Weve tipped our hat to the Schimmel sisters, Shoni and Jude, but as their remarkable run to the national title game comes to a close, we dont think that tip is near enough.
These gals deserve a bow, a party, a parade. The turnout for the title game watch party at Wildhorse Casino tells us that.
Hundreds of people showed up to cheer and watch the game there, and countless others tuned in on the tube at homes and sports bars both here in Eastern Oregon and across the nation.
And that, really, speaks to how remarkable these two talented young women are.
They got big billing in the New York Times, their names were bantered about on National Public Radio and CNN.
They embraced their underdog role from the beginning, and helped craft their teams identity in the process.
It was the strength of that identity, the willingness to take risk and belief in their abilities that led the Cardinals to such heights.
That they come up short in the end is just a footnote.
The real story is the journey that got them there.
The Schimmels are as remarkable a sports story as has come to our part of the world in a long time.
In fact, it is as remarkable and interesting a tale as has come to womens sports in just as long.
Monday nights mens national title game between Louisville and Michigan was great basketball. It was high-flying and physical, filled with remarkable plays and superbly talented players.
Although the womens national title game wasnt as much a nail-biter, Louisvilles Sweet 16 upset of Baylor was as exciting as sports can be ?of any gender.
And thats what has made this story so cool.
For weeks the talk around the newsroom has been about college basketball and no one has made a distinction between the mens and womens tournament.
Thats a great sign for womens athletics.
We dont want to be too hyperbolic, but for a moment the Schimmels are two of the most famous female athletes in the country.
And they are Native Americans. And they are Oregonians.?And they are from here.
And they are champions, no matter the final score.
We couldnt help but notice a sign in the crowd Tuesday that read Mrs. Schimmel, send more daughters.
How wonderful.?A world that needs, and appreciates, talented women.