Seattle's Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson during the 2010 WNBA Finals
Last month in Seattle we saw our mostly-ignored women’s professional basketball team win its second title in six years. This in a city that has seen scant titles from professional teams.
This part of the country is not known for our athletic prowess.
We’re more famous for our nerds and unshowered musicians than we are great athleticism.
We have very little to live for in this city when it comes to sports. It rains a lot and makes us all cranky. We’re negative and we complain too much because of it.
Some of us don’t shave enough. A lot of us are sorta ugly when you think about it. Too many hairy backs, bad teeth, and smells that can melt steel. We just don’t do the athletic thing all that well during the long months of wet and dark.
Some of our men aren't great looking either. We prefer hemp festivals up here to marathons. The most excitement we have is watching duck boats barely miss sea planes landing on Lake Union. And you should see what a mess we are during the wary months of January and February now that the Sonics are gone!
Now I’m not saying it’s boring in Seattle, but when it comes to professional sports we should be bouncing off the walls over a team that wins the title after sweeping opponents in the playoffs. It happens so rarely in these parts.
I suppose the city has seen glimpses of success in the past, but are these titles really “major?”
Of course, we all know about the NBA’s orphaned Supersonics winning a title in 1979, several decades before Seattle’s facilities were declared inadequate by a hostile NBA commissioner shortly after they were built.
But before that it had been a very long drought. You had to go clear back to the infant NHL’s days when the long-since departed Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanly Cup in 1917, before some of our great-grandparents had been conceived.
There were various titles by minor league professional teams around here too. The Seattle Indians of the new Pacific Coast League won a title in 1924. Two decades later the Seattle Rainiers won four straight league pennants in the more matured PCL from 1940 thru 1943 and then two more in 1951 and 1955.
Can we brag about those teams? I dunno. Not many in Seattle are willing to count any of those as legit major professional sports titles.
The Storm won a WNBA title this year, four years after the last, while going 21-0 at Key Arena! And it was nearly sold out for some of those games, with raucous fans shaking the rafters and hugging each other like long-lost relatives returning from prison camps.
It was just like the old days. Like the Bulls vs Sonics during the finals of 1996, or the Sonics vs the Suns in 1993. The place rocked! It was loud. It was wild. Fans left with headaches from the noise!
And remember, this is in the same city that just lost the same adored men’s team to another city for allegedly not supporting it. To...you remember, that place where watching tornadoes and washing pickup trucks is the norm. Somewhere near Texas. Lots of cows, dust, and flat...I forget the name of that city, but in this city, there’s not a whole lot of reasons to downplay an achievement like this.
The city of Seattle is host to one of the greatest basketball teams to ever hit the hardwood, with several international stars made famous in their homelands because of what they accomplished in our city. But how many of us are jacked up about it like we should be? Like we would be if these were men instead of women?
The organization dedicated to bringing the Sonics back have a thing on their website that says “Save our Sonics and Storm.” See because at one time we were worried about losing BOTH teams, not just one. We ended up keeping the team that wins consistently while ditching the one that did not.
Most males in this city are wholly unimpressed by the accomplishments of the Seattle Storm. “Oh yes,” they muse, “A team incapable of running with an average high school boys team just won the title! Big stinking deal!”
See most of us males feel we could be superstars in this league of perceived “barely passable basketball” that the women play. I’ll admit it. I too was once convinced I could back down Lauren Jackson and drive the rock down her throat, and I’m only a 5'9" white guy who gets winded pushing the lawn mower.
One of my friends explained that this lack of male respect is because women “Don’t have an above the rim game like the men.” You see. “They are slow and methodical and take set shots, and the basketball they play is boring. I could beat them,” he boasted
Me being deep with thought and puffed up with testosterone, whose greatest accomplishment on a sports field involves illicit behavior with cheerleader wannabes, I used to buy this nonsense until I watched the WNBA finals this year.
I saw Sue Bird reigning three pointers from 35 feet away that would have made Downtown Freddie Brown proud. I saw Lauren Jackson completely dominate double and triple teams by frantic Atlanta Dream opponents. I saw professional basketball players that, frankly guys, could kick your butts.
I saw Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry drive the paint with Seattle’s Swin Cash hanging all over her and twisting defenders while speeding past them for very difficult shots.
I'm suddenly not convinced second tier male teams could win against this team. In fact I'm skeptical first teams could win against this Storm squad. I’m also pretty sure most of you over-heated males would have severe problems carrying their luggage, let alone keeping them out of the paint.
This may come as a shock to you former stars with flab that flaps in the wind, but I’m telling you fellas, these women are pretty good! They can hit long and do things with a basketball that you can’t do. I’m serious here boys. Lauren Jackson would be turning you into knots and taking you down. This is a very very good basketball team.
So…before we hear any more postulating about how great you were in high school, might I suggest you take in a game or two of women’s WNBA basketball this coming year? If you feel like a stud, fine, maybe you can convince Lauren Jackson to take you on, one on one, during practice? She does that you know. Takes on former male college jocks and humiliates them before media pundits for fun. Just to shut them up.
And while she’s doing that, perhaps the rest of you Seattleites aught to jump in on the Seattle Storm’s bandwagon? Because this team is for real folks, and it quite likely is the best team this city has ever seen when it comes to the hardwood. It deserves our respect.
The Storm are champions for the second time in six years. Embrace it Seattle!