“Goodbye and hello to you Shawntinice Polk.” We will miss you but now we can remember you as no female athlete at the University of Arizona has ever been remembered. You deserve it. You are the best female basketball player that the school has ever seen.
I am glad that we retired your jersey last Saturday at McKale Center. I am glad that no other player will ever wear the number “00.” No other athlete, even if she is as talented as you, will ever be you. You are “one in a million.” Polkey, you exemplified life itself. You, at times, were crabby and difficult and felt badly about yourself. You, at times, were joyful and assured, confident in your ability to dominate the Pac-10. You always were yourself. I am sure that you are still yourself, and Heaven is the better for it!
As you know, your team has struggled. They have struggled because they miss you. They have grieved for you and your presence on the court has been irreplaceable. Don’t be angry at your teammates. They have tried their best all season but they just didn’t have the manpower. You probably laughed a little when all of your friends started hitting their heads and having to sit out so many games. Somehow, you would have found a way to make us smile through that difficult time. You would have had a smart line when you looked at Arizona’s bench at Oregon and you saw just two players sitting there. Oh, we miss you so much!
I am sure that, if there are any regrets in Heaven, you wish you could have taken on some of the post-players that have killed the Cats this season. You would have eaten Kim Butler from Oregon State, Kate Benz of Washington State, and others, for lunch. This was going to be your time and your season. I am sorry that you couldn’t share it with us. But I know that we have the tough end of the deal because you have found exactly what you were always striving for; perfect peace and happiness.
Polkey, I want you to know, that when we retired your jersey on Saturday, a whole lot of important people were there to see it. The governor was there, Dr. Likens (your buddy) was there, many members of your family were on hand, and your teammates cried a lot because they love you.
There will never be another one like you. We all love you. I am so glad that your jersey now hangs in the rafters of McKale Center. After all, you owned the place. And now every time I broadcast a game I can say to you, “hello and goodbye.”
See you on the radio!
*All regular-season and postseason games will be heard live on 1330 AM KJLL Radio!