13 Teams, 1 Journey: Alex Chambers tours the WNBA
Chambers wasnít a big basketball fan when he received Phoenix Mercury season tickets as a college graduation gift in 1999. After attending the game witnessing how great the players were and how hard they played, he instantly became a fan. So much so he works out on Sundays with former Fever player Bridgette Pettis.
ďShe puts her foot in my behind for an hour,Ē Chambers said.
Crowned a WNBA Super Fan, Chambersí mission to visit every WNBA arena is in honor of a close friend, Cyndee Luquee, who lost her battle to breast cancer in April 2008. The two went to high school together and worked alongside one another for several years. Chambers acknowledges that the leagueís awareness to highlight breast cancer and honor survivors each season is another reason he wanted to go on such a journey and blog about it.
On his way to Washington next, Chambers talked with FeverBasketball.com before he took flight.
Itís no secret that men arenít the biggest fans of womenís basketball. If I were your guy friend and you had an extra ticket to a game, how would you convince me to come along?
Hit them over the head (laughs). No, actually I have a friend who coached youth basketball and I tried to get him to come to a game. He really didnít want to go, but finally he came. I think that once (guys) see the quality of the sportsmanship and the quality of the athleticism and skill, then itís up to them to admit whether they like it or not.
My fantasy is to get NBA season ticket holders, especially those who have said that theyíd never go to a WNBA game, to come to a game and have them on hidden camera. After the game, if they choose to say, ďNo, I didnít really enjoy it,Ē show them the tape of all the times they were jumping out of their seats. Iíve seen guys jumping out of their seats screaming and yelling.
Why are you such a big fan?
I think because I didnít have that pre-disposition of mainstream sports, I was able to see just the sport and not the gender first. Instantly, when you see womenís basketball, some discount it because of the gender.
Youíre a special education teacher. What are you learning from this journey that you can go back and teach your students?
I would teach them about the camaraderie and sportsmanship. Games get intense, especially in the fourth quarter when the game is close. However, for the most part, when the game is over, the players go and hang out with each other. I talked with (Detroit Shock player) Katie Smith about it. Youíre competing one minute, and a couple months later youíre on the Olympic team together or overseas. I think the womenís basketball community is still very small and tight.
They are all such great friends, and that is sportsmanship. Itís the pinnacle of what kids need to know about sports. I think the more sportsmanship you have, the more appreciaton for the sport you have.
Since youíve been working out with Bridgette have you had the chance to play one-on-one with a WNBA player?
I would feel honored to play in a casual setting. The only reason I would play is to watch and learn from them. I could watch how they move and how they shoot. That would be above phenomenal.