ToquiNotes: Not Bitter or Beaten after Season-Ending Knee Injury, Miki Glenn Ready for Life's Next Chapter
It wasn’t too long ago on this very Web site I was able to write a story on Bridgeport High School alumna Miki Glenn. It wasn’t my first story and I was hoping it wouldn’t be the last.
I’m assuming this won’t be my last either. While this may be sports related, it’s more about the beauty of perspective at a time when being left with a sour taste in one’s mouth would have been totally acceptable.
We’ll get there toward the end. That I promise.
For those that don’t know this already, the former state championship basketball player for the Indians had carried her success over into the realm of college basketball and had not only already managed to win a national championship two years ago, but had just entered the rarified air of scoring 2,000 points in her college career. She is only the fourth player in the history of California (Pa.) to do that.
And to be honest, after learning she was chosen as the Division II Conference Commissioner's Association (D2CCA) Atlantic Region Player of the Year just a few days ago that would have been the most likely next story or that her team was once again going to earn the right to go to the Elite 8 in Division II hoops. While the honor for the top player in her region is noteworthy, what’s also noteworthy is that the Vulcans didn’t make it to the last eight schools standing.
They made a valiant run, mind you. But they fell short in the title game. The Vulcans lost 85-69 to Virginia Union in the regional title game on their home floor.
Here’s what made that run valiant. The highly talented Cal squad did it entirely without Miki Glenn. Glenn was injured in the first game of the postseason – in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) tournament against Edinboro – prior to advancing as an at-large team to the regional.
“I still remember it clearly. It was the first game of the postseason, back on March 1 and it was five minutes into the game,” said Glenn. “I was playing defense and stopped to get the angle and my left leg buckled in and out real quick. I knew something was wrong right away. Something didn’t feel right and I wasn’t able to return.”
Although she may not have processed it at the time, Miki Glenn had played her final collegiate game. The injury that almost immediately let her know she couldn’t return to the game was bad enough that surgery is in the very near future.
“I found out later that I tore my MCL and my ACL was not only detached from the root, but it took a piece of bone with it,” said Glenn. “The only good news was that it wasn’t a tear of my ACL, but it’s not a good injury.”
She met Thursday with an orthopedic surgeon. From there, a better timetable and path to recovery will be charted out.
Glenn was adamant when she left the floor that her team’s chances of making it back to the Elite 8 didn’t go with her. She said she had confidence that there was enough talent to get there. And they nearly did, but fell in the finals of the PSAC tournament and then in the last game of the regional to put a cap on her career and the Vulcans’ season.
Would the 5’7 guard’s presence have made a difference? It’s hard to say that it wouldn’t.
She led the Atlantic Region in scoring this year at 18.9 points per game. Glenn finished third in the country with 3.83 steals a game and was eighth nationally with 6.2 assists per game.
The real capper? Glenn finished as the first player in PSAC history to finish her career with more than 2,000 points, 500 assists and 300 steals.
“I knew for sure I was done after the PSAC tournament. That’s when I found out for sure,” said Glenn.
At that time, she went from the team’s leader on the floor to the team’s leader on the bench. The role was unexpected, but in true team player fashion she made the most of it.
“It was different and, honestly, it’s not something you want to do,” she said. “I’m not going to lie. It sucked.
“One of the unique positives is that when you’re watching the entire game from the bench you have a perspective that’s different because you can see things that the coaches see that are the mistakes they get on you about,” Glenn continue. “When you’re on the floor things are so fast you don’t realize it. When you sit and take it in, you see it.”
Eventually, she saw her role develop as the team played six games without her. Each time, she said, she decided to do what she could to help.
“I knew the team needed me to be a positive voice for them. I knew it meant something because we’ve been together for so long and we have a great coach that has everyone in the right direction so I needed to be there for them,” said Glenn. “You think about the awards like the player of the year and the other stuff, but you forget about that when you’re trying to help your teammates who made all of that possible. I’m certainly pleased to be considered among the best, but that’s a team honor and the team still had games to play.”
Glenn didn’t have any games left. For those that know most sports junkies and workaholics like Glenn, they may figure that Glenn walks away from college sports bitter.
What makes her special, beyond the court and as a person, is that she’s not bitter. She gets what her college experience was and continues to be about. As much as basketball is associated with Miki Glenn, it’s not what sums up who she is. She’s a teammate, a daughter and a friend. She’s never lost sight of that.
“To put this much time and effort into something made it difficult, but I’ve had great times here and great coaches and teammates. I’ve loved my time playing here and I’ve loved my time being here for my studies,” she said. “I look back and it’s hard to have regrets because every part of this experience is far more good than bad. When I thought about it from that angle, I left the game with peace of mind.”
Now, she has to determine if her immediate future will be resting on her studies in chemistry or her other goal – to continue playing basketball. Glenn had planned to work with the coaches and others on a chance to play professionally, perhaps in Europe.
The dream is temporarily delayed. It has not been doused.
“I’m on a different road now with that. I need recovery and I need time to work hard to get to where I was before,” said Glenn. “I still hope to play. I’m hoping this is just a detour.”
Legendary rapper Rakim said long before Glenn was ever born that there are “potholes and obstacles in a path that's righteous; at times you need a hand to fight this.” Miki Glenn will use her own hands to battle back and reach out to those from the past and the present when she needs a little assistance to avoid any pothole or obstacle on that new road.
After all, detours aren’t stop signs. They just need to be maneuvered around. I don’t think anyone wants to bet against Miki Glenn reaching her final destination.
Editor's Note: Top photos of Glenn courtesy of the California (Pa.) Web site. Bottom photos of Glenn at BHS by Ben Queen of www.benqueenphotography.com.