Jennie Finch should be the ‘Bear Down Leader’by Anthony Gimino on Jun. 30, 2010, under Sports
The website WildAboutAZCats.com — one of our partners in the TucsonCitizen.com Sports Network — has been running a bracket contest called “Bear Down Leader.”
It has pitted 32 of the greatest Arizona Wildcats athletes of all-time against each other, with readers voting for the winner.
It’s not strictly a “who’s best” argument, or who had the most lucrative pro career, or who is the most famous.
The way I’ve interpreted the competition is like this: Which former UA athlete do you think best represents Arizona?
The answer to that, for me, is Jennie Finch.
There were some upsets along the way, but the brackets eventually went to form with all the No. 1 seeds advancing to the Final Four (very close voting is about to wrap up … so get over there and vote!)
Finch is taking on Tedy Bruschi on one side of the bracket.
Old pals Steve Kerr and Sean Elliott are on the other side.
Can’t go wrong with any of them, and it would have been perfectly fine to have former world No. 1 golfer Annika Sorenstam and Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona in the Final Four, too. That’s a lot of class right there.
So … why Finch?
She is the face of her sport; in fact, she transcends her sport. The others can’t say that. She’s certainly been Googled more than the other three players combined. Yeah, some of that is because of her looks. But she has always backed it up with world-class performances and out-of-this-world kindness.
Girls all across the globe want to grow up to be like Jennie Finch … whether they play fastpitch softball or not.
The other three athletes remaining in the Bear Down Leader are all inspirations and all won championships at the highest level of their sport.
Bruschi is the poster boy for all-out effort, and his never-give-up style helped him come back from heart surgery and return to the NFL as a stroke survivor. He was added Tuesday to the 16-person President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.
Elliott was the first professional athlete to return after a kidney transplant. Kerr endured the tragic assassination of his father, Malcolm Kerr.
Really, you can’t go wrong with any pick in this Bear Down competition. I’d match these four human beings against any quartet of athletes that another school has produced.
But I’m sticking with Finch.
She’s so nice she couldn’t muster the ruthlessness necessary to survive very long when she appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice. That is one competition she couldn’t win.
But she can be the Bear Down Leader.