Saturday, August 16, 2008

1977-79 Sportscaster #102-12 Flo Hyman

Most Cougar fans can name the first African American athletes to get a scholarship to the University of Houston, but can you name the first woman? It's Flo Hyman. I knew Flo was a great volleyball player, but I didn't know how influential and important she was.

In addition to being the first woman to receive an athletic scholarship to UH, she was a three time All American. In 1977, she was named the top female collegiate volleyball player. She was also the first female Coog to be inducted into UH's Hall of Honor. She left UH after her junior year to pursue the Olympic dream.

Unfortunately for her, the US boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and Flo would have to wait four more years to play in the LA Olympics. In LA, Flo led the US voleyball team to a silver medal.

Hyman also played professional volleyball in Japan. In 1986 during a professional match, she collapsed. She passed away later that night. It was originally thought that she was killed by a heart attack, but it was later announced that it was due to complications from Marfan syndrome.

She was inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1988 and named by USA Volleyball as the MVP for the years 1978-2002. In 1987, the Women’s Sports Foundation established an annual Flo Hyman Award to the female athlete who best exemplified over the course of her career Hyman’s “dignity, spirit, and commitment to excellence.”

Most consider her the greatest American volleyball player of her generation. Some even consider her greatest American volleyball player of all time. All I know is she was a great Cougar and someone we should be very proud to say that she went to UH.

Today's collectible is the 1977-79 Sportscast #102-12. These cards were not your typical standard sized trading card. They measured 4.75 x 6.5 inches and had stats on the back. The stats were later updated so there are multiple variations of the card.

The front contains a border at the top and an indication of the sport. Below the border, there is a picture of Flo in the USA volleyball uniform. Since the card was produced long before the 1984 Olympics, this was probably a picture from one of the many international tournaments that she played in trying to lead USA women's volleyball to respectability.

No comments: