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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Cinderella has a ball

By Theresa Grentz

No matter how many years pass, the excitement of being in the Final Four -- not once, but three times -- as a player never fades from my memory. Of course, as a coach, it's more about the players and strategizing. But when you're out on the court, your only thoughts are about the ball, where it is, who has it and how your team is going to score.

On Oct. 14, the long-awaited movie "The Mighty Macs" had its world premiere at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. It was a whirlwind day for me that started bright and early when I, along with the film's director and executive producer, Tim Chambers, coach Cathy Rush and actor Katie Hayek, along with other members of the Sony staff, rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Talk about an honor. But time, and the stock market, waits for no man or woman, and we were quickly on our way back to Philadelphia for media interviews and a photo shoot for the cover of the upcoming Immaculata University Magazine.

It was the first time that almost all of us the 1972-74 Mighty Macs, were able to finally take the time for a real team photo. I can hardly wait to see the results.

Then it was on to the premiere, not in a stretch limo, but in a bus that you'd expect to see the three-time national college women's basketball champions travel in -- something that never happened in our playing days. Back then, there were the smoking car and the nonsmoking car. Things sure have changed for women athletes over the years.

Once we were out of the bus and onto the red carpet, the night went by so quickly. There were well over 2,000 people in attendance at the premiere, including Philadelphia's new Archbishop, Charles Chaput; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; players from the Flyers; the film's lead actors, Carla Gugino, David Boreanaz and Marley Shelton; and, of course, our families and friends.

I have to say, God sometimes works in the strangest ways, or, as I said when I was coaching at Illinois, Rutgers and St. Joseph's, God writes all things straight with a crooked line. A year ago, Bob Cole joined Immaculata as the new vice president for communications. He arrived from The University of Texas at El Paso. If you're having déjà vu, you should be. Yes, it's that UTEP. Home to the 1966 men's national college basketball champions -- then known as Texas Western College and coached by the legendary Don Haskins -- and the inspiration for the film "Glory Road."

When Bob got to Immaculata, one of the first things he did was help build a commemorative website for the Mighty Macs. But he didn't stop there; he has been the engineer for everything Mighty Macs since then, including creating a commemorative Mighty Macs magazine that, in my opinion, should be required reading by every college athlete in America. He was solely in charge of staging the world premiere event at the Kimmel Center, right down to creating custom lockers for the championship teams. If you didn't guess by now, we didn't have a locker room, let alone our own lockers.

Spending time with my teammates is something that I will cherish forever. Denise Conway Crawford, Marianne Crawford Stanley, Judy Marra Martelli and the rest of the group always look forward to retelling the old stores one more time. Today, Immaculata is lauded as the birthplace of modern college women's basketball, and the Mighty Macs as the Cinderella story for our generation and every other one that follows. To be honest, as much as I liked wearing my Chuck Taylor's on court, I sure do like how that glass slipper still fits, even after 40 years.