Jim Souhan
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We are awash in games. In a market featuring all of the major sports and a slew of successful teams in what should never be termed minor sports, there is always an event commanding our attention.

That's why we should revisit what happened last Wednesday morning, when Minnesota history occurred.

Lynx coach and General Manager Cheryl Reeve was named the head coach of Team USA Basketball, meaning she will coach in the Paris Olympics in 2024.

There is only one moment in Minnesota sports history that compares to this: when the Gophers' Herb Brooks became the USA hockey coach for Lake Placid in 1980.

That's where the comparisons end. College hockey, at the time, was even more of a niche sport than it is now, with most of the playing and coaching talent concentrated in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.

Brooks was an easy choice. He had just led the Gophers to a third national title. He also faced relatively low expectations. Everyone knew that Russia and a few European teams would be favored to win medals. The USA team was young, inexperienced and, judging from some early exhibitions, not all that good.

Brooks became a national hero by leading them to a victory over Russia and the gold medal at a time when Russia was viewed as America's primary adversary.

Reeve faces a far different challenge. She will coach the team that compares to those great Russian hockey squads, who couldn't conceive of losing.

She also faced much tougher competition for the job, because Team USA could have chosen any number of excellent college coaches or accomplished WNBA coaches, and will face tougher competition in the arena, as women's basketball, unlike hockey, becomes a world-wide sport.

Her task, in terms of public perception, will be thankless.

Brooks became a hero by leading one of the greatest upsets in USA history.

Reeve could win every game by 20 points and, to some, be considered a placeholder for a dynasty.

Which is no longer true. Women's basketball is far more competitive today than when the USA's current streak of seven straight gold medals began.

To become responsible for this team is an honor and a challenge, and this is the perfect time to let provincialism rule. One of ours has ascended to the loftiest perch in a major sport.

This is also the latest of a million reminders that every powerhouse figure in sport owns a quaint, improbable origin story.

Reeve cried when her college coach yelled at her for turning the ball over. She played at LaSalle, became an assistant coach there, then at George Washington, before taking her first head coaching job, at Indiana State.

She became a WNBA assistant in Charlotte, Cleveland and Detroit for nine years before the Minnesota Lynx hired her to run a franchise that had missed the playoffs in nine of its 11 seasons and had never won a playoff series.

Reeve won four WNBA titles, was named league coach of the year three times, then became general manager as well as coach, and immediately won the executive of the year award. She has led the Lynx to the playoffs in each of the last 11 seasons.

She has the highest overall winning percentage and has won the most postseason games in league history.

As a kid, her Air Force dad and work-at-home mom couldn't afford extravagant travel. "If we traveled by car somewhere, that was a big deal,'' Reeve said. "Since my dad has passed, my wife and I decided we were going to take our moms on a European trip. When my mom stood before the Eiffel Tower, I've never seen my mom like that, she was so emotional.

"She told me, no pressure, but you'd better get there, so I can go with you.''