No player is above the team


Patrick Newell

As he saw it, Bob Conway dropped the ball Friday night in B-G’s final MAC league game of the season. Conway called himself (insert expletive) afterward, and some others closely associated with Conway may have shared a similar opinion.
In the late stages of a tightly contested, intense basketball game with Oxford last Friday, Conway ’s niece, Dani Conway, moved past the 1,000-point mark for her career. Coach Conway was aware at the start that she needed 20 points to reach the milestone, but did not have his usual scorer on hand at the head table to start the contest, and most of all, he was making every effort to win his “team” a basketball game.
Conway beat himself up for not recognizing Dani’s significant individual accomplishment, but let’s not forget, basketball is the perfect example of a team sport in which all of the cogs need to work cohesively to achieve success. Conway said his team was playing awful at the start, and in the midst of trying to win a game – and finish a perfect division record – Dani’s 1,000th point was not in the forefront of his mind.
Conway reached her milestone at a point where the outcome was still in doubt. It wasn’t until the final minute that B-G salted the game away, at which point Dani had already fouled out and was no longer on the floor.
Immediately following the game, Conway recognized his oversight, and felt terrible. But let’s be fair here. There is a time and place to stop a basketball game and go through a brief ceremony recognizing an individual player’s record or accomplishment. This was not an appropriate time. As we noted above, it was an extremely competitive game between two longtime rivals. Oxford was trying to add the one and only blemish to a perfect team’s league record, so to stop the flow and momentum of a close game would be totally unfair to the Blackhawks club.
Had this happened in the first half or in a blowout situation later in the game, by all means, go ahead and stop the game. To take umbrage with a coach thinking about winning a game first before an individual’s personal accomplishment is selfish thinking. To reiterate a familar adage: “No player is above the team.”
There is a time and a place for that type of recognition. In hindsight, Coach Conway could have notified the crowd in a post-game speech about Dani’s scoring mark, however, that is Monday morning quarterbacking on my part, and in the moment, we do not always think quickly on our feet.
Yes, Dani should get her due recognition, and she will before the Bobcats’ next home game. Dani is a terrific player who will add significantly to her points total over the remainder of this season, and next season. To those familiar with the B-G basketball program, in their opinion, Coach Conway made an egregious mistake. I, on the other hand, am willing to cut him some slack. In nearly 25 years of coaching, Conway has rarely missed on anything relating to his team, and his 385 career wins have earned him some extra rope.