Friday, May 2, 2014

Mayor Rahm snubs the Lady Dolphins basketball team

Posted By on 05.02.14 at 05:00 PM

Mayor Rahm invited Whitney Youngs state-champion boys basketball team to be honored at City Hall. Why not Youngs girls basketball champs?
  • Brian O'Mahoney/Sun-Times Media
  • Mayor Rahm invited Whitney Young's state-champion boys basketball team to be honored at City Hall. Why not Young's girls basketball champs?
On Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel brought Whitney Young's boys basketball team to City Hall to take a bow in front of the aldermen and receive a resolution honoring their "star-studded team" for winning the state championship.

Go Dolphins!

The only problem is that the boys are not the only members of a "star-studded" championship basketball team from Young. The Lady Dolphins, Young's girls' team, also won the state title.

But Mayor Emanuel didn't invite them to City Hall, or even issue a resolution offering them his "heartiest congratulations."

Geez, Mr. Mayor. For your sake, I hope you haven't forgotten that women also get to vote.

Apparently, this is another example of the mayor's utter ignorance about sports—one of my favorite topics.

For the record, I do not care if he does not care about sports. But it is sort of funny to watch him pretend he cares in order to stay vaguely connected to sports-obsessed Chicagoans, whose votes he covets.

Oh, if only elections were limited to hedge fund guys—right, Mr. Mayor?

This has led to some embarrassing moments, like last year's spectacle when, while trying to relate to deliriously jubilant Blackhawks fans, the mayor said that Bobby Hull had passed.

Which caught Bobby Hull—the greatest Hawk ever—very much by surprise.

As far as I can tell, Mayor Emanuel started showing his love for high school basketball in 2011, when, coincidentally, he was on the campaign trail.

That year, he all but surgically attached himself to the hip of B-ball superstar Jabari Parker as he and his Simeon teammates rolled to a state title.

Since then, he's made a point of showing up for the big boys' games featuring Simeon, Young, Morgan Park, and other powerhouses.

In fact, on April 2, he invited the Morgan Park boys' team to City Hall to congratulate them on winning the 3A basketball championship (for high schools with smaller enrollments).

He followed up by inviting Young's boys' team in on Wednesday. The mayor might have got an inkling of his oversight when Alderman Bob Fioretti rose at the meeting to note that Young's girls' team had also won its state championship.

"I think it's an amazing accomplishment that one school could win both the men's and women's championships," says Fioretti. "I think we should have had both teams come down for Wednesday's meeting. We should always honor the best together."

It's a pretty significant oversight, since Young's girls' team is an even greater powerhouse than the boys'. Under coach Corry Irvin, the Lady Dolphins have won three state championships and six consecutive city titles.

For that matter, Mr. Mayor, you didn't invite the Lady Dolphins to City Hall when they won the state championship in 2012. Just saying . . .

Moreover, Irvin's coached some great players, including Amanda Thompson, Danielle Campbell, Linnae Harper, and D'Frantz Smart, the best point guard, boy or girl, ever to come out of Chicago. In my opinion, of course.

By the way, Mayor E., feel free to use this info in a resolution should you ever get around to honoring the Lady Dolphins.

When the Lady Dolphins discovered Young's boys' team had been honored, they were upset. "I think it was very unfair to the girls," Irvin says. "I think it leaves a message that boys' sports are more important than girls' sports. Girls should be honored in the same manner as boys—they're certainly working just as hard."

What makes it worse is that the mayor should have known better. Corry Irvin happens to be a sister-in-law to Nick Irvin, the boys basketball coach at Morgan Park. "When they got honored at City Hall, Nick told the mayor's aides not to forget the girls' team from Young," says Corry. "And we still didn't get invited."

Earlier today I asked the mayor's press office for comment, and a spokeswoman e-mailed back: "The intention is to honor the team at the next City Council meeting. One basketball team has been honored at each of the last two meetings—Morgan Park and Whitney Young boys."

You know, like the mayor's office has been planning to do it this way all along and the omission wasn't an oversight.

If so, the timing's curious. Young's girls' team won its championship on March 8—two weeks before Morgan Park and Young's boys' teams won on March 22.

So you'd figure the Lady Dolphins would have been the first championship team invited to City Hall. Or at least the mayor's office would have notified them that he planned to honor them.

But the first time Corry Irvin heard about the mayor's plans to bring them to City Hall was when I told her about it. As you might imagine, she was a little skeptical.

"Yeah, right, it was their intention," she said. "It was their intention 'cause it was brought up to them."

Well said, coach.

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