Wednesday, May 17, 2006

playing the game.

i know it’s registration required, but i just have to post a link to the chicago tribune’s series about the new WNBA team, the Chicago Sky. i haven’t had a chance to take a look at all the articles yet, but what i have read has been really engaging.

to me, a girl who inherited from her mother a love of throwing up jumpshots and throwing a few elbows, watching women's basketball post-high school has been a strange experience. strange in that even though i gave up the ghost of seriously playing when i was 15 (it’s a long story, involving a dictator of a high school coach), part of me still feels like a basketball player. i really loved it. so when i see these women out there, making a living doing something they love, well – you know. i kinda idolspize them.

but it’s not all fun and games for these women, as the trib series points out:

Imagine a time when professional athletes had to find jobs in the off-season, when they were paid salaries to which normal working people could relate, when they signed autographs with a smile.

The WNBA harkens back to those days, with this exception: The best players can and most do supplement their incomes by playing basketball overseas for six-figure salaries.

But they come back. Back to the league they hope will one day compete with those salaries. Back to roles through which they are expected to contribute to the growth of the WNBA by helping promote it.

and really, the WNBA isn’t exactly throwing money at them to pull double duty as players and marketers:

A love of the game keeps most of them going. Though it's not bad money for a 34-game regular season, it is surely not NBA money. The WNBA rookie minimum is $31,800, as opposed to nearly $400,000 in the NBA. The average WNBA salary is $50,000, as opposed to the NBA's $4.5 million.

i could go off on a rant about the vicious cycle of devaluing women's sports by saying “but nobody watches womens sports,” and thus not putting it on tv, and thus no one has a chance to actually watch women's sports, and thus the idea that “nobody watches women's sports.” it almost makes you dizzy, right? but i will say that i’m going to do my part to support the cause by going to some Sky games this summer. i’ll eat some nachos, wave a foam finger, and reminisce about floorburn.

really, a good case of floorburn is just like a perfect slide tackle on the soccer field: painful, incredibly satisfying, and hopefully resulting in your adversary taking a spill too. except, with the slide tackle, you could potentially have the added bonus of doing all this in the middle of a mud puddle.

god, i really do miss playing sports.


FINY said...

I feel the same way about softball. Who cares that it's been six years since I played in college? I'm still a softball player! When you play for as long as you do, and love it as much as you do, you're never NOT going to think of yourself that way.

As for the WNBA - I would totally watch it - if it weren't for the tiny little fact that I really don't like basketball (I know I know, please let me still read your blog!). But I absolutely understand your sentiment.

Toast said...

I watch women's tennis. I would watch women's golf if I liked watching golf. Basketball? Not a chance. And I say that as someone who lives in the Women's Basketball Mecca of Connecticut. It just bores the crap out of me. Doesn't hold a candle to the men's game.

Cinnamon said...

I've never been to a women's pro game and really want to go. Roni I know is also interested. Sounds like a possible outing, no?

kate.d. said...

cinnamon, i was hoping i might be able to talk you two into going sometime! perfect.

finy, it's funny, i played softball for a long time too, but never felt as attached to it. i guess we balance each other out there.

and toast, i like womens basketball for some of the reasons i imagine that you don't - it's less about overpowering your opponents and more about outsmarting them. not there's not elements of each in both games, but i find womens basketball to have a cleverness and cleanness to it that i like.

not that i don't love watching the men's march madness too, of course. and i actually watch more men's basketball on average, because it's more readily available.