If you hold a basketball in your hands and look down on it from above, the seams which hold the leather together can look something like rays of sun emanating from the center of the ball.
It is apt, then, that the UConn Basketball program, which has brought Connecticut students and residents so much joy over the years, is one small ray of sunshine in the face of the increasingly bleak world. As the pandemic continues to rage on in the United States and a third wave builds in Connecticut, UConn women’s and men’s basketball is back.
Practices have begun for both teams as the NCAA shoots for a late November start to the season. Exciting new recruits like Paige Buckets — oh sorry, Paige Bueckers — and Andre Jackson are getting up shots on campus. Dan Hurley and Geno Auriemma are giving optimistic press conferences. If you squint hard enough, it almost feels like everything is back to normal.
Of course, the basketball season will not be quite the same without those electric nights in Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center, or the thrill of watching UConn dismantle Syracuse in packed Madison Square Garden. But in the face of so much suffering and what has been an incredibly jarring and disconnected semester, UConn basketball is truly a shining ray of hope. As much of Husky Nation lives at home, off campus or takes the semester off, it’s been hard to feel the unity as a school — a unity we took for granted in the past. With basketball back, we may have a chance to reclaim that shared Husky Pride. For those few hours a week when our teams hit the hardwood, we may be able to feel united in spirit, if only for a moment.
It may not be perfect, but it sure is better than no basketball.