Lynx Fans: Part Of The Team
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"CAN YOU DIG IT?!!!"
That's what Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen asked fans during the team's championship rally at the Target Center on Monday afternoon.
If the loud cheers and clapping were any indication, the answer was yes.
That feeling is mutual.
Three days after defeating the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA Finals, the Lynx were honored in downtown Minneapolis with a parade and rally. Despite being a scheduled workday for most fans, the turnout was impressive. The parade started at 11:30 a.m. on 12th Street and Nicollet Avenue and ended at the Target Center. Fans lined up on the sidewalk to congratulate the 2013 WNBA Champions.
"Sometimes you'll have people on the sidewalk that will just come out because they want to see what was going on, but that was maybe five percent of the crowd," said WNBA Finals MVP Maya Moore. "Everyone else knew exactly why they were there and had a big part and a piece of our season. You could see the investment that they had when they were waving back and screaming for us and celebrating with us. It doesn't get old."
The fan base didn't just jump on the bandwagon, though. This is a group that has been through this team through the thick and thin.
During the ceremony, every player noted how special the fans were to the team's success.
Before Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, the Target Center was full of fans with pom-poms. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve noted that even before the game started, the Dream were "defeated."
This season, the Lynx averaged 9,281 fans per game which ranked second the league for the second consecutive season. On July 24 against Phoenix, the Lynx brought in16,404 fans, which beat the team's record of 16,227 fans back in 2004.
For any team, it's gratifying to see some appreciation after being successful. For Whalen, she's not sure if the team would have the same edge if it weren't for the commitment of the fans.
"It's great, it's just to see so many great people coming out and supporting," Whalen said. "It makes all the hard work worthwhile; just to see everybody and see how happy they were on the parade today was really fun."
Whalen's teammate Seimone Augsutus was drafted by the Lynx in 2006 and when her first contract was up, she had the temptation to test out free agency.
While she didn't know how the team would do, she did know that the fans were something that not every city could guarantee.
Her grandmother told her, "the grass isn't always greener on the other side At least you know here, you have a fan base and an organization that loves you and cares for you, so stick with them and great things will happen."
Minnesota has some pretty green grass right now and great things have happened.
The Lynx have won two titles in three seasons and have had the league's best record for three straight seasons.
It doesn't look like these fans are leaving anytime soon. The team and the fans work together nicely. While it's easier to have fans with a great team, being a great team doesn't come without the help from fans. What separates the Lynx from other teams is that they take pride in their fans and do their best with interacting with fans and making them apart of the team.
"We want them to feel just as much a part of it. It's their hard earned money for them to come out and support a team like this and our players interact with them, so yeah, we want them to feel like they are part owners," Reeve said.
If it were up to these "part owners" the 2014 season would be up and running already. While there is plenty of time in-between now and next season, the Lynx know their fan base will be ready for another title run in 2014.
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