Once a Lady Griz, Always a Lady Griz

By KRISTA REDPATH PYRON

If there’s one word I would use to sum up the Lady Griz basketball program, it would be family.

Little did I know that a summer day in 1994 would change my life and my family forever.  Coach Rob called our home phone (now an antiquated device in itself) while my parents were out, and my grandmother answered,  “Redpaths.”  Rob asked for me, and the rest is honestly a blur.

Somewhere he asked me if I wanted to play basketball for the Lady Griz. I, of course, could barely contain my excitement as I said yes.  I am sure if you talked to more of us “alums,” there would be similar stories. After all, I grew up a Montana kid who idolized Lady Griz basketball.

I really didn’t fully comprehend that the five-year commitment I was making at age 17 would be a lifelong journey involving those very same people to this day. My family grew that day and I didn’t even know it.
How do I elaborate on this connection, or even put it into words? You just know where your heart and loyalty are, like you do with family. I feel it every time I walk into Dahlberg Arena before each home game.

It’s the conversations that I have with our fans who talk to me like I am on my way into the locker room to suit up, even though the last time I put on a uniform was over ten years ago. They care and they pay attention.

It’s that same handful of fans who continue to call me Greta instead of Krista, and although I would be so lucky to be mistaken for Greta, it brings a smile to my face. They just don’t forget us, even if they don’t get the blonde ponytail right!

Our coaches don’t forget, either. There is a lot of love and loyalty behind the scenes of Lady Griz basketball.  I credit Rob as being one of the biggest influences in my life next to my mom, dad, and husband. Due to his game antics, he is often misunderstood by people that don’t know our program intimately, but he is our biggest supporter in all areas of our life and continues to guide us well beyond the basketball court.

For all these reasons, no matter where life’s journeys take me, I can always count on my Lady Griz family.

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Krista Redpath Pyron played basketball for the Lady Griz from 1995-2000 and went on to play professional basketball for Virum in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Krista is self-employed and resides in beautiful Missoula with her husband Dave and their two young boys, Evan & Oliver.  She looks forward to writing frequently about her extended family–The LadyGriz.