Lady Griz Basketball is in the Air!

By KRISTA REDPATH PYRON

This time of year I always get this familiar feeling in my gut. Crisp mornings, followed by late afternoon warm sun, early sunsets, and… the gym! Yes, Lady Griz basketball is in the air!

Even though my competitive days playing for the Lady Griz ended some time ago, the excitement surrounding fall in Missoula signifies new basketball beginnings. Wipe away the previous year’s honors, accolades, and any disappointments, because we start over, baby!

Each year that I get further away from actually competing, I become more of a Super Fan. I know that sounds ridiculous and maybe a little groupie-ish. After all, the majority of the players were toddlers back when I suited up. In fact, I know a couple that are (literally) related to the program that I have been following through their own Lady Griz mamas for years.

So what makes this year’s team any different from the other 30-plus years? Well, a few things.

First off, different player dynamics mixed with maturity. Will the new freshman contribute right away? Some of last year’s young stars are not so “young” anymore.

They grew up right before our eyes as they almost upset UCLA in the first round of the NCAA tournament last March. They played a lot of basketball this summer, which warms my heart and brings me back to many summer days of rat ball at Playfair with Megan Harrington, Greta Koss, and Skyla Sisco. I have also noticed that they have brought back sparkles – face, nails, hair – you name it. I can relate. I liked the glam look, too, with just a touch oflipstick.

I have many Lady Griz memories, many having to do with winning games. However, Ann Lake’s bedazzled, copper Griz-colored fingernails for the Griz/Bobcat rivalry game ranks high up there. It was a tradition that I brought back, new colors and all, a few short years later.

All exterior vanity aside, these girls are pretty good basketball players and yet, they have a lot to prove. That is what makes the start of this new season exciting.

Of course, unknowns are a given, as they always are at this time of year, but one thing you can count on is a team that will give 100%. Rob wouldn’t have it any other way.

Don’t believe me? Come to a game and sit somewhere near the Lady Griz bench. You will become a believer. I will warn you that it is not always PG, but you will see heart, commitment, and player/coach respect that is not found in too many other programs.

Although there are many years between my playing days and this present team, you know I will be tuning in to every game, and you should, too. I promise it will be worth your while.

Lady Griz basketball is in the air!

*******************

Want to hear more from Krista? Check out her other posts: Once a Lady Griz, Always a Lady Griz, The Heart of the Matter, and My Version of Valentine’s Day.

*******************

Krista Redpath Pyron played basketball for the Lady Griz from 1995-2000. She 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 and Oliver. She looks forward to writing frequently about her extended family – The LadyGriz.