to have such a great player or team again.
But hey, for right now, it’s just special to see. Saturday at noon, UD plays Kentucky on ESPN2. For the first time in my life, I’m DVR’ing a Delaware women’s game.
On behalf of all Blue Hen alums, Elena, thanks for putting our school on the map again.
**And now a little musical tribute you’ll either find hilarious, a little disgusting, or both. Count me on the “both” category. I’d love to know how many Simon and Garfunkel records this kid has listened to, and how long he practiced this “song.” Well done, son.
**Finally today, this is just a terrible case of a bad thing happening after a great thing to a man named David Ranta.
Last week Ranta, 58, was set free after 23 years in prison, where he had been wrongly held after being convicted of a murder he did not commit. After two decades prosecutors finally admitted that the evidence against Ranta didn’t add up, and his 1991 sentence was thrown out.
On his second day of freedom, Ranta suffered a major heart attack and was hospitalized over the weekend.
Fortunately, it appears he’s making a recovery and should be OK. But can you imagine the horrible karma of that; being freed finally after 23 years, getting your life back as a free man, and then two days later almost dying?
Just really not right. Here’s hoping Ranta gets to live out a nice long life after spending so much of it behind bars, unjustly.