Friday, May 19, 2006

What Makes an MVP?

As Callahan voting opened I began to ponder this question. The open division seems pretty ... well, wide open. Florida has two outstanding players in Tim Gehret and Kurt Gibson. Dylan, Robbie Cahill, Oscar, and the combined four (or at least it should have been four, once the RC's had their say) candidates from Wisconsin and Colorado are all potential top-fivers.

But to me the women's side is decidedly one-sided. Alex Snyder. I know Bill Simmons has haters out there, but in writing about Kobe's credentials for the NBA MVP this season, he posited three poignant questions for the MVP Test:

Question No. 1: When remembering this season 10 years from now, which player will pop into your head first?

Alex Snyder, VC Poster GirlAlex Snyder. Lauren Casey, Pooja Shah, Megan O'Brien ... all great players, but Alex is the leader of her team. Quite literally a poster girl (see right) for the sport. The migraine at Regionals moved almost immediately from anecdote into the hazy realm of myth.

Question No. 2: In the proverbial giant pickup game with every women's college ultimate player waiting to play, who would be the first player picked this season?

This question is a bit more subjective. Gwen might take Lauren, but many of us—myself included, and maybe Alex Korb—would take Snyder.

Question No. 3: If you replaced every Callahan candidate with a decent player at their position for the entire season [more germane to basketball, but still], what would be the effect on their teams' records?

The most important question. And unequivocolly: Alex. I got mad love for Whit and C and the weapons both known and unknown on Kali. But take away Alex and this team is likely not at Nationals. Take away Lauren from Stanford and I almost guarantee they still have the No. 1 seed. UCLA had the misfortune of losing a key player this season and has the No. 2 seed in Columbus anyway. Remove Alex from the Kali formula and, like an asymptote, they approach Nationals but never get there.

Alex Snyder for Callahan. Vote now.


Sam TH said...

Of course, the real answer to question 1 is "whoever wins the Callahan this year", with a possible honorable mention to the best player on the national champion.

degs said...

Is that true though? (And if so, is it true for 2006 only?) I'm not sure. Last year Cara Crouch won the Callahan, but Enessa James and Stanford will be remembered by most... and Miranda Roth may be remembered by just as many.

In 2002 on the open side... who are we going to remember? Mike Zalisk? Probably not. Probably someone on Stanford, Whit, Bart Watson, etc.

pogo said...

> But take away Alex
> and this team is
> likely not at Nationals.

Ooof. Really?

No one could question my respect for Alex or my belief that she absolutely deserves to win the Callahan, but I know too well the talent and dedication of Kali's coaches, starting line, and second-string, and I just don't believe that Kali's success rests solely on the shoulders of one person -- however amazing a person she may be.