Where were you ten years ago today? Readers of The Game of Life will recall the story of the Williams women’s lacrosse team, spending May 18, 1996 in Williamstown taking exams while the Amherst team that they had thrashed during the season took their place in the NCAA tournament. Williams was ranked #2 in the nation at the time. The Record archives don’t go back that far, but I believe that it was the biggest campus dispute of 1996. (Someone should add an entry to Willipedia.)

Start here to read the sad story. I am certain that those Ephs, having gone on to careers and marriage and children, are still more than a bit bitter over the lost opportunity. Indeed, there was a letter in the Alumni Review a few years ago on the topic.

There is little doubt in my mind that it would have been better to let those women play.

And — Good news! — Williams continues to get better with each passing year. The Eph softball team is heading to the NCAA championship this week-end. Finals be damned!

Whether they are prepared or not, these final weeks in college provide a unique dichotomy for the Williams softball Class of 2006. While their school year is winding down, their athletic careers have reached the highest level possible.

“Right now, I’m focusing on getting my thesis done,” Hard said. “And then I’ll focus on softball as soon as we head out of here tomorrow. I’m trying to take it one step at a time.”

Coincidentally or not, since Williams head coach Kris Herman took over the squad three years ago, it has been her goal for the Ephs to improve one year at a time. In her inaugural year, Williams lost in the New England Regional finals. Last season, her squad reached the Championships, but went two and out.

Obviously, the next step would be to improve on that.

Herman sounds like an excellent coach. I hope that she gives a toast to the 1996 women’s lacrosse team the evening before the first game in Raleigh. One of the reasons that her team has an opportunity today is because they fought so hard a decade ago.

Side note: Herman has told softball alumni that she wants to involve them more in the program, connect them to current students. Excellent idea! One way to start would be to have someone on the team write and Eph Diary about the next three weeks here at EphBlog. There is a great story to be told.

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