Every March, there is a swarm of trolls that go after the UConn women’s basketball team. We all know the drill: UConn blows out an opponent and people proclaim that the Huskies are killing the sport because of their dominance.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell is one of these trolls when it comes to UConn ruining the game. He took to Twitter after a UConn victory to describe how the Huskies’ dominance is bad for women’s basketball while some other dynasties were good for their respective sports. It was an argument that was hard to follow and made no sense.
Let’s get one thing straight: UConn is not bad for the game (and I can’t believe we still have to say that). Anyone who believes UConn’s dominance hurts the game is unequivocally wrong and clearly did not watch any of the three incredible (and commercially successful) games in the Final Four that proved women’s basketball is doing just fine.
However, this year, Rovell started a new “hot take” that didn’t resonate very well with UConn Twitter. On March 5, the Huskies had a 43-5 halftime lead over Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference semifinals. Rovell tweeted a screenshot of the score with the caption, “Does a UConn fan even find this enjoyable?”
Does a UConn fan even find this enjoyable? pic.twitter.com/qyeRaVoLrL
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 6, 2018
UConn fans blew up, insisting that dominance is obviously fun and claiming that everybody likes winning.
Obviously, you would rather see your team win than lose. But the idea that a blowout game is boring is not at all irrational and the responses on Twitter caught me by surprise.
Rovell was asking a reasonable question. Whether you enjoy blowout wins is up to you, and as weird as it is to find myself sticking up for Rovell, I don’t particularly enjoy them.
When I watch a game, I prefer competition and drama to domination and one-sided highlights. Give me games where every minute matters over games that are done after one quarter. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate excellence, but I’m not really interested in watching it for 40 minutes.
The UConn women’s highlights are amazing when they win by 50, but watching the whole game is like visiting Mount Rushmore for 40 straight days. Both are spectacles that provide plenty of entertainment and deserve appreciation and respect, but they get old after a while.
Geno Auriemma himself expressed after multiple games how surprised he was that the fans stayed for the duration of the game. He understands that the ends of these games don’t leave much intrigue and credited fans for staying when they could easily find something else to do.
When the Huskies are dominating games in the American, there’s virtually no chance of victory for the opponent. That’s what makes the second half of games like Cincinnati rather boring.
I waited until after the season to write this column in hope that we’d be reminded of how enjoyable close games are. Watching UConn win by large margins is incredible, but as we saw in the Final Four, so are close games.
UConn lost to Notre Dame in the national semifinal. It sucked for Huskies fans. It ripped our hearts out. But at the same time, it was easily the best game of the year. The stakes probably had something to do with that, but every moment was crucial and we were on the edge of our seat for the entire fourth quarter.
That’s what I want in a game. If you gave me the option of watching that loss to Notre Dame or watching UConn win by 50, I’d watch the Notre Dame loss every single time. It’s an opinion, and what I prefer might not be what you prefer.
My extended family has actually debated this several times over the years. “Would you rather win in a blowout or lose a close game?” The answers vary, and the fact that some people would rather see a close game ending in a loss than win in a blowout proves that it’s not so obscure to think blowouts aren’t very fun.
The UConn women aren’t to blame here. They should continue dominating opponents and continue to be great despite any belief they’re hurting the game. The object of every game is to win, and they do a pretty damn good job at it.
The UConn fans? Relax. If you enjoy blowout wins, you had plenty to love this season. I’m not normally one to stick up for Darren Rovell, but pick on him for his corny red carpet pictures and leave him alone for this surprisingly reasonable opinion.
Josh Buser is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.