Saturday, December 18, 2010

Streak, streak, streak: Huskies aren't the only ones

Streak, streak, streak, streak.

UConn's 87-game win streak, looking to become 88 on Sunday against Ohio State, reminds me of another. Old Dominion won 113 straight Colonial Athletic Association games from February 1995 until February 2001. Is the mark as significant? No, not saying that. But how similar some of the talk feels.

At some point during that era, ODU conference games became more about the streak and less about the games themselves. Each win was heaped on a pile of other wins; one wasn't more and wasn't less, either. The whole idea was to keep the streak going. Wendy Larry would walk into a media room ready to field questions about her team's shooting percentage or rebound margin on a particular night when instead an out-of-town reporter would start with questions about The Streak. How do you stay motivated? How often do you talk about it? Streak, streak, streak.

Larry would say the Lady Monarchs never talked about it. Games are individual games, entities among themselves, not just fodder for a streak. No one ODU team won 113 CAA games straight much like no one UConn team has won 87 straight. It's a program mark shared by players over the years.

It didn't matter what Larry said. It doesn't matter that Geno would prefer to talk about this particular team being 9-0 rather than 87-0. It was all about the streak, at first adding to it and then about who would break it. There was a lose watch surrounding ODU years before its first league loss in six years, which came to James Madison by a point on Feb. 18, 2001. Everybody wanted to be there to witness it. The wins became afterthoughts and as the second half would spiral out of control, the victory was thrown into the pile with the rest. You could almost hear the sound of "Next."

So in the midst of this UConn streak, which is a wonderful milestone for a program to achieve, it is unnerving that so much emphasis is on the actual number and less emphasis on what it actually means. UConn's one-point squeaker over Baylor last month is shoved into the same pile as the Huskies' blowout win over Howard that followed that.

That's what happens when it becomes about streak, streak, streak. It's easy just to focus on the number. The problem becomes when that's the only focus.

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