Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A meaningful visit

There were obviously illuminating smiles on the members of the national championship UConn women's basketball team when the Huskies were honored by President Barack Obama in a ceremony at the East Room of the White House on Monday.

However, the Huskies were in a much more serious mood a couple hours earlier when they visited injured soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Seeing the soldiers, many of them the same age as the players themselves, made the UConn players and coaches a different perspective on things.

"We definitely don't take freedom for granted," Kalana Greene said. "Those guys on the battlefield, for them to fight for this country there aren't too many guys who would want to do that."

As his players answered questions about the trip to the hospital, UConn coach Geno Auriemma quietly shook his head in approval. When the Huskies travel during the season, he makes every effort to broaden their horizons by taking them to historical landmarks so it should not come as a shock that a trip to the hospital was on the UConn itinerary.

"I am glad that we went over there first before we came over here because I don't know if it would have been appropriate after having a high like this and see what those kids have been through," Auriemma said. "You are struck by how young they are, how they can endure what has happened to them, yet if gave everyone of them a choice of laying in that bed and staying home the rest of your life or get on a plane and go back there, to a man they would choose to go back there and be with their friends and teammates. We talk about team but that is at a whole other level and I think our country is fortunate to have people like that growing up here and putting themselves out there to do stuff like that. I wouldn't wish it on anybody."

The fact that this could be the last time the entire UConn team gets together was not lost on Maya Moore, UConn's dynamic rising junior forward.

"I was just smiling in the last day," Moore said. "It was a celebration and (she was) kind of also feeling really small. Realizing being in the White House you realize how much more goes on when you visit the hospital, you appreciate things a little bit more. What we did during the season was amazing but I think it is cool to be able to appreciate the amazing people like the President and Mrs. Obama, it kind of inspires us to want to continue."

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