Sister Jean

Loyola-Chicago's team chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, garnered a large national following during the NCAA Tournament. 

Our sports editor, Dylan Dixon, has spent the past week trying to convince me of the most ludicrous, most asinine thought he has ever had. He believes that Loyola-Chicago’s team chaplain, Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt, is not worth any of the coverage she received.

“SiStEr JeAn Is So AnNoYiNg,” he said.

May the good Sister bless your cold heart, my angry sir. We need to keep Nicolas Cage away from her, because Sister Jean is a national treasure.

Dixon and people like him came out of the woodwork leading up to the Final Four matchup between Loyola-Chicago and Michigan when she held a press conference on Friday. The room she occupied was flooded with reporters and photographers all clamoring for a sight and a soundbite from blessed Jean.

Was she offering valuable insight or analysis that was in any way relevant to the state of college basketball in general or to Loyola specifically?

If the good Sister will excuse my language: Hell no.

What she did offer was one more chance for the nation to get acquainted with her before she fell off the map once Loyola crashed and burned. We should all be grateful that we even live in the same time period as this Earth-bound angel.

“BuT sHe ToOk AwAy AtTeNtIoN fRoM dEsErViNg PlAyErS,” Dixon whined like a jealous toddler.

Quick, name a college athlete who actually enjoys talking to the press. I’ll probably be waiting for an answer forever because there really aren’t any. If you’ve ever wondered why sports quotes are riddled with clichés more so than most other quotes, well, that’d be why.

Don’t take my word for it though. Loyola’s players said as much after the hype surrounding the good Sister reached peak interest. Redshirt junior guard Clayton Custer said he wanted the world to get to know her and hear her message. Freshman forward Cameron Krutwig approached the subject from a team perspective.

“She’s become a huge celebrity, and she’s a great part of this team,” Krutwig said. “A lot of people know our name now in college hoops, and her impact has been as great as ours.”

Celebrity is definitely the right word for Sister Jean’s rise to stardom. I feel that when you get a Twitter shoutout from Obama, then yeah, you’ve made it into the lexicon of the average American.

So complain all you’d like about how it isn’t fair to other players. They’d rather not deal with the press in the first place. Protest ad nauseam that her words had no effect on the game whatsoever. Words rarely do.

If you’d really like to say that her analysis was lacking, well, I can’t really help you with that. I can only shake my head in disbelief that you would willingly dismiss the adorableness of a sweet, wheelchair-bound old lady in favor of the expert ramblings of Charles Barkley.

Morgan McMullen is the online sports editor at The Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin and contact him at [email protected].

Morgan is the online sports editor at the Alligator. He has previously covered the Gators women's golf and women's basketball teams. He began working at the Alligator in Spring 2016.