Sun Shines On High School Girls’ Basketball Champions
Whalen was the keynote speaker for the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Girls’ High School Basketball Championship banquet, which brought together the eight teams that would compete for state titles in four different classes the following day. The banquet was underwritten by the Connecticut Sun, which also presented each member of every team with a messenger bag featuring the Sun logo.
Introduced to the audience by Channel 30 sports anchor/banquet M.C. Kevin Nathan following a short highlight video, Whalen drew chuckles from the crowd while recalling how, as an eighth grader, she would provide color commentary while videotaping the high school varsity games.
Whalen explained that many of her favorite memories from her days as a high school player revolved around off-the-court experiences. She remembers the time spent with her Hutchinson (Minn.) High teammates during long bus rides, fast-food stops and pizza nights, as much as the wins and losses.
Whalen also had a more serious point to make to the players about not taking the experience they were about to have for granted. Noting that for all she has accomplished on the court, she never had the chance to play for a state championship in high school, she advised the players to make sure they appreciated what they had accomplished, and to savor the moment.
“It will go fast,” she said.
Whalen has become a familiar face to high school girls’ basketball players around the region over the past two years, making stops at various games around Connecticut and Rhode Island as part of the Sun High School Girls’ Basketball JAMM Tour. Whalen and the Sun have visited games from New Haven to Westerly, R.I., and she was also the guest speaker at the 2005 Rhode Island High School Awards Banquet.