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‘Love conquers all’

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity bas­ket­ball player Jamie Conroy says new Boston Red Sox man­ager Bobby Valen­tine has become her family’s “guardian angel.”

“He came to us when we needed him,” Conroy says.

On Sept. 11, 2001, when Amer­ican Air­lines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, nearly 300 employees of the insur­ance bro­kerage firm Marsh & McLennan were killed, including Jamie’s dad, Kevin Conroy.

Soon after the tragedy, Valen­tine, who was man­aging the New York Mets at the time, began doing community-​​service work with 9/​11 families.

In October 2001, he took Jamie’s older brother, Matty, to a Yan­kees playoff game.

Valen­tine quickly became close to Matty, Jamie, their mom Geor­gette, and sis­ters Jill and Chris­tine. In 2009, he even took the Conroy quintet to Japan. “He’s always been there for us,” Jamie says.

For his part, Valen­tine says Jamie and Matty — who pre­ceded his sister at North­eastern, grad­u­ating from the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties ear­lier this year — have taught him an invalu­able lesson: “Love con­quers all, and the inner strengths of a family are very dif­fi­cult to destroy.”

“I love them,” Valen­tine adds. “They have blessed my life.”

Last Thursday, Valen­tine was part of a pep rally of sorts for some 900 stu­dents from four Boston public schools who filled Northeastern’s Cabot Phys­ical Edu­ca­tion Center for a series of activ­i­ties and lec­tures that pro­moted the impor­tance of education.

Later in the day, he took in the Lady Huskies’ first win of the young season, a 78–62 tri­umph over Ver­mont on Solomon Court.

Conroy, a 5-​​foot-​​7-​​inch senior guard, scored 16 points and dished out six assists.

According to Valentine’s prac­ticed eye, Conroy has more than enough poten­tial to achieve her dream of playing pro bas­ket­ball over­seas. “She han­dles the ball well, and has the dis­ci­pline and deter­mi­na­tion,” he says.

“She doesn’t let things stand in her way.”

Head coach Daynia LaForce-​​Mann, who is accus­tomed to watching Conroy dive for loose balls on the hard court, couldn’t agree more with the new Red Sox skipper. “Jamie is very intense,” the coach says. “She has a game face on from start to finish.”

– by Jason Kornwitz

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