Mercury 2013 Rally Call
By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: Dec. 31, 2012
“What the…?” I eloquently asked, in utter shock.
It was a warm afternoon on August 11, 2012. I had just finished watching the U.S. women’s basketball team defeat France for their fifth straight gold medal – one of the most remarkable achievements in sports history.
Needless to say, I was excited to see and hear from the Mercury’s Diana Taurasi (and every other member of the national team for that matter) during the medal ceremony.
Instead, within minutes of the game ending, the picture you see on the right (taken from my cell phone) was what I (and thousands of other Arizonans) saw on our television screens.
To date, I have no idea what show this is. Doesn’t matter. All I know is it freaks me out.
I just sat there on my couch is disbelief.
Sad. Infuriated. Disappointed.
Why didn’t we get to see the medal ceremony? Was it because the TV station didn’t value the accomplishment enough? Why did we see other ceremonies but not the women’s? This was a historic moment for all of sports – not just women’s basketball – shouldn’t we be able to bask in the moment for a bit rather than watch a re-run of a creepy cartoon?
As it turns out, I wasn’t alone in my frustration.
I saw person after person sending messages out on multiple social media outlets expressing their concern that we were watching a children’s show rather than gold medals being placed around these phenomenal athlete’s necks.
Then, something incredible happened.
After receiving hundreds of messages from fans voicing their frustration, the news station apologized profusely for their error.
But it didn’t end there.
Not only did they express regret, they issued a statement on live TV explaining that they would make things right and would be sure to replay the historic moment in its entirety later that evening.
Here’s my point: You have the power to directly influence the type of media coverage you want the Phoenix Mercury to receive.
As fans of women’s basketball we face an uphill, constant battle for respect. In all likelihood, this fight will continue for the foreseeable future. There are times when we feel powerless and unsure how we, as fans, can help the WNBA reach more individuals.
But if the Olympic ceremony debacle proved anything, it’s that your voice is heard. Rather, more importantly, it can make a difference.
That means, if you want more media coverage of the Phoenix Mercury, let someone know.
Then, let them know again.
Read a good article about a Mercury player? Call or email the author and thank them for writing it.
Want the local radio station to start updating you more frequently on Mercury news? Call or email them and request it.
That’s what it’s going to take. The good news, though, is that we’re united in this goal. All of us fans.
If we want the coverage to change, we’re going to have to band together to make it happen. It’s going to take more than just one phone call, more than just one email, more than just one letter to an editor – it’s a continual process.
But, why now?
Well, one could make the argument that 2012 was one of the greatest years in the history of women’s sports. In fact, espnW labeled 2012 as “The Year of the Woman” (see their video below).
Can we afford to let this momentum slip away? I’d argue with ferocity that we cannot.
In terms of the Phoenix Mercury, we’re entering into a landmark year for the franchise with the No. 1 pick in the most coveted WNBA Draft in history! Now, more than ever, is the time to utilize the momentum generated in 2012 to usher in a new era of women’s basketball.
The election isn’t over.
Our campaign is just getting started.
At least, that’s how I’m choosing to view it.
I’m looking at 2013 as the year we, as Mercury and women’s basketball fans, finally use our collective voices to elect the type of coverage we want to see in the Valley.
I’ve seen firsthand what we can accomplish together, and it gives me great hope. I have no doubt we can make it happen.
Will you join me?