For anyone who follows the WNBA, this year has been a very “jagged” year – a year with a lot of ups and downs, more so than 2008 in my opinion. We’ve had to worry about the health of three different franchises – Atlanta, Detroit and Indiana – and fans held their breath to see if all, or any, would survive.
The loss of Sacramento has been very difficult. For some bizarre reason, it has been difficult for me emotionally. I don’t know why – I was never really a fan of the Monarchs but I am still lamenting their loss even after a week. Detroit’s relocation hasn’t struck me in such a way; maybe the difference is between a slow death and a sudden lightning bolt.
Even if Sacramento resurfaces somewhere in the Bay Area, it’s taught me one thing – it’s not enough to be a fan of the WNBA, you almost have to be a prognosticator. The team that you were following today could be gone tomorrow. The economy has hit every major sports league, and the leagues on the margins – like the WNBA – are hit worst of all.
I sort of feel like Thomas Paine writing about “the times that try fans souls” – and the tough times aren’t over just yet. Maybe we should imagine Paine himself speaking to us:
By preserverance and fortitude, we have the prospect of a glorious future for the WNBA; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils – a ravaged women’s basketball fandom – an assault on Title IX itself – no women’s basketball team will be able to call itself safe, and a general hopelessness will descend — our hopes will be pushed back with the argument that if the WNBA doesn’t deserve to survive, then why should whatever team of female players have rights to an arena, or to money, or to whatever the men’s teams might desire of their resources if the men’s teams can claim greater love and admiration from a reactionary media? Young girls will have no hope of making a career in basketball; the only thing they will look forward to is retirement or to exile to a foreign country to ply their trade. Look on this picture, and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who doubts these words, then let that one suffer this fate, unlamented.