You asked for it, so here it is... the Official FAN Blog. "Have You Seen US?" is the place where a select, but diverse, group WNBA fans will be giving their take on all the latest happenings. From game recaps to rumors and gossip, these fans are in the know. Of course, their views and opinions are expressly theirs and do not represent the official policies, views or policies of the WNBA, NBA or NBAE.
In Other News: Blog | Who is Melissa?

May - September 2006

Posted: September 28, 2006 12:51 p.m. ET

Does anyone have a 12 year old I can borrow? Seriously. See I am technologically challenged. I still have the original Nitendo. That is about my skill level.

I now understand my grandmother’s amazement at life. She was born in 1902 and died in 1985. She rode in a horse and buggy and saw men walk on the moon. In her lifetime she worked on getting women the right to vote and she saw Title IX pass. She never saw me play sports but she listened intently as I talked about my games. She encouraged my love of sports. I realize looking back now that she never got to play ball and that through me she got the chance.

So now I get to witness time as it passes. To go from no sports to Title IX to the W... to move from being told "girls don't play sports" to Dawn Staley's mural... well sometimes history is fun to watch.

So what does all of this have to do with the W? Well, there is satellite radio, iPods, pod casts, web casts, streaming on the web, and all of this makes me go ... HUH? I can’t even program my VCR. Oh yeah they are DVD players these days. I should get one of those. The moral of the story is that technology moves on and so the W needs to move with it to keep bringing sports to people all around the world. I would love to be able to go to my team’s web site and be able to watch a stream of the press conference from after the last game. Or special interviews with the players. Or to be able to buy copies of the tape of the last game. Or a copy of a “Best plays of {insert year}. The promotional possibilities are endless when hooked into today’s world of technology.

If the issue is not having the staff to be able to put together these kinds of projects then look to your season ticket holder base. There are literally thousands of talented people with a variety of skills who would love to help their team out. Recently found out that many of the staff the helps with all the promo stuff in the arena at Mohegan are volunteers from the casino. Employees who give their free time to help the team. Now that is supporting the team.

Lots of ways to build. Lots of projects to build. All we have to do is work together.

Anyone have a 12 year old who can program stuff for me?


In the off season I am going to try to let fans know about the various foundations around the league. Today we start with Tamika Catchings and her foundation.


"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." (Sign hanging in Einstein's office at Princeton)

Chicago Bandits
Posted: September 25, 2006 9:15 a.m. ET

Now I realize that right about now you are scratching your heads and saying, “uhhhh Melissa, Chicago is called the Sky.” And you are absolutely correct. And the Chicago Bandits ae a women’s professional softball team. Other than women and professional why am I writing about them on a WNBA Fan blog in the off season?

Well, this is my attempt to talk about fashion. I realize that every femme in the room just rolled their eyes at the thought of a butch talking about fashion but bear with me. And for the heterosexuals in the room think about some NASCAR driver talking about Prada and you will have the equivalent.

Now that the eye rolling is finished, and people are done e-mailing me the local show times for “Queer Eye...” I am going to tell you part of my Detroit trip.

I was dragging my butt to the flight home after the Shock smacked my beloved Sun around in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals, and there in line with me for the Southwest was the Chicago Bandits. Their logo was on their bags, their shirts, their suits; it was everywhere. I had no idea who they were and what sport they played but I was so curious that I paid the $6.95 24 hour access charge to use Chicago’s wireless just to google them.

Now THAT is promotion!

I found out about women’s professional softball. I had no idea. Google it. Expand your horizons. Knowledge is power and all those one liners.

So here is what that moment has to do with basketball. As I stood in line waiting to board I remembered watching the Sun fly out of Hartford. It was quite interesting. I swear I had a hard time picking out who was who. I even tried to write a fashion spoof blog ala Project Runway. {It clearly did not work as you never saw that post.} All I can say about some of the travel wear I saw on my Sun this year, and thinking back to other teams I tripped over while flying, is that some of these women are even more fashion challenged than I am.

Rhinestones? Swear to god, rhinestones on t-shirts. O my someone give Carson CPR cause he just went down with the thought. That was the biggest fashion no no I have seen.

So here is my recommendation to the league. The NBA has instituted a dress code. I say issue team travel uniforms. Comfortable travel wear. Khaki pants, team shirts, and team blazers or team wind breakers. If you make Margo Dydek at 7 foot 2 fly coach because you want the teams to interact with we fans to help build team awareness and league recognition, them go all the way.

I had a nice chat with a former Duke player from a few years back and she talked about traveling to Japan with the team. That Duke had everyone in team suits. And while the skirts sucked for travel it certainly helped with the outreach and promotions.

I now travel with a nice comfortable wind breaker with the Sun logo on it. It is a great conversation started. It helps me talk about how much I love this game. I realize that players are tired when they travel, and to then have to deal with fans asking for autographs and waiting to talk with them as they deal with finding their bags can be stressful. But this is a business. And fans are your clients. Basketball is the product and players are sales staff. Be polite. Set your boundaries and be proud that you are one of 160 plus women who were paid to play basketball this past year.

Wearing team clothing while traveling will help raise awareness and just might be the tipping factor to convince someone to come to a game. I overheard several of my fellow passengers talk about how nice those young women were and how they were going to go watch them play. All because of fashion.

So if there are any nice femme’s out there who can talk me shopping cause lord knows my wardrobe could use the help, my Discover card and I are awaiting your fashion touches.


A couple of 20-something fellows trying to make the world a better place.


From the Chronicle of Higher Education: “A third of all women studying at North American graduate schools of Christian theology were female, according to the Washington Post.” So my question is what were the other 2/3rds? Read it a couple of times. You’ll get it.

Fans, part II
Posted: September 19, 2006 2:51 a.m. ET

Recently there was a thread on the message board I post on about our pets. I started to laugh as the names of the pets rolled by. There was a theme. See if you can find your favorite:

A Beagle named Whalen

A Newfie-Chow named Cool Keesh

Another Beagle named Zolman

A Border Collie named Mackey (think Purdue)

A Long Hair Dachshund named Lauren (and its blond)

A cat name Katie Kat (think Smith)

Two dogs, one “Millie” and one “Babe” (think Didrikson)

A Jack Russel terrier named Muggsy

A rotteweiler/chow/lab named Rocky (think Marciano)

I am left shaking my head. I certainly have not named any of my pets after sports figures. I did name a dog after a Shakespeare character. And my mother the music teacher named my last dog Sebastian because he “Bach-ed” a lot. Trust me I groaned more than anyone else is right now.

I know that there are several players who travel with their dogs. Sorry, other than Jen Derevjanik of the Phoenix Mercury, I cannot remember who but there are out there. Hey forgive me I am distracted by my life right now and I am old and grey. The memory isn’t what it was these days.

But I digress. I have to wonder what the players name their pets. Do they name their animals after their heroes? And just who are the heroes of athletes?

Hey Matt... a new question for you to ask players for us.


Its my birthday this week and several people have rearrange their schedules to celebrate with me. From the Sun folks to my new friends in Washington, I say thank you for making this week fun for me.


This one was overheard by Bert in Washington at the end of the 2006 season. “For the Sun to win they have to outscore Chicago” There are no words. done...
Posted: September 12, 2006 12:56 p.m. ET

I have been sitting at my desk the past few days, cleaning off the piles of papers that have accumulated over the past few months. Tossing old catalogs. Finding notes to return calls. Bills that need to be filed. But I just cannot seem to focus.

No no no. It is not early on set of Alzheimer's. It is me being a wee bit weirded out by the 2006 WNBA Finals.

I was left standing in front of my TV. Yes standing. Shaking my head and thinking, “What the hell was that?” “Is it finally done?”

Why yes Melissa, it is finally done. The confetti is a HUGE hint.

“Oh hell no.” I said, while shaking my head in denial.

And why am I having problems accepting this season is all over?

Cause WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? Where were the GAMES??????

Sacramento shows up and plays their butts off and Detroit is no where to be found. Detroit shows up with its “A” game and Sacramento is hanging out at the beach working on their tans. First four games were blow outs for the winners. And the last game was more of the same. Sac is there for the first half, gone the second. Detroit is taking a nap in the first half and suddenly goes ”Oh gee I guess we should put the ball in the hoop now” and plays their asses off in the second half.

And when Sac needs the 3’s there is Lawson and Haynie warming the bench.

WHAT THE {insert profanity here}?????????

And I the fan was left thinking, was this really the best the W has to offer this year? Or were these the two teams who managed to survive the season with the fewest injuries? Or did these two teams really deserve to be in the finals? After all they each knocked of the number one seed in their conference.

I will say this, when Tweety showed up to play, she was amazing. Why is this woman not on the National Team? And then I remember why. For as amazing as she is, dang if she wasn’t inconsistent.

And that one word sort of sums up the 2006 season.


Every single team including my beloved Sun plain did not play the same, game in and game out. The officials never seem to call the same actions the same way, game in and game out. Heck even within a game there was inconsistency. Even the freakin security at the arena in the casino was inconsistent. Yes, you can bring in the camera. No you can’t. Yes you can bring in your backpack with your laptop. No you can’t.

Heck LA AND Detroit get kicked out of their home grounds for American Idol and Mariah. And by the way, the final game had 18,000 plus. Mariah had 13,000 plus. Care to reconsider that decision making process?

Both regular season conference champs go down in the finals. Again through the inability to be consistent. And coaching that made me want to look for the space invaders and the pods cause someone stole my man Mike T. What were some of those decisions on who to play when?

And the league is talking to investors in Arkansas for an expansion team? The Storm may end up in Oklahoma?

Ok that's it. Where are the space invaders? Who took over reality and popped me into a Twilight Zone episode?

While I may not want my MTV I do want my WNBA back. {Think Sting and what is the name of that group... “Yeah that’s the way you do it... money for nothin’ and your chicks for free...” .... Dire Straights} I want the 2007 season to be filled with better officials. Consistent play from teams. Players to stop whining over every single call made or whistle blown. {Yes, even my beloved Sun need to stop being babies and play ball.} I want coaches to get their heads out of various orifices or sand piles and make smart trades in the off season.

Ok I realize that Christmas is a few months away and I need to give a realistic wish list to Santa but still... mmmm maybe it is early on set...

{Singing} “Money for nothin and your chicks for free... I want my MTV...

Oh and congrats to Detroit. At least you showed up at the end. And Katie Smith got her ring cementing her as the all-time best women’s pro basketball player.

Now now no throwing things at me for that statement. She has ABL, WNBA, Olympic Gold, And has scored more points than any other professional player when you add the ABL numbers to the WNBA numbers. As always you can curse me out in a e-mail, explaining why I am wrong with that statement. You can reach me at In the mean time I have to get back to my desk.

{Singing} “Money for nothin and your chicks for free... I want my .... I want my MTV...”


I have to admit that since adding this section to my blog I have uncovered all kinds of things people are doing to try to change the world one tiny act of kindness at a time.

I think this one is a great one.

If you have acts of kindness you want to share. Send them to me.


“.... 51....52...53... Good thing we did not drink for each one of these... 54... 55... oooo a definitely. So that brings the count to 55 absolutely’s and 1 definitely.” Tammy and Bert counting Becky Hammon’s word selection during Game 4 and 5 of the Finals as they think about inventing a whole new drinking game. WNBA needs to look into getting Absolute Vodka as a new corporate sponsor. Or at least Becky does.

Posted: September 6, 2006 5:14 p.m. ET

Awhile back I wrote about T-Spoon and her special relationship with the fans. I have been pondering who would or is carrying on her legacy. At a home game that question was answered for me.

After Indiana soundly beat up my beloved but exhausted Sun, fans gathered out side The Arena entrance. As time passed players exited and worked their way through the crowd, talking on their cell phones and signing autographs. Their body language screamed "leave me alone". And their attitude was all ”I really do not want to be bothered but oh ok I will sign my name for you.”

Until Tamika Catchings.

Out she comes, looking stylish and smiling at everyone. She walked right up to an 11 year old fan that she has known since her college days. And then she hugged the little girls dad. At first people were shy to approach as Tamika chatted with the young girl. She read the little girl's essay that had been written about Tamika. And she was truly happy to receive a copy. She signed cards and a pink basketball for a cancer survivor while talking with the young girl.

Tamika asked about her grades. How was her basketball playing going. Tamika talked about how important it was to get good grades to be able to go to college. She joked about going to the little girl's college games and raising a sign to cheer her on. And would the little girl remember Tamika when the girl became a star? She blushed and giggled her way through the conversation with Tamika. As Brian said, “It was like Tamika was talking to a little cousin.”

All the while, a crowd slowly formed around Tamika. No one crowding or shoving. Each person drawn to the pure joy that was pouring out of Tamika. Her compassion and caring. There was a twelve year old who had to have been 5’8”. That gangly, haven’t finished growing awkwardness just oozed from the kid. Around her was a couple other kids all with the same look. Their faces were glued to Tamika. Their awe and idolization was evident for all to see.

Tamika wanted to know if they played basketball. Were they studying hard? And thank you so much for coming to the game. Did they have a good time? Well come back for the play off cause Indiana was going to beat Connecticut again.

I realized that T-Spoon had a worthy successor. Tamika Catchings spent a good 15 minutes, making sure that everyone had an autograph. That everyone who wanted a picture with her had one. Was every fan happy? Then and only then did Tamika wander off into the casino crowd to the hotel to rest.

There is a second successor to T-Spoon. She is in Washington and her name is Alana Beard. She also spends time with the kids. And brings the same joy to the adults who also stand in awe struck silence. Sometimes Alana gives away her shoes after games to the little kids. I watch adults ask and I think “eBay.” Alana smiles and politely says no. The shoes go to kids who will cherish them. Kids who will use those shoes to motivate them to live up to their idols and to live out their dreams.

The league is 10. A mere adolescent in the world of sports. For the league to grow and expand, we need more players to understand the relationship with the fan. Players who can preserve their personal boundaries and yet be accessible to fans. I look to the early years of the NFL. When there was two leagues. One call the American Football League and one called the National Football League. Don’t you love mergers? It was the only way for professional football to survive.

The most important reason why professional football grew out of the 40’s into the 50’s and forward, was because of the relationships between players and fans. Players would go out with fans after games for meals and drinks. Fans would give jobs to players on the local team in the off season so players could afford to continue to afford to play. Insurance and car sales man were popular jobs for players in the off season. Fans often would often buy cars or insurance just to be able to say they did.

Now I am NOT saying that players should sell cars or insurance. Nor am I saying that fans should take players out for meals. What I am saying is that relationships, even casual relationships, sells tickets. More tickets sold, the more money in the league. More money in the league, more teams. More teams, more jobs, more games, more salary for players. And that also means players get more time in the States with family and friends.

Casual moments. Moments like when Le’Coe Willingham stopped long enough to say hello to me. And for me to be able to introduce her to my former commander, Lt. Col. Gordon Jonas. She shook his hand, listen to him babble and went and played a game. What she did in that moment was sell more tickets. In that moment Gordon turned into a goofy grinning giggling 50 something jewish engineer straight white boy women’s basketball loving guy. All because a 20 something single black mother christian professional athlete shook his hand. Differences are so cool.

Gordon is planning on getting tickets to some of the games next year to be able to take his wife and 2 of his 3 sons. This 3rd son is starting at Leigh this year. I am betting that somewhere in the 2008 season, Gordon becomes a season ticket holder. All because of a hand shake and a smile.

All because of a moment.

Once again I am reminded this is not about race or gender or orientation or faith or any of the other labels we use to separate ourselves from each other. It is about the game. And the game is a bridge that allows us to share our differences and our commonality.

T-Spoon knew/knows that. And it shows in her response to fans. When security shoos kids away from Spoon in The Garden, she stops them. Spoon welcomes kids and know they are the future on the league. Those kids getting autographs at 8 are the future players and the future fans. Catch and Alana have picked up the banner of fan relationships. And so has some of the lesser known players. Like my Big Girl Le'Coe.

So here is my recommendation. My suggestion for positive change. At next year's rookie training, bring in Spoon to talk about fan relationships. Have her teach new players how to set boundaries, protect their privacy and still be accessible to fans. Give new players the tools to deal with the complexity of fan relationships and help build the league. I will even go so far as to recommend that the league bring in one discrete fan to talk about what fans want from a fan point of view. THAT isn’t going to happen but hey the idea is now out on the karma winds.

So here is to tonight’s championship game. Here is to the fans passions. Here is to the players passions. Here is to the game.


Kindness should never be random but rather a way of life. A simple way to help change the world we live in.


“What other sport can you idolize a player, and actually have them acknowledge you?” Brian, Margo’s number 1 fan in CT.

Posted: September 1, 2006 3:14 p.m. ET

The profound silence from Connecticut over the past few days is me not writing but rather trying to deal with the Sun not being in the finals. I do not know what to do with being stunned and grieving. I will not say I am in “shock” as the pun would be way to much at this moment.

As I watched Sacramento spank Detroit on Wednesday I did not know who to root for... the team that we lost to last year or the team we lost to this year. Grief is a funny thing. I never expected to feel grief over basketball and the Connecticut Sun.

After more than a few days of moping around the house, I finally realize that the hardest part for me was that I expected to see all my favorite players again. I expected to see my friends in Section 12 again. I expected to see Margo’s Number One fan Brian again.

I expected to say good bye to everyone. Instead I sat in stunned silence.

Alison from the Liberty was in town for the game and she spent quiet some time nodding her head and patting me on the back as I sat in the casino asking her “What do I do with this?” And “How do I handle this?” Ben and Jerry’s is one way but my hips do not like that option. Tequila is another option but my liver doesn’t like that choice. So I am left with writing.

So in this very public forum I will say good bye for the season so I can enjoy tonight's game.

There is nothing and lots to say about Sunday nights game. I will blog those things after some serious editing and a cooler head. For now, in the blog tradition, I will say good by to my 2006 Connecticut Sun favorites in alphabetical order.

Carey, Jamie: As always you have my fan heart. Incredible focus and hard work has earned you fans. I cannot find the words to express the determination you play the game with. Thank you for signing the picture. I hope you play overseas and I look forward to you coming back next year.

Douglas, Katie: All-Star MVP is quite the honor for this year’s performance. I hope you take some time to rest and heal. I use your dribble with your right hand and cross at the last second to your left hand as an example for a lefty on the team I coached last year. Thank you for the teaching tool.

Katie's records this season include grabbing her 675th rebound and scoring her 2000th point making her 44th on the all time scoring list.

Dydek, Margo: Margo. What is to say but you are all class. I hope you play for your national team and come back to us rested. We loved your play in the play-offs. I hope that assertiveness continues into 2007. What a wonderful example you are to all the tall girls out there in basketball.

Margo’s records for this season include scoring her 3000 point making her 15th on all time scorers. Making her 800th blocked shots further entrenching herself in the all time leader spot. And snagging her 1900th rebound moving her into the 3rd all time leader spot.

Jones, Ashja: Every time you walk out on that court I think to the opposing team “oooo you are so going to get it now. You are a great example of passionate play, to the kids watching the game, to learn from. Good luck in Siberia in the off season. I can recommend some really good winter wear from a couple of military companies.

Ashja’s personal records this season were grabbing her 600th rebound, tossing her 200 assist, and scoring her 1400th points.

Mahoney, Megan: It was a pleasure to meet you this year. I admit I had my doubts preseason but you really impressed me. I think you are a solid part of the future and possible successor to one of my all time favorite players, Nykesha Sales. Stay healthy, rest some, and I hope you play overseas in the winter.

Megan’s numbers from her rookie year include 66 rebounds, 24 assists, and scoring 76 points.

McWilliams-Franklin, Taj: I had a moment when I watched Taj walk off the court. Was that her last WNBA game? I hope for one more season. One more run at the ring.

Taj collected her 1800 rebound for 6th place on the all time list, her 400th assist for 35th place, her 350th steal for 12th place, 250 block shot to move into 10th place, and scored her 3000th point for 14th of the all time scoring leaders. It was a good season.

Phillips, Erin: Aussie Aussie Aussie ... Thanks for the hustle. I am sorry I cannot wish you luck in the World level as I want the US to win but I hope you have a great season down under. I look forward to watching you next season to see how your game grows.

Erin’s rookie season included 73 rebounds, 80 assists, 29 steals, 2 blocks and 182 points.

Sales, Nykesha: What’s to say. One more run Kesh. I hope you relax and get healthy in Florida this winter. Two years away from home is way to long. Thank you for the memories and the conversations.

This season Kool Kesh pulled in her 1000th rebound for 28th place, her 600th assist to move into 20th position, snatched her 450 steal to become 4th on the all time list, smacked down her 70th block to make the 46th spot, and scored her 3600th point for 7th place on the all time leader list.

Summerton, Laura: Aussie Aussie Aussie ... I was wrong when I thought you would not make the team this year. You really grew in the off-season last year. It will be interesting to see what you do in the off season.

Whalen, Lindsay: Congrats on your off season job. I hope you rest and heal more.

This season saw Lindsay’s 100’th steal, her 400th assist and her 950th point.

Willingham, Le’Coe: Big Girl! Le’Coe is a banger under the boards. I loved it ever time she walked on to that court. She would fight for those rebounds and she was getting better and better as the season went on. Thank you for the conversations and being nice to the kids.

This season brought Le’Coe her 100th rebound, her 150th point, her 15th steal and 2 blocks!

To the Section 12 Gang ... see you next season. I hope the winter is good to you.

To all the other fans I got to meet this year, I look forward to all the conversations will will have next season as we cheer the Sun on in their 2007 season.


Thanks to all the Sun staff who talked with me, Todd for helping me with my play off tickets, Lisa for some great laughs {you still deserve a day at the spa} and Teeny Weeny Tina for all your smiles.


“I am a Liberty Fan. Of course I know what you are feeling...” Alison on Sunday night.

Posted: August 26, 2006 1:14 p.m. ET

The first thing I have to say about Detroit is Katie Douglas was dressed and on the court shooting. Be still my fan heart. The second thing I have to say is Katie Douglas limping off the court and not playing. Be still my crying fan heart.

The Palace.

At first I thought my isn’t that pretentious. But you know... it isn’t half bad. In fact and please do not take my lifetime Sun fan membership card for this but as arenas go, it is a nice space. The entrance doors are equal opportunity Shock/Pistons promotional material. Every other door is a Shock player clingy poster. Full size at that.

In the parking lot was your basic Shockfest happening. Rock climbing wall, shoot a hoop, make a poster, and Discover Card promoting the Fan Lounge. My new WNBA logo Discover card got me a t-shirt. Just inside the front door to the left is the two station face painting area and on the right is the Shock/Pistons store. A couple of local radio stations were broadcasting from the parking lot.

Now I am going to really put my Sun Fan membership in danger. Their store is better than ours. And don’t I have a serious pout on. Why is it better you ask in amazement that a Sun fan could admit that Detroit does anything better than us? Well first of all they have MEN sizes. Yeah seriously. Men's 2XL in a wide variety of styles. They have 8 ... count them 8 different types of baseball caps. Mounds of t-shirt, sweat shirts and even button down dress shirts.

Grumblegrumblegrumble.... Dress shirts... grumblegrumblegrumble... {thumbing through my e-mail address book looking for Sun management to complain at.}

One of the down sides is there is a very long set of stairs up to get to the concourse of the palace. There are elevators for those of us who have some issues with walking but they are hard to find. The concourse is the “oh my gosh look at all the food” type of concourse. And because they also have an NBA team there are several locations where you can sit and have some serious drinking time. And I am NOT talking soda here.

My seats were a fan’s wet dream. They were literally 3 feet from the end of the visitors bench. I got to cheer my team all game in a way that allowed them to hear me. High five's as they came in and went out of the arena. The only problem was I was the lone token Sun fan. The Braxton fan crew that sat in front of me were very polite. But then I refrained from inserting my mini-megaphone in their ear unlike a previous Fever fan with a cow bell.

ooooo that had to hurt....

Rule 17 of Stalking Tours: Never use cheering items that harm others

As for the game... well you saw it, so you sort of know.

I am always amazed when I am at a game and I talk to people later who saw it on TV. Game game but wildly different points of view.

No, Coach T did not whine at the refs into changing an out of bounds call. It happened maybe 4 feet from me. The ref on the end line was out of position and did not see who the ball touched. The correction was the right call. And no I am not saying this cause I am a Sun fan. Right it right and wrong is wrong.

There was equal opportunity needs for attendance at ref school that did not really favor one team over the other as all sides got hosed at some point or another.

Cheryl Ford is and was a rebounding machine that night. While she speaks of having at least 10 of those rebounds just fall into her hands, I say “Girl you were in the right spot at the right time.” Lord knows my team was not. And being in the right spot at the right time is a sign of a good player. Now pppppllllllleeeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeee do not take my Sun Fan card for saying this but...

Cheryl Ford for MVP. Averaging a double double. She just plain out played my beloved Sun. And while I am not now nor ever will be a fan of Detroit {at least not while Darth Laimbeer coaches and Connecticut has a team} Cheryl Ford has earned and deserves the title of Most Valuable Player.

The other player that stands out for me from that game was Katie Smith. ooooo if she had not been nice to Ashante I could hate this woman. Katie Smith is absolutely deadly with her 3 pointers. I know the message board world will have thread after thread about her not being a “true” point guard. But she had 112 assists in the regular season while Sue Bird did 162 or Lindsay Whalen had 153. Yet they did not even come close to scoring the kinds of points Katie Smith did. I will take Smith any day as my non-true point guard. Cheryl pulled the rebounds, Katie let the steam out of the Sun whenever my beloved team started to get into the groove in the 3rd quarter. A lope down the court, stop and pop for 3. It was amazing to watch her accuracy and smoothness. You cannot leave Katie Smith free, she will hurt you every time.

And on that note I will take my Sun fan card back, get on the plane and return to the land of nutmeg and the casino. I pray the Sun will shine in game two {Yes yes obvious and trite so shoot me, I am having a bad pun day} so my stalking tour can continue.


Thanks to the gentleman who let me watch the LA-Sac game in his office because he had NBA TV. Even though we were rooting for different teams, if was fun to hang with you and talk basketball.

... it’s about the game...


“Weird stuff starts happening when you realize your own mortality...” Patty’s sister as she is dealing with sending her son to kindergarten. Perhaps not a sports fan but certainly applicable at this time. Patty is a member of the Section 12 Gang.

Stalking Tour, Part Two
Posted: By Melissa, August 24, 2006 1:25 p.m. ET

You know you are having a bad day when you are stuck in an airport because you forgot your cell phone in the car.

First Katie Douglas has a stress fracture and then I was in Bradley Airport racking my brains for people’s phone numbers. I finally found a pay phone but it won’t let me do out of state 411 calls. I was going to try to find Brian’s mom as she would know her son’s phone number that I could not remember. My bag was on its way to Detroit and I was praying my housekeeper can get to my buddy Brian before he goes to the lab to get my cell phone out of my car, to drive it to me in the airport as the Southwest Agent was kind enough to put me on a later flight.

Did you follow that? Me neither and I was living it. Have you ever had a really bad day? That was what Wednesday the travel day was for me.... a really bad day. And people wonder why I HATE to fly.

How do players do it? How do they deal with these “security” lines and flight regulations and the bad airport food and COACH seats? For Heaven’s sake, many of these women are over 6 feet tall and the league is squeezing them into coach? I am 5’4” and I have problems fitting my legs into the seats. Margo flies coach and then plays a game??? Well you go girl.

OK I have to revisit that thought... Margo Dydek all 7 foot 2 inches of her somehow bends herself into a pretzel and flies coach??? That thud you heard was my jaw striking the desk top. Hey Donna O can you give any player over 6 foot 4 a special waiver to not have to fly coach? That really is cruel and unusual punishment.

I guess I have managed to accrue some good karma from somewhere because my buddy Brian hooked up with Tammy my housekeeper and was making his way with my cell phone back to the airport. All I had to do was wait.

And then the karma gods smiled. I got to watch the Connecticut Sun come strolling in for their flight. I was on the wrong airline but it still was fun to see them. I do have to say the breakfast choices of a variety of professional athletes are rather interesting. It was a blast to be able to smile and wave at players. It was even more fun to watch them do a head shake as they tried to figure out where they had seen me before. That “I know you but where do I know you” moment. A couple of them even came over to say hello.

Thank you, Kym Hampton for telling me how much support can mean to a player. And to Jamie Carey who recently wrote “I love this game more than I can possibly explain”

Yeah James........ I get it. I feel the same way. Yes I know her name is Jamie but I think of her with the nickname of James.

Then I had to run to curb side, Brian dropped off my cell, my charger and my cane and back through the remove my shoes and scan my pedometer procedure. There was one of those airport carts going by and as a joke I stuck out my thumb to hitch a ride. Mary stopped, picked me up and while she drove me to my gate we had a nice chat about the W.

“Was that who all those tall women were?”

“Yes Mary.”

“Oh they were so nice. I see them in here all the time. I will try to get to a game. It’s fun you say?”

“Yes Mary.”

I work on getting attendance up in my own way.

The rest of my travel day was not all that eventful but was filled with good things. Southwest, a sponsor of the W, got me to Detroit and found my bag that made my first flight while I did not. My hotel had received my new Discover card and it was waiting for me at the front desk. Let me say to my fellow card holders... you soooooo have to get the W card. It is SWEET!

I have to say one of the most interesting thing I have encountered so far is how well known the Shock are in this town. From the Hertz shuttle driver to the rental agent to the desk clerks to the concierge, they all know about the Shock, and have been to a game. Yet the weird thing was they had no idea there was a play off game tonight let alone that it was a conference final game.

It leaves me thinking of a line I heard years ago. I am not saying right but you will get the drift...

“Lord we ain’t where we could be. Lord we ain’t where we should be. But thank you Lord we ain’t where we were.”

Ten years ago the WNBA did not exist. Tonight Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals starts. Ten years ago I was somewhere with the Red Cross, I think it was Texas, working on a flood. Tonight I am going to Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Where were you ten years ago?


Dawn Staley. Thank you Dawn for your years of play. That you for your class, style and grace. Thank you for teaching the next generation of players. Thank you for the memories and the memories yet to be made.


“Why didn’t you call your cell phone? I had it waiting for you to call.” My buddy Brian. Boy did I feel stupid.

Posted: August 21, 2006 8:05 p.m. ET

So I went to Washington back in June for a long weekend. I know I know my doctor already yelled at me but I was bored and I had all ready paid for the trip. And I went by train so the stress was low. I spent the weekend sitting around with other gay and lesbian out politicians. We were talking about well ... politics.

So what does this have to do with basketball?

Two things. The first was I could not get away to catch a game in what is affectionately called “The Phonebooth.” Second, is the little story that follows.

Friday night we were listening to an out elected official who was an amazing dynamic woman. She was talking about how strange we are because we turn on the TV and look for the local community channel so we can watch local government meetings.

She turned to me and said, “You know what I mean. You do that.”



“I turn on the TV and look for WNBA scores.”

“WHAT??!! You ARE weird.” And the whole room laughed.

Yup. I am weird. Politics is my day job but basketball is my love. And after our training that night, I made a bee line for my laptop to log on to find out the scores. And as I was staring out my window at the Human Rights Campaign building, I was thinking what a strange moment. All around me were people who were just as interested in advocacy, campaigns, and politics as much as I was. I should have been in the Sky Top Lounge, drinking and networking, but instead I was surfing the net, looking for scores, and wishing I had seen the Mystics play on their own court.

Friday August 18th, that wish came true. And it was a play off game. I thought it couldn’t get any better than that I thought. Silly me.

It was a great train ride down. Can someone explain to me why Washington, New York and Connecticut do not use Acela to get to each others games as I do not know. Business class has enough space for Margo to stand up right in. Room for luggage and equipment bags. Outlets for laptops, and iPods to be recharged. And you can get from New Haven to Washington in four and half hours. I hate coach and flying in general but how does someone over six foot tall do it?

But I digress. Bert and I made it to the “Phonebooth” early. Sorry but give me New York any day as I can find wireless. So we hung out in Drinx next to the “Booth” where a nice fellow, feed us and turned the TV from golf to NBATV. I never got his name. But next year I will be hangin there cause they were very nice to us.

There is a handicap entrance that we went through. Polite Fan Applause to The Mystics and the Verison Center for this service. Bert bought a Mystics shirt but I do have to say The Sun has a larger variety of merchandise. And then to Services where we were escorted via elevator to the main floor. OOOooooo from the hallway those locker rooms looked nice.

Then my adventure really started.

Several Mystics fans from the message board I like to read came up to me and introduced themselves. As I was trying to sort out who was who they then introduced me to Dr Sheila Johnson. Well didn’t my brain freeze on the spot! I least I didn’t babble. Ok maybe I babbled a little. She really likes her fans. She doesn’t just tolerates us, she really likes us. There is a live band that play before the game and at half time. And across the board, the staff there were incredibly nice. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Arena but with the casino around the staff is a little tense at times. They were very nice at the Phonebooth.

The game ... Honestly my seats were too close to the floor. I could not see a thing over the head of some really tall basketball players. I remembered a conversation I had with Kym Hampton and I cheered my lungs out through my little Sun megaphone much to the ire of the Mystics fan sitting next to me. The fun thing was the moment right before team introductions, when the Sun players looked up and at the fans behind the bench. All six of us were on our feet yelling our hearts out. Taj smiled, laughed and waved at us. Erin clearly thought we were nuts as only Americans can be.

After the game, Bert, Tammy, Lynne, Susan, Karen, and a load of other Mystics fans took me back to Drinx’s where the same nice fellow asked us about the game, shoved some tables together for us and changed one of the TV screens to the LA Seattle game. All I could think of was I am NOT going back to ESPN Zone where is it preseason football on the big screen over play offs in the W.

On Saturday, I was part of a two car Mystics/token Sun fan car caravan back to Connecticut. Complete with a 12 year old young girl who is learning to play the 3 and the 4 but had never met a professional player before. I got to show my new friends good New England roadside lobster and corn on the cob. The kid was experiencing her first of firsts... lobster, clams, mussels. The smile said it all.

At the game, the kid got all kinds of things signed. And she met all kinds of players. She was in kid fan heaven.

I guess the best way to talk about that game is to send you to an other blog...

And to let you read some of a note one of my new friends sent me. These are some of the feelings she had to process about HER mini Stalking Tour...

Kindness -- both the random and non-random kind
Passion -- I seek out passion and there was a lot of that around on both ends of the court and in the stands
Connection -- putting faces to names; linking people in ways that is impossible to do inanimately on a message board; wondering if that's better or if it was the mystery of it all that drew me
Belonging -- feeling now like I belong as much as anyone in the WNBA fan community
Emotions -- someone commented as we drove back last night that we'd just entered our fourth State of the day; I responded that we'd been in many states that day: we started the morning in the State of Sleepiness then quickly traveled through Anxiety, Nervousness, Kindness, Excitement, Hope, Disappointment, took a quick detour back through to Excitement and Hope, and finally ended in Exhaustion.
Engaged -- going from never having talked to a player to meeting a dozen on the same day; talking with Dr. J {Dr Sheila Johnson}-- DURING THE GAME -- about what she was feeling
Empathy -- feeling the player's emotions, loving them despite everything, wishing that the {message board} could be a place where we could foster everyone's talent and not talk about Alana, or Chamique even, as a "head case" or say Teasley is "turnover prone," but rather wish for every player on every team to play her personal best at whatever level that is
Hope -- despite losing, despite feeling at times like Richie's rotation was all wrong or the players were just not on the same page, looking ahead, feeling like Alana really may have broken through
Fear -- afraid that she didn't; that missing the final shot will eat at her and she won't reach her potential at the World Championship Games
Culmination -- thinking about drafting a letter to Dr. J; what went right, what went wrong. Not on the court, but in the community, in the arena. Sometimes this season the game felt like an afterthought. At times I've felt like the front office couldn't care less about the season ticket holders and at other times I've felt like the most special person in the world. Isn't there a balance that can be struck?

Yeah. I get all of that. I felt a lot of that myself. As for Alana and her shot I point to Kesh and her shot in 2004. One-Half inch. Look where Kesh is today. I believe that Alana will step up her game in the off season and that all of the East will fear the Panda next season.

As I prepare for the second leg of my stalking tour I am left with plagiarizing Maya Angelou...

“...We are more a like than we are not a like...”

it isn’t about race or gender or religion or orientation... it is about the game.


Le’Coe Willingham walking up to me in my favorite after game spot to thank ME for supporting the team in Washington. My fan heart has still not recovered from the moment. And she looks good in civilian clothes. Not my type but dang girl... you work it well!


“Oh MY GAWD!” The entire group watching the LA/Seattle game as Sue Bird drops to her knees clutching her nose. To Sue Bird, I apologize for mocking the basketball injury god and making a joke about your nose. Please get well soon. We want a rematch.

Posted: August 18, 2006 5:36 p.m. ET

This blog was supposed to be sent Thursday 17th of August. Who would have thought it would be this hard to find wifi in Washington DC?

As the play offs start tonight, I have been preparing to sit my butt in front of the TV with Bert and a group of Mystics fans in DC. We are going to eagerly watch Detroit play Indiana with an eye on who” we” {read name of our team} are going to be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals. As I write this I am on the AMTRAK Acela cruising my way to DC, enjoying the view and pondering who is going to do the “color” commentary for tonight’s games.

You see, I am wondering if I am going to watch with the volume on or off.

When sports were a radio affair commentators were know as “The Voice of {insert name of team here}. As sports move to TV the “Voices” became the “Faces”. Jim MacKay and Wide World of Sports became the golden standard of sports reporting. Al Michael's and his calling of the 1980 Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey game between the US and the Soviet Union will forever be etched into a generation of fans ears. Somehow that game would not be “that game” if it were not Michael’s crying out, ”Do you believe in Miracles?”

For the W we have a variety of commentators these days. Some for ESPN, some for NBA TV, ABC has a few, and the Liberty has their very own for MSG.

Some commentators are former players, some former coaches, some are men. Ok MOST are former players. Almost all are introduced with “Legend” or “Hall of Famer” in front of their names. And I can’t stand most of them. there are even a couple that if they are doing the commentary, I turn off the volume.

As a human being I recognize that we all have our favorite players. I have mine. I have written about some of them. But I do not write about the some ones blog after blog. From my fan perspective, I hate it when sentence after sentence out of a commentator’s mouth is about the same player, I start to get pissy. I really do not want to hear another former player talk about getting back in a uniform and playing. One more demonstration on how to play and I am going to turn the channel.

Gee Melissa tell us how you really feel.

Ok. I will talk positive. Who do I like?

Mary Murphy of the New York Liberty and MSG.

I even admit to turning on the TV at 2 am to catch a rebroadcast of a bad Liberty game just to hear Mary talk. Yeah, in my opinion she is that good.

There are lots of things that make Mary different. Yes she was a player. She was drafter number 5 the year Nancy Lieberman was drafter number one. She was a coach on the college and the professional level. University of Wisconsin and the Sacramento Monarchs. Yes really. She coached in the W. Why some new up and coming coach on the college level has not grabbed her as an assistant coach I do not know. The wise old {no offense Mary} head, the mature experience to help out... the old sage in the ways of coaching...

mmmmm I like to hear her call a game so forget what I just said.

Mary brings a couple of points of view to the broadcast booth. As a player she can talk about the travel, the training, the focus, the officials... As a coach she can talk about theory and the strategy that another coach is trying out with a team. She adds a layer of insight that I just do not hear from others. I know she has her favorite players but I could not tell you who they are.

And she is just plain funny. She makes me laugh. There never is a mean or cruel word out of her mouth. I like that. She provides opinion without insulting. What do I mean you ask? Well in a recent NY-Detroit game, Mary talked about how it was the third quarter and New York had yet to get to the free throw line. Now there is a nice way of saying the officiating was in question. She tries to be positive as she can without being a suck up. And yet critical without smashing or bashing. From Mary, I the fan, get analysis not an advertisement.

I was drooling over Mary at a New York game and my pal Allison asked me if I wanted to meet her. Are you kidding me?

So I got to talk with Mary Murphy and boy did I learn a few things.

She does her homework. I mean she really does her homework. When Mary calls a game she has a binder full of 4x6 cards with info on each player. Not just the New York team but every player on BOTH teams. And she does that for every game. The preparation freak that she is has cards on each player that has fun facts and stories she updates. That's right W fans, you will NOT be hearing Mary Murphy rehash the Kara Lawson played football, the Kristen Haynie eats 4000 calories a day, the famous fathers list from Chubby Checker to Karl Malone, nor any of the other done to death stories we fans have heard 27,000 times. She daily surfs the net for articles and haunts chat groups to find out what are the trends and issues.

And that is what I want from a commentator... someone who is witty, insightful, and interesting to listen too.

I grew up watching Jim MacKay. And I heard Al Michael's call “that game”. And the W deserves commentators who are of the same standard of professional voice. Mary Murphy meets that standard.

So tonight as I listen to the game and watch it in ESPN Zone with crazed Mystics fans, I will listen to hear if the commentators use their past experiences to change my point of view with their commentary and understanding of what is going on behind the scenes or will they make me want to turn off the volume.


Kelly, the nice host at ESPN Zone for making sure we had the best view of the screen for the games and knowing a) who the Mystics were and b) they have a playoff game Friday night.

Mindless Quote:

“This is the WNBA play offs and you want to show NFL preseason? You need to show some respect. I snuck away from work to watch this game.”
-Leon Mystics Season Ticket Holder who drove in to watch it at ESPN Zone.

The Men
Posted: August 15, 2006 2:27 p.m. ET

Everywhere you look around the W, there are men. It got me to wondering a while back. Why are they here? What attracts men to the Women’s game?

Sometimes it is obvious. They are dads. They love their daughters and want them to be healthy and happy. So off they go to the games. They are the basketball dads. From AAU to summer rec to camps, they are dragging the bags of balls, the training kits, and the cooler full of water bottles. They agree to coach the developmental teams, the junior high school team and sometimes they get roped into coaching the high school team. They are there because they love their daughters.

Some men have me scratching my head. They are the paid staff of the W. Why do they pick this job?

Again some reasons are obvious. A chance to coach. The W can open the door to Head Coaching jobs in college and in the men’s game.

It is the OTHER positions that I have to scratch my head about.

John Maxwell does the PR for the Detroit Shock. Public relations is a job that can go anywhere. This is a man who can make some serious money but instead he is getting the word out about the W. When I asked him why, he just smiled and got that goofy far off look all the guys seem to get when they talk about the W.

Big Red is the announcer at the Sun games. He is from Boston. Here is a fellow who could be working the Red Sox games but instead he is in Connecticut. When I talked with him, he also got that bashful, “I have no idea what to say to you but yes I love the woman and their game” smile and comment. Every time he introduces the home team, he has some fun way of saying each players name. We laugh. The players laugh. Big Red adds to the fun of the game.

And on a personal note, I may not shop on Big Red’s side of the fence but that man has amazing blue eyes. And he is almost cute enough for me to chase.

Scotty B flies in the day off the game just to run around The Arena revving we fans up. He flies back to Florida the next day. Here is a guy who fits the Sun into his schedule cause he loves the fans. According to Scottie no one gets excited like the fans in the W. And in CT no one gets the fans as revved up as Scotty. The Sun tried a different person last year. We booed the idiot off the floor. When he is not there, we fans are not in the game the same way.

Todd work up in the Sun ticket office. He is my season ticket holder rep. Of all the guys I talked with he was the most bashful. But there he is solving problems. He escorted Jess Brungo at the season ticket holder event. The whole time he was grinning from ear to ear. And Todd is tall enough to look Jess in the eye. While he doesn’t talk about it, Todd clearly loves this game.

I talked with all kinds of people to write this piece. I just could not find the hook so to speak. The moral of the story. Not until I talked with Brian. Not my buddy Brian. My buddy is Brian the Straight White Boy college student. This is Brian “the civilian who works for the cops”.

Brian is Margo’s number one fan. It started with a conversation with a gentleman who sat near him. A conversation about how if you were 7’2” you should dominate under the basket. Brian defended Margo with “You are not 7-2 so what do you know?” and thought to himself “I’ll show him.” A fluke moment and a fan was born.

Next was the “I {heart drawing} Margo” sign which got a wave. Then came the “DYDEK” license plate. Yes it is a real plate from the Connecticut DMV. That got a response of “Neato” from Margo. And Brian was smitten. He got her All-Star jersey for $975. And she signed for him. Personalized. Complete with a hand drawn basketball.

So why is Brian a die hard fan? “Because of the purity of the game.” He loves good clean sports and finds it in the women’s game. He talks about being able to speak with the players and have the players acknowledge him. “Margo waves at me. With the guys game I can’t even get close to the court. They are nice to fans. They play a great game. They are fun. And we have fun.”

Listening to Brian the civilian who works for the cops, I remember once again...

It isn’t about race, or religion, or orientation, or gender... it is about the game.


Acknowledging kids and their individual acts of kindness


"Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

Albert Einstein -- Easy for him to say...

Stalking Tours
Posted: August 11, 2006 2:01 p.m. ET

My Buddy Dave took a trip to Phoenix last week. He and his family, wife Naomi and daughter “The Kid”, are HUGE Diana Taurasi fans. So they are off to catch a few games and to cheer their favorite non Sun player with their mini stalking tour.

I cannot take credit for the term Stalking Tour. That belongs to Mike and Mark. I met them through the message board I post on. They are Phoenix fans who took a few days off to follow the Mercury on an East Coast trip. They are part of a group of people affectionately called “the Brigade”. Dave and I were the Connecticut Hospitality Crew.

Mark bought a ticket and then sat with me. Mike was behind the bench cheering so his team could feel the love to so speak.

So what is a Stalking Tour you ask?

It is the WNBA version of band groupies. Not quite like the Phish fans, or Dead Heads. But rather middle age lovers of the game taking a week of vacation time and following their team to a couple of games. It isn’t sex, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll, its stats, trading cards, and basketball. And that’s enough excitement for me these days.

Heck if I could have taken the time off I would have follow my beloved Sun on their last road trip. Houston, Chicago, Indiana all in a week. What a fantasy to catch the same flights, crash at the same hotel; sit behind the visiting bench, wearing my Sun polo shirt cheering my brains out so my team can feel some love. Though in Indiana Katie Douglas gets plenty of love.

So what stopped me? Beside the obvious job issues, I did not want to be ... well... a stalker.

I cannot imagine what it would be like for a player to go from town to town and see the same crazed fan sitting behind their bench cheering them on. Surreal or déjà vu? Or time to call the cops? Or would the players be happy they had fans who cared enough to travel and cheer them on.

So while in New York over the weekend, a discussion erupted about who went on the first stalking tour ... was it Kate with her 2003 chase through Seattle to Sac to Houston and then San Antonio, back to the Liberty at Phoenix. Or Helen with her 2004 with Seattle Phoenix/Spokane, then LA trip.

And then I heard Kym Hampton gush over Allison and her stalking tour of 1997. Allison followed the Liberty during the ‘97 play offs. Kym spoke about how great it was to turn and look behind the bench to where Allison was sitting ... ok jumping up and down cheering her heart out for the Liberty ... and how much that meant to Kym. A fan cared that much about her team to follow them around and cheer.

Ten years later and a player still remembers and comments on that level of support.

Ok. Works for me. I bet Mick Jagger or Rod Stewart do not remember a fan ten years later.

I have my tickets and I have booked the train. I start my Play Off Stalking Tour of the CT Sun on August 17th. Bert has decided to join me with her tour of the Mystics. I am putting up lobster, Bert the massage therapist is putting up massages. Since my back could use the work... GO SUN.

So I am off to pack for my Stalking Tour. Here is my check list so far:

1. Bail Money
2. Sun Polo Shirt
3. Sun Cheers Hand Book {GO SUN GO by Blaze}
4. Tickets
5. Local VA number for Alana Beard inspired chest pains
6. Basketball for autographs
7. My Desert Storm Baseball cap.
8. Camera for those Kodak moments
9. Pocket money for Nachos
10. Antacids
11. Rookie cards
12: Laptop for blogging and braggin'

See you in Washington. You can find me in Section 121, Row BB. Fellow Stalkers are invited to join me in DC lock up for a post game chat.


In a rare display of public flogging... Someone needs to have a serious conversation with NBA TV. Last night while Houston and Phoenix went to triple over time in a slug fest for the play offs, NBA TV showed a semi final NBA play off game from 1994. If this league it to grow to 20 teams in ten year you had damn well better find a way to help NBA TV to show more WNBA games.

The problem is NBA TV does not get to control which games it shows. The local affiliates choose which games they want to release for NBA TV in the beginning of the season. The WNBA has no say over which games are run with and the league cannot swap midseason, unfortunately. WNBA can and has done that with ABC/ESPN to make better games. For NBA TV, deals are worked out with each team and network for number of games shown and when and so on.

Here in Connecticut, Channel 20 has shown some of the Sun games. I say to them ... sell the games to NBA TV! Your ad revenue will go up.

I pledge to support any corporate sponsor who steps up to fund the broadcast of more WNBA games. I pledge to support any advertiser who buys ad time on any broadcast of a WNBA game. Ask Discover how loaded my card has become since their sponsorship. Ask Lowes how much money I have dumped there.

No more lost historical moments in this technological age.


"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." Albert Einstein. Clearly not a sports fan.

Posted: August 8, 2006 1:31 p.m. ET

Spoon! Spoon! Spoon!

Spoon! Spoon! Spoon!

Spoon! Spoon! Spoon!

So it was Saturday night and I was in Manhattan. Was I at a Broadway show? No. Was I on a date hangin in the Village? No. I was in the Mecca of Sports, Madison Square Garden, for Teresa Weatherspoon Appreciation night. While the rafters were not rockin, the joint was jumping and the cheers were impressive.

There will be lots of discussion about T’s tribute. Questions are being asked about why her jersey was not retired. Some fans are not happy that the only time you will see t’s name and number is on the floor used by the Liberty. If the rafters are filled with men’s jerseys covering several sports, why is not Teresa Weatherspoon’s jersey up there?

A section of the floor now has [11 WEATHERSPOON] writing on it. White letters on black paint. It is across the court from the home bench. I am hoping it was put there only for the ceremony in front of Spoon’s mom. The Power of that number and that name will infuse every New York Liberty team id it was placed in front of the home bench. If every time New York walked on to its home court Spoon’s spirit was with them, that team would be almost impossible to beat.

On second thought... forget what I just said.

We fans have a special relationship with T-Spoon. You hear that over and over and over. But have the “experts” really sat down to figure out why that is?

Spoon knew something that today’s players have forgotten. Fans are what keep this league alive. Fans are everything. Spoon is ever courteous, friendly, respectful and a complete goof ball with the kids. When the league started Spoon was finally able to come home to the States and play in front of her family. That is something she has never forgotten.

If a fan isn’t asking you for an autograph, there is something wrong. And Spoon knows that. Even retired, Spoon is available to the people who approach her. “Can I take a picture with you? Would you sign {insert name of item here}?” each receive the same reply... “Sure.”

There was a small little girl carrying a plaque, to center court, that said, “There is only one T in Liberty”. It seems Spoon spoke with her team and encouraged them as they went through their basketball season. The kid could not stop crying. And it was the only time T stop her tears... to comfort a kid. And that plaque is now inside the center where the kids play.

That was all Spoon. Anything for kids. ANYTHING.

Sue Wicks was in the house. And Kym Hampton. The hug at center court included Becky. And lasted until Spoon could stop crying. Can someone tell me where Lobo was?

Spoon said, “ It is great to play between these lines and in front of fans like you.... Greater when you play with these ladies and get friendships for life...

There is no me without you. (to NY players)...

but to the fans I say that you have made my dream come true. To have the opportunity to play for you ...and in front of your... and be accepted by you....

Thank you for giving this kid an opportunity to be here...”

No. Thank YOU Spoon.

Thank you for sharing your love of the game with all of us. Thank you for the hustle, the passion, being a role model for some many kids and adults. Thank you for the shear joy of the game.

Spoon inspires all of us to live and love with everything that is with in our heart. Many write about the love of the game but there in that spot, celebration of the hard wood was in full expression.

In a world filled with global warming, wars, gas prices, hatred budget cuts, out sourcing , AIDS, and natural disasters to fill our papers and depress our souls, there is Spoon out there trying to make this world a better place. She talks with kids. She reaches out to the community around her. She cheers everyone on who passes through her life. There on the court. Retired and she is still leading and teaching. Pushing players to be more... to do more. She challenges kids to rise to their level of abilities. And then to raise the bar and rise again.

Spoon does not accept the world as it is. She excepts the world to be what it can be. So Spoon is my personal hero. For both her play on a court and for her efforts off the court.

The Fans love T because she reaches out to us. She embraces us. She calls us to play basketball with her. To cheer WITH her, not just for her. She is there with her heart on the court calling us to dance to the music she hears. Her music is basketball.

T works with kids. Calls them to play with their hopes and dreams. She says play with everything you have in you. Her shot ... THE Shot... teaches us to never give up. Even as the clock is sounding the end, you still might pull out a win. Players practice their half court shots now. Called to practice because Spoon taught us to try. Try even when their is just one second left.

There is only one T in Liberty.


Pam. New York Liberty Season Ticket Holder for giving me her extra ticket so I could witness history.


“So where would you hang that?” A New York fan asking about the backboard with the names of everyone who played with T-SPoon given to her at the ceremony.

The Wild Wild West
Posted: August 3, 2006 1:08 p.m. ET

Yeah, had to go there. Sorry. With the East secured and the spoilers named, I have been eyeballing the West and what was happening over there. I scurry to my favorite after game spot to watch who ever is playing on ESPN2 or NBATV. Could some one chat with the programers on NBA TV? I love the Globetrotters as much as the next person but seriously does their one hour special have to be shown when the West Coast games are on?

So everyone knows that LA has the top of the West. Owns it lock stock and barrel. Then Sacramento who at this point is pretty well guaranteed a spot in the play offs but then some seriously weird quirk of mathematical fate combinations of wins/loses could prevent that. I need to find out the odds on THAT happening. If there is a greater chance of me being struck by lightning then I say put an x by their name; they are going to the big show.

NOW we get to the wild and woolly crazy spot of the West ... spots 3 and 4.

In the 3 position sits Houston. At the beginning of the season on paper I was thinking they should be fighting for first place. Instead the injury demon has been eating its fill on the Houston team. With Dixon going down last night with what appeared to be an ankle, I am thinking this team might hold on to the 3rd spot or drop to 4th or just not make it in a squeaker on the last day of the regular season.

Currently in the 4 spot we have Seattle. When the Injury demon was not lunching in Houston, it was dinning in Seattle. The only thing that has not happened to this team this year, is Bird having her beak broken again. {Bad pun and everyone has heard it before but it wrote so well don’t you think?} From the emotional turmoil of their team being sold to Jackson's legs there is more drama in Seattle then a day time soap opera or a Friday Night lesbian pot luck supper. On the other hand this team is all scrappy grit and they just might hold on to 4th or Storm Surge {did you really think I wasn’t going to go there?} into 3rd or again fall out of the play offs on the last day. However I am betting on Seattle being in the playoffs just cause their fans will get them their by the shear emotional force of their support. Seattle is fighting for its team and they {say it with me} just... might .. go... all... the... way.

Fighting in the 5th spot is the former basement dwellers San Antonio and Phoenix. I feel like I am watching a death match between these two teams. Some one is going down. The question is ... is it both of them or will one scrap their way in to the play offs?

Honestly I am sooo not betting on either of these teams as it is a lose lose situation. On the down side for San Antonio, they just do not have the experience to make it to the big show. They are going to be fierce next year. They are going to be rock ‘em sock ‘em robots next year but this year... to many sophomores, to many rookies. This is about picking up experience and playing spoiler. They are going to earn respect this year. And they are going to run next year.

Phoenix... I apologize Seth but... let me pick up my fan sword and stab myself a few more times. Until Phoenix grows up they are going to lose. I am talking about emotional maturity. Until players learn to focus on playing regardless of the calls being made or not made ... until players focus on getting the job done and not smoking and joking (Army term for lack of discipline and focus on the job at hand) through the season, Phoenix is going to be an also ran.

Yes you have Diana. And Cappie. But you need a TEAM to win. We can talk about the need for posts. We can talk about bench. we can talk about building year. But I am going to point to one tiny statistic... Lisa Leslie’s lifetime points per game average is 17.6. Katie Smith’s is 16.5. The two most prolific scorers in the history of women’s basketball and the WNBA do not put up 30 plus points a night. Game after game. Defense wins games. Every developmental coach, every high school coach, and just about every college coach demands defense.

I am not an “expert” but even I know Shaq needs to learn how to shoot free throws and to shut down Phoenix you frustrate Diana. I do not see Phoenix finishing better than 5th. Phoenix will make other teams beat them. No rolling over for this team. They are going to spoil other’s chances and they are going to beat the crap out of other teams. I apologize to my new friends in “The Brigade” but I just do not see your beloved Phoenix making the show. If I am wrong the lobsters are on me and I have a Taurasi rookie card to give to DT as penance.

There is going to be some great basketball played in the West over the last 6 or 7 games. The match ups are intense. No easy games left for people to toss into the win column. And of course I think all of this will be to the East’s advantage. Please beat each other up so it is easier for us to spank you in the Championship.

But as usual the play offs will be decided on the last day of the regular season in front of thousands of screaming fans, and a hundred or so nail biting players willing other teams to win and lose as they scrap for their victories.


In the recent LA San Antonio game the following incident occurred.

A one game suspension was issued to Mwadi Mabika. The message board is a wash with the up roar of the wet noodle punishment for this behavior. Again I am voicing the fans desire to see the players who toss these flagrant fouls, that would be assaults off the court, receive the maximum punishment every time. One game is not enough! Especially when there is precedent from other incidents, of players receiving a 5 game suspension. We fans are left to speculate that the league is showing favoritism to a team they want in the Finals. This is the second incident in which an L.A. player has crossed the line. We fans want this behavior stopped. In the off season there must be a major investigation and review of all incidents of this nature and the ensuing punishments.


Cynthia at the Discover Card Call Center in Delaware who helped me get the new WNBA card design on my account. She had never heard of this option and spent 14 mins scrolling through her computer and talking with her supervisor to find me the new card. She had never heard of the WNBA but told me about the college ball that was available in Delaware. She is going to look into going to a Washington Mystics play off game. If someone was so crazy to get a new card, she had to see what it was all about

1-800-347-2683 for current card holders and to apply online, click here


“Can I get a Discover Card with a Connecticut Sun logo? I want to use my cash back for Sun merchandise.” Patty, Season Ticket Holder.

Connecticut Sun
Posted: August 1, 2006 1:26 p.m. ET

I have a half a dozen blog posts started and not finished. I just can’t seem to be able to write tonight. I am trying to finish a piece for my usual Monday post. Lots of stuff to write about. I have been playing around with pieces about Manners, Men Who Support the W, Stalking Tours and other ideas. I just can’t get inspired. The problem is I do not want to write about any of my usual find commonality pieces.

So in keeping with what my professor in college taught me, I am going to write about what I love. For the second time this season this blog post will be exclusively about my beloved Connecticut Sun.

A while back I wrote about the players of whom I am a fan. I have to admit that with this Sun team I am a fan of the “journeyman” players. Those who work hard in practices and whose job appears to be the court fillers as the starters rest. I like those hard working butts on the bench who race on to the court to give their absolute best in the 2:30 seconds they are about to play.

These are the people we fans count on to keep the lead. They hold their own against other teams starters. These are the players that could legitimately be starters on other team. I point to Jen D getting cut from the Sun, going to Phoenix and starting until Kelly Miller got healthy.

The Eastern Conference play offs have been decided: Connecticut, Detroit, Washington and Indiana are all now fighting for home court advantage and who is going to play who when. I have received my play off tickets invoice and the invoice for next years tickets. On one hand I am ecstatic as we can now talk about .... say it with reverence... the play offs... and yes Todd I will get my credit card info to you by the Friday deadline. No I do not have a fax.

My friends are all saying things to which I reply, “I am not getting excited, we have been here before.” No analysis from me. I leave that to the “experts” who are never wrong and never accurate.

I have weird categories in my head when I take about my beloved Sun. Some players are all by themselves. Some players are grouped.

The Leaders:

Nykesha Sales: I got a few moments with her at the season ticket holders event. She signed my copy of R-E-S-P-E-C-T blog post. And then she asked for a copy which of course I had one for her. Be prepared isn’t just for the boy scouts. But the best part was when Cool Kesh asked me to sign her copy. Now that was a “Dear Diary” moment. We miss her on the court. She is still having Achilles problems. We hope she will be back in the next week. But in the mean time ...... oooooooo the girl does fashion well. But the heels. Kesh what are you thinking? Achilles problems and you are on heels?

Taj McWilliams-Franklin: Ever the professional. Always in the right place at the right time for the rebound or the looping pass to muscle inside for the lay up. She has a great smile and polite distance from her fans. Professional from top to bottom.

My Big Girls:

Le’Coe Willingham: See now I have a soft spot in my fan heart for Le’Coe. She has a warm smile and is always friendly to the fans. She has gained muscle and is smoothing out all the extra that giving birth adds to all moms. Her son is a sweetie. And she up up some nice bench numbers Sunday night. 9 points in 9 mins of play with 5 rebounds. The big girl is moving faster on the court and knows this system. She smiles and waves at me while she is warming up on the court. I like to think she knows I really mean it when I wish her luck.

Ashja Jones: Fierce. That is what I think every time Ashja walks on to the court. “Oooooo now you are going to get it” when Ashja comes off the bench. She is from the Nykesha Sales “Get the Job Done and Save the Bitchin For Later” school of basketball. She was called for a travel one time and just stood there for a good 10 seconds staring at her feet. And then played on. I was rolling with laughter. What a great commentary on the call without being disrespectful. I bless Mike T for trading for Ashja. And what ever they are paying her, not enough. What a great player she is. And if I do say so, she was also looking good Sunday night after the game. Why some of these women are single I will never know.

Margo Dydek: See now I just say her name and I smile. I am so glad Margo plays for this team. The big little girls out there playing developmental ball who are taller than their team mates and all the boys in their class have a great role model who is dignified, sophisticated and just plain all around class act as a role model. I hope Margo plays out her career here. She adds a touch of dignity to the whole circus of fandom.

As for my Irish Lasses... be still my celtic heart:

Jamie Carey: Ok so I kept the giggling to a minimum at the season ticket holder event. But I am still a goof head around her. I actually have to laugh at myself as I had no problems laughing and joking with Jess Brungo or talking with Margo. But you put me near the one person that is the bee’s knees to me, and I go stupid. She was kind enough to sign a picture that Patty took. Jamie said she liked it so Patty is getting her a copy. Sunday night Jamie put in 22 mins, went 2 for 3 on the field goals, 1 for 2 on the 3 pointers, 2 for 2 at the line, pulled down a rebound, and pitched in 4 assists. And I was cheering her ever step of the way. While Jamie never got to play with Debbie Black, Jamie sure is trying hard to pick up where Debbie left on on the School of Defense. Jamie isn’t a “pest” yet but she sure will be. And she just plain has my respect and my fan heart. The kid has grit and when a job needs to be done, I will take grit every day of the week.

Megan Mahoney: I am about to utter fan heresy. After I write this I will perform penance. As much as I miss Brooke and as much as I llllluuuuuuuuvvvvvvv Brooke, I actually told a fellow fan that no we should not trade Megan to get Brooke back. This kid has spunk. She is fast and as she is learning she will get faster. She has a nice smooth hand on her shots and also is into defense. {Must be an Irish thing} She is a good back up 3 player. A couple of years with Mike and she will have the stuff to be a starter. This one is a keeper. And if you get a chance, ask her about Apple Martini's.

Katie Douglas: While Katie had a nice Big Fat Greek Wedding to a nice Greek gentleman, she will still be an Irish Lass in my Scottish heart. And ooo that girl can move. When ever I watch her play I feel like I am watching a deer run. Katie bounds around the court the same way. Other people stop and pivot, Katie springs from her toes and moves. Every night she goes out there and throws up double digit scoring while playing killer defense. Other names are getting more PR for MVP, Katie has earned this award night in and night out. from her killer 3’s to her killer defense, she is proving that Most Valuable Player is about contributions to the team winning; not personal stat padding.

My Aussies:

Erin Phillips: Debbie Black School of Defense with an ability to drive the lane and shoot the ball. As great as she is I will always miss my Brooke. The rookie has lots of things to learn. And I wish Debbie was still around to school her in the off the court parts of the W.

Laura Summerton: I was so wrong about Laura. Let me say that again, I WAS WRONG! Laura isn’t quite a power forward nor is she quite a center. She has the height but needs some muscle. She is quick and learning to see where she needs to be on the court. She also is picking up some of Ashja’s moves. And she is just plan nice. She laughed when I gave her her rookie card with the explanation of it being penance for not thinking she would make the team.

The Rookie:

Brooke Queenan: What’s to say. I haven’t seen her play yet. But welcome to the W and the Connecticut Sun. Show us what you got and maybe will will become your fans. But when you mess up and you will cause you are learning, there will be a few people saying “Welcome to the W Rookie!”

Welcome Back, Welcome Back... {singing} Sing it with me... Welcome Back Welcome Back... {Think Kotter}

Jessica Brungo: Hang in there kiddo. You got some stuff. Just remember it took Katie Cronin 6 years to find a home in the W. Besides Brian likes her “even if she went to Penn”. Spoken like a true Yale man. And he is tall enough to look her in the eye. Something every girl likes.

These are my beloved Sun. And since the road to the finals goes through Connecticut, I hope this will help other fans get to know the hard working players that have taken this team to the top 3 years in a row.


oooooo I so wish I could put this one in print. Lets just say it involves players. And they were sooooooo fun.


“This has to be the blondest team in the league.” A fellow season ticket holder after the game Sunday night about the Connecticut Sun.

Posted: July 26, 2006 3:32 p.m. ET

The following are updates on the various blogs I have posted over the past few weeks.

DO THEY KNOW? I was able to tell Katie Smith at the All-Star Game the impact of her conversation had on Ashante. He did well in school this year with A’s and B’s. He hopes to go to Harvard, and play for the NBA. He has a picture of Katie Smith on his wall.

KINDNESS: Season ticket holders here in Connecticut are trying to work something out with the management to donate tickets for local kids to attend the games. My buddy Dave told me he was motivated after reading the blog to try to get something happening here. “If Charlotte can do it, so can we.”

TRADING CARDS: Players look at me like I am a freak until they open their envelopes. And then they act like little kids. I was able to get rookie cards to Laura Summerton and Jamie Carey. Their smiles were priceless. Erin Phillips asked me at the last home game when she was going to get hers. I am working on it.

FAN: I was bummed that Brooke broke her thumb. Man, she cannot catch a break. And she did not make the trip to CT. I was REALLY bummed at that. However I have flown with a broken bone so I can understand why she is not flying. Jamie is getting court time and she is playing well. I still giggle whenever I am around her. So much for cool on my part.

SUPPORT THE TROOPS: I heard for a couple of other vets who are also WNBA fans. The news will tell you how things are going for veterans around the country.

THE GOAL: With the sale of Seattle, the league is faced with both an opportunity and a challenge. I hope Seattle manages to put together a syndicate to buy the Storm and keep it in Seattle. The W needs a team in the Northwest. There is a strong fan base and committed players. And to have a new team in Oklahoma would be a great place to expand into.

RECORDS: In this 10th Anniversary season the records are being set. Every team has at least one player who is making history. I am hoping Kevin the resident stat man will put a list together of all the records at the end of the season.

ODDS AND ENDS: I am STILL going What’s up with... The West is insane with its tight race. Charlotte is roaring out of the basement and is going to play spoiler. And New York just can’t catch a break. Sprains, MCLs and split lips they got but a healthy starting line up they are working on. But look at their bench players picking up the slack and stepping up their game.

MSG: The whole world got to see the W play on the floor of The Garden. It is still the Mecca of sports and Katie Douglas {MVP} Dawn Staley {3 Point Champ} and Seimone Augustus {Skills Champ} created new historical moments and walked away with personal memories.

HEART ISSUES: Ahhhhhh..... well.... pace maker. Sigh. I know. But after the season is done. Well after campaign season is done. Ok maybe not until November but at least after the play-offs. I am SO not missing a game.

JEN: Jen sees Dee on a regular basis. They chat about basketball and how life is going. Purple Hearts are good luck pieces. So look at for Phoenix to make the play offs.

ANNIVERSARY: I got to see my girls last week. Some new players on the team. I got to see how much everyone has grown. They loved all the W “stuff” that I has saved for them as motivators. Dave has changed his coaching style and both he and the players are better for it.

STRAIGHT WHITE BOYS: Brian is back from India in time for the CT season ticket holder event. And the playoffs. My mail man is going to a game. And the Polish teller at my bank is going to take her boyfriend, check it out and cheer in polish for Margo.

RESPECT: Nykesha Sales made another All-Star Game but was not able to play as her Achilles tendon is acting up. My friend Bert got to meet Nykesha’s family at the All-Star Game. What they chatted about is private and will stay that way. But boy did I learn something about Kesh I never had an idea about. Needless to say my respect for her went up a few more notches.

SECTION 12: Patty “Don’t tell people where I sit” in Row not named Seat that is a mystery introduced herself to me. The Section 12 gang is getting larger and boy are we getting rowdy! I have met several of the other season ticket holders from around the arena. Wow, are we a diverse lot.

VOTING: OOoooooo the ballot box stuffing parties are being planned already. And here in Connecticut we set a new record for the W with all 5 of our starters in the All-Star game! I am soooooooooo going to have a cramp in my wrist when I try to repeat our starting line up in the 2007 All-Star Game.

PRICELESS: Katie Smith is a human good luck charm. She is the only player to play on all of the winning all-star teams. Bert is back to work but more relaxed. She is talking about buying season tickets to the Mystics starting next year. We are also are making plans to go back and forth for possible play off games. I am betting lobster and she is putting up Maryland Crabs. Anyone want in on this action?

ZEBRAS: Except for 4 Lisa Leslie fans, everyone I heard from was ecstatic that we finally talked about what is happening in the league with the officials. More training and less abuse is the summary. To the League Front Office, the fans will support the officials next year if they put a stop to the abuse they are receiving.

And to the Mystics fans I apologize for the officiating of the July 25th game. You were hosed on many many calls. May the Basketball Gods send you good karma in the playoffs against any team but us.

I have really enjoyed sharing my thoughts about basketball and the W. I look forward to the rest of the season and the playoffs. I have lots of more ideas to chat about with you.

As always you can reach me at


After the Connecticut/Chicago game, one manager and two waiters got to tell Katie Cronin, Liz Shimek, Jamie Carey and Megan Mahoney that their dinner had been paid for by a stranger who wanted to be anonymous. And I got to watch. Kindness should never be random but rather a way of life.


“If diversity is the spice of life, the Connecticut Sun are emerging as the WNBA's marquee spice rack.” By Roger Cleaveland Copyright © 2006 Republican-American

Kim Perrot
Posted: July 23, 2006 11:32 p.m. ET

If you google “Kim Perrot” biography, this is what you will get from Wikapedia:

Kim Perrot (January 18, 1967 — August 19, 1999), was an American basketball player. She played in the WNBA for the Houston Comets. A guard who attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Perrot was the regular guard for the Comets, helping them to win WNBA championships in 1997 and 1998. Her best friend was Comets star Cynthia Cooper. Perrot wore jersey number 10 with the Comets organization which has since retired her jersey. She averaged over seven points and four rebounds per game during her two seasons as a member of the Comets. On her last game with the Comets, exactly one year before her death, she scored ten points against the Los Angeles Sparks.

In February 1999, she was diagnosed with lung cancer, which later extended to her brain. While she was not on the basketball court with the Comets that year, many of her teammates considered her to be a spiritual uplifting force for the team.

Perrot went to Mexico to seek alternative methods to battle cancer; many attribute her death to that move, although the virulent type of cancer gave her little chance of survival with conventional medicine. In Mexico, she was joined by Cooper. Two days before her death, she took a Medevac flight back to Houston from Tijuana, with Cooper and members of the Perrot family flying along. She became the first active player in the WNBA to die.

After her death, the Comets went on to win a third straight WNBA title, and a tearful Cooper celebrated what the team called "#3 for #10." She was posthumously awarded a third championship ring, her #10 jersey was retired, and Comets fans raised money to create "Kim's Place," an area at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston where kids with cancer can play games, sports and relax.

Two awards have been named after her: the "Kim Perrot Leadership Award" and the WNBA's "Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award".

Age: 32
Died: Houston, August 19, 1999

An obituary can say volumes and it never says it all.

The WNBA fundraising auction is over now. The Susan G. Komen Foundation researches cancer. I like to think the W has chosen this foundation to raise funds for because of Kim. She may have been the first to die while playing in the W but she will not be the last from the W to have to deal with cancer.

Cooper is no longer playing. There are very few left who actually played with Kim. Are they telling the new kids about her? About how Kim played the game? Do the youngsters know about Kim’s kindness and compassion for others? Her love of and for the game? Do the fans remember? Is the Compaq Center still nicknamed "Kim's Place" during WNBA seasons? Do people even remember who Kim was?

I remember. I have her card. Cancer is a raging epidemic these days. One that no one talks about.

While cancer took Kim for we fans, we fans can remember Kim each year when her award is given out. The Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

My question is this... why does the media get to vote on the sportsmanship award? What do they know about who tosses elbows and who says nice things? The media knows who gives a good interview but they do not know what goes on behind closed doors. There is a very famous player who is notorious for being sweet and nice in public and a raving jerk to staff and fellow players. Every time I watch her I cringe at the hyprocacy. Sue Wicks said it best after she won the award...

“Have they (the media) seen me play?” She was shocked at her award.

This award has been turned in to the “You should be MVP but you are going to get shafted so we are going to make it up to you” award.

So I say this... Every year at rookie camp, Cynthia Cooper should show a film of Kim’s play and talk about who she was as a person. A chance to remind players that there are many kinds of role models.

The Houston Comets need to have a link on the FRONT PAGE of their web site to Kim’s bio and to be able to give a donation to Kim’s Place.

When there is Breast Cancer Awareness Night at a local game, not only should the fans “pink” the place out, the home team should show a 5 minute clip of Kim and her story.

The Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award should be voted on by the players. Not the media, nor the league, nor the coaches, nor the officials nor the fans. This award should be from players to players; in recognition of a person who demonstrates Kim’s special brand of ball.


Kim’s Place

The Comets continue to accept donations for Kim's Place at 2 Greenway Plaza, Suite 400, Houston, Texas 77046.

GREAT COMMENT... Nothing mindless about it:

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character." Albert Einstein.

Posted: July 19, 2006 11:14 a.m. ET

One of the ongoing threads on various message boards is the subject of officials and their abilities. It also is one of the never ending conversations we, The Section 12, gang discuss each game. It is a sad state of affairs when the fans know the names of the referees.

I am about to commit fan suicide. Now watch me fall on my sword.


What is Black, white and red all over? WNBA officials listening to the abuse they receive.

I will be at the head of the line politely knocking on Donna Orender’s door and asking her to improve the skill levels of the officials. I truly believe that the physical skills of the woman playing this game has exceeded the current officiating skills of most, but not all, of the referees. However I am going to point out to those behind me in that line that the league does do the following:

1. Officials review the game tapes as a form of after action evaluation to see how they can improve their calls.

2. There are observers in the stands watching the referees and their professionalism to include the accuracy of their calls.

3. They do go to “ref’s school” and work on their skills.

4. THIS IS A PART TIME JOB FOR THEM! Some of these officials work 2 or 3 other jobs just to pay the bills. If we want professional staff then we need to pay them a working wage.

To the refs themselves I say... UNION. Union. Oh and U-N-I-O-N!

To the league I say more needs to be done. I am not sure what. I apologize for bitching and not having a constructive suggestion but... get better refs. Or get the refs better.

Now for the players and coaches I say this. Shut up. Over the last 3 years I have witnessed the increase of verbal abuse directed at officials. I can hear some of the language in the stands. And this is supposed to be a family game. I have no idea how some parents explain to their kids why their favorite player is screaming obscenities at the official. And THEN explain to those same kids why they should not scream at the officials in their little league games.

Do you really think calling the official an {insert profanity} is going to sway them to seeing your point of view and changing their call? Do you really think questioning their parentage is going to create an environment that will make an official look closer to see if someone really is jerking on your jersey? Or arm barring you? Or hacking you?

Even if the call is wrong the class players raises their hand for the scorekeepers. We now have “superstars” who play as if they never foul and they are the maligned party at all times. They never raise their hand. They never admit they could be wrong. Gamesmanship maybe. But basketball isn’t about gamesmanship, it is about putting the ball in the hoop. The greats just get the job done without the bovine excrement.

There is no way in hell I would ever be an official. I am 5-4. Bill is HOW tall? And he loves to use his size to try an intimidate the refs. OK. Gamesmanship. I get it. But physically intimidating an official is just being a bully and a thug. Fine for the NBA. Wrong for the W. Why if the men and women are equal you ask? Cause the W is better than that.

My grandmother taught me that I caught more flies with honey then with vinegar. Bill, Mike, Richie, Patty, Anne, Muggsy, Joe and the rest of you, here is a BIG hint. Talk nicely and people might change their minds more. Stop playing one-upmanship with each other. If the home coach says something the visiting coach has to jaw for two minutes. If the visiting coach jaws the home coach has to scream. I am sick of your immature behavior that takes away from the game. There are times when you the coach need to draw the technical to get your team fired up but really people ...

And now I am going to stab myself again.

Lisa Leslie was wrong. Wrong. Period. If you accidentally hit someone you apologize, not say “Forget it.” Is there a history there? Yes. But we need to ask ourselves why there is a history. If you provide a commentary suggestion that a man is having relations with his mother, don’t expect good will any time soon.

The bottom line is this. You touch a ref you are gone. Accident, misunderstanding, mistake, boo boo, on purpose, pat on the ass in jest, hand on the shoulder to make a point, whatever.... you touch them you are gone. The Eleventh Commandment is: Thou Shalt NOT Touch A Ref Ever!

I want to see Lisa Leslie suspended for 7 games. I do not care what effect that has. I want the max penalty. The fine should exceed her salary. Not reasonable but I want a fine that hurts. And before people start thinking it is a East Coast West Coast thing, I am terrified that if the league does NOT hammer one of its greatest players for this incident, that there will be other “accidents”. This behavior must be stopped NOW.

There are two sides to every story and people had better start looking to their actions and what they are contributing to the problem. And that means the players and the coaches. The message boards are awash with post about the increase in technical fouls being called. The posters are using that as an example of how the OFFICIALS are out of control. EXCUSE ME? The players and the coaches are out of control and the refs have one tool to dictate behavior and it is the Technical Foul.

No questions from me today for you the reader to ponder only this.... I think officials need to call more technicals. They need to get control of the game again. A player swears at you? T them. A coach questions your mental state? T them. Someone tries to physically intimidate you? T them and toss them. Someone touches you? T everyone in sight, toss the player and the coach.

Ask yourself this... would you want to work in a place where everyone screams profanities at you? Where everyone verbally abuses you? Not me. The next time you go to scream at a ref think about how you would feel hearing those words. I stick to booing. Less creative but better for my karma.

Oh and do not forget the positive reinforcement. Cheer the next time a ref reviews and changes a call. Even if it goes against your team. The officials are trying to get it right and THAT is what counts.

This is about bad behavior. Not just poor behavior but rather people pushing the edge of intimidation and abuse. I want civility put back into this game. Getting men to respect our game does not mean behaving like a thug.

If the league does not hammer Lisa Leslie it will be open hunting season for Zebras in the WNBA.

No acts of kindness this time. No mindless quotes. We all need to ponder this behavior.

For those who wish to hurl vapid comments at me for these thoughts, you can reach me at

2006 Fan Fest Summer Jam
Posted: July 16, 2006 5:55 p.m. ET

I normally try hard to find nice things to say or nice ways to say tough things. But not about this years Summer Jam. After expounding on how much fun the fest can be, my friend Bert and I made it to W 33rd around 12 noon. If you think I am a workaholic, let me introduce you to my friend Bert. Her boss told her she could not come back to work until she took a vacation. She reluctantly agreed to joined me at the game. When we arrived we were more than disappointed.

In the immortal words of Bert ... “This sucks. Lets get a beer at Mustang Harry’s”

There were the usual carnival games. There was the autograph line. There was warm water, bags of cranberries and a really bad game of toss the bean bag, make a tic-tac toe, get a bad shoulder bag courtesy of a sponsor. There was the try to dunk game and a bungee shoot the ball game along with a 3 point contest.

Food was from the street venders. The bag of nuts I got was good. But there was no place to sit and rest. No place to hang comfortably and chat with other fans.

I could spend this entire blog bashing the Fest. Instead I will offer constructive suggestions for next year including the obvious fire the idiot who was in charge of this one. So I respectfully suggest the following:

We WANT to support WNBA sponsors! Let us support them. Create a space in the Summer Jam for all corporate sponsors to have booths that inform us of their products. And a chance for we fans to say thank you to the corporate sponsors. The look on the Discover guy’s face when we surrounded him to say thank you for sponsoring the Fan Lounge said volumes.

It was great what Toyota did but why did they not have a space to show me their latest cars. I love my Volvo but I need a hybrid. What have you got?

Where was Rittenhouse? And why were the promo cards held until we went into the arena? There should have been a booth where we could have bought the cards on their release date. If not Rittenhouse then let my guy Steve rent a booth so he can move his stock and build his cliental. The more people he has buying from him, the more product he will carry. The more product the happier the fan. The happier the fan, the more demand for memorabilia. More demand more chances for the athletes to make some money. Remember Economics 101?

Inform the local Aidas store that 10,000 screaming WNBA fans will be in town so they can order WNBA items including basketballs, wristbands and other things. The Adias store in MSG had no idea we were going to be in town and had nothing on hand. Lots of hockey stuff. An entire aisle of hockey stuff. But only bad visors for the W. And how about some signs to the local store so we don’t miss it?

Cascade? With samples of their products? A person for me to talk to so I can discover which of their products my sensitive skin can handle?

Fans saying thank you, buying product, and applying for services will go farther to build corporate sponsorship than any cocktail parties with the suits networking. Hard for some school of business grad to get but that is the reality.

AOL giving away disc with promo codes for a one month free to existing fans and a sign up code for new members. Vonage with computers demonstrating their phone service with free 3 minute calls. T-Moblie with forms for us to sign up for services.

WHERE WAS NIKE WITH THE TAURASI/BIRD SHOES???? Don’t you think this would have been the place to move some shoes?

Russell Athletic? Who the freak are they? When did they become a sponsor and where was their booth? How can I support them if you do not tell me who they are?

Southwest? Do they fly out of Bradley here in CT? Is there a promo code I should use to let them know a fan is supporting them?

Gatorade! I would have killed for a cold Gatorade!

EA Sport? Where was the booth to try out their video games? Where was the video game championship? And when are they going to put out a WNBA game? But there was no chance for us to tell them we want one.

Kohler is a sponsor? Now you tell me. I just finished restoring an 1890’s Federalist Victorian. I am buying two more houses this summer. I will get your stuff this time. Got any brochures?

Where was the Coke booth? I’m a Pepper, You’re a Pepper, She’s a Pepper too! Love Dr. Pepper; a Coke product.

Where was Spaudling and the chance to buy a ball to get autographs on?

Nokia? Where were you? I have my picture from last years photo booth framed and on my desk. I was looking for your stuff this year and you were not there!

Adult All-Star stuff in ADULT SIZES!? Where was the 2006 Summer Jam T-shirt? I would have paid 10 bucks for one. Pins? Decal for my car window?

Where were these opportunities? And if the marketing people in the W did not think of these few options that Bert and I came up with in 45 minutes while drinking a beer, then Donna you need to change your staff!

And where were the team booths? A chance for the teams to collect contact information from its fans for communication purposes. A chance for us to get team related items or a chance to sign up for game tickets. Or any other promotional information each team has. An opportunity for non all star players to meet their fans and build a fan base for next years voting. Ask Australia to have a team booth. There are enough Aussies in the league now and their fan base is huge. Ok we haven’t learned the Aussie yell yet in Connecticut but we are working on it! And we have 2 Aussies on our team!

What about player foundations? Why were they not at the fan fest? A chance for me to learn more about the foundations and for the foundations to increase their donor base along with awareness of services provided. I found out from John Maxwell that Deanna Nolan is starting a foundation but he did not have details. Not like the man has anything else to do in his job, (Just teasing you John.) but where can I find out about this effort to make a difference? WNBA Cares but does it care enough to make it easier for fans to support its efforts?

Information is everything. It is the life blood of this league. Give us a chance to learn everything we can possible learn about as much as we can and we will support you.

Next year there needs to be a Fan Trading Space. Think Pin Park in the Olympics. A place for us to sit, cool off, talk with each other and trade memorabilia. No professionals allowed. No cash sales. Only swapping.

There needs to be a rest area surrounded by food vendors. Where was the local McDonalds? As a corporate sponsor I sure would have bought a meal from them. Instead a local bar got my business. Have a cooling tent with the massage people and blowers to cool us down. I am amazed there was not a case of heat stroke.

Surround the edges with TV’s displaying footage of great All-Star moments from the past along with highlights from the first half of the season. Tape short interviews with the players with them answering fan questions that have been sent in ahead of time. Give the players a chance to tape short thank messages to the fans for voting for them. One of my best memories will be the look on Yolanda’s Griffith's face when I told her that we voted for her in Connecticut. I was glad for that moment.

Post schedules of events everywhere. Post a map of where everything is. If you don’t know when it is how can you be there? If you don’t know where it is how can you get there?

In my crass self promotion moment, let the fan blogger blog for one hour each. The event ran from 11 to 6ish. Give us a chance to tell the fans who could not be there what they are missing. Complete with a player stopping by for 5 mins to blog a hello. Provide the fan point of view for a fan event.

In the future host teams/cities need to include local season ticket holders to sit on a host committee that oversees the Summer Jam. Who better to talk about what will make fans happy than fans themselves?

While the W says it wants to grow it clearly is undervaluing the potential of the franchise by underestimating the marketing opportunities. You want us to support you but someone did not get the big picture. You have to have vision to see the big picture to take advantage of these small marketing opportunities.


Mohegan Sun Arena for putting the uniforms the Connecticut High School Women’s Basketball Championship Teams on the wall surrounding the arena. And recognizing those teams at a half time ceremony.


South Australian basketballer Erin Phillips was walking along a quiet road in rural Connecticut when a passing car screeched to a halt. This being the land of CSI and The Sopranos, the 21-year-old blonde thought she was about to be abducted, or worse.
I thought: "Oh my God, please don't kill me," said the recently-arrived Phillips.
"Excuse me," said the driver. "Don't you play for the Sun?",5936,19792270%255E12428,00.html

Posted: July 13, 2006 11:36 a.m. ET

Two All-Star Tickets --- 142.00

10 Trip Train Pass --- 110.00

1 Nike Shirt for friend --- 36.00

Meeting A 15 yr. old baller who wants to go to UCONN; play basketball and study to be a civil engineer, telling her about Leigh, and watching Mom get excited --- Free


Sitting front row by the Tunnel and having all the players pass me --- Cool

Giving Swoopes directions to the court --- Memorable

Lindsey Whalen greeting the officials and shaking hands with them --- Classy

Listening to Yo complaining about Birdy costing her 250 in a side bet on the Skills Challenge --- Amusing

Telling Yolanda we stuffed the ballot box for her because she cost us a championship and the look on her face --- Gratifying

Watching Dawn Staley spank the kids in the 3’s contest --- Historical

Having John Maxwell of the Detroit Shock bring my friends and I two bottles of cold water and two glasses --- Kindness

Dee running into the stands and dancing with the kids --- Joyous

Margo Dunking --- Speechless

Margo caring for a kid --- Wonderful

Seimone Augustust’s smile while playing in her first All-Star --- Mischievous

Alana Beard playing with Swoopes kid Jordon while giving an interview --- Compassionate

Katie Smith inhaling a Subway sandwich in about 1 min. 30 seconds --- Impressive

Candice Dupree sinking a half court shot on her first attempt --- Commanding

Mike T in a brace, John W in a brace, Nykesha in a brace, Catch in a brace, Becky on crutches, Tina in street clothes and Lauren not even on the court --- Scary

Having Kesha ask me if I was the Melissa who wrote the piece about her --- Stunning


2006 Fan Fest --- Suckage

Mystics Fan Bus breaking down on I95 on the way to the game --- Heart Breaking

Michele Snow dunking --- Impressive

Deanna Nolan missing a dunk --- Disappointing

Diana Taurasi trying to dunk --- Hysterical

Teresa Weatherspoon’s acknowledgment during a time out --- Sad (We miss you T)

Players rushing onto the court to dance with the kids --- Fun

Coaches calling them back --- Grinches

Extending the time out cause we all were having fun --- Smart

East beating West --- About Time

Katie Douglas winning MVP --- Fabulous

Discover Fan Lounge packed with league “suits” blocking the bar and looking down their noses at we fans as they get loaded while patting themselves on the back -- Disappointing

Taking a 2 day mini vacation --- Exhausting

2006 WNBA All-Star Game memories --- Priceless

Hey Discover, What’s the cash back on this adventure? And thank you for the Fan Lounge.

Melissa Sterry: Discover cardholder since 1989.
{I put all of my house repairs on your card.}

Voting For All-Stars
Posted: July 7, 2006 1:56 a.m. ET

My buddy Dave told me not to write this post. He thinks the whole voting process is to controversial. I have to snicker at this point and say, “Why Dave, do you really think I am going to avoid controversy? I am involved with politics.” I know, try to keep the snarky comments to a minimum. I promise I shower the slime off before I go to a game.

Anyway ... as you ALL know voting can cause a controversy. Yes, that was an understatement. The things people do for their choice to win. Name an election where some dead person did not show up to vote. I just wish living people would take their voting rights as seriously as some dead people seem to. The voting for All Star starters has been announced and the controversy has erupted. The message boards is a wash with threads about how {insert name} was ROBBED!!!!!!

Democracy is a participation sport. You get to vote your favorite player on to the team when you elect city council members, state representatives; even Senators and Members of Congress. We get to vote in our favorite to be the team captain with our Mayors, Governors and Presidents.

But ballot box stuffing in those elections is illegal. In Democracy, it is one person one vote. And every vote counts and is counted. Well, in the ideal world of Democracy.

In the W it is different. We get to vote as many times as we want on different things. Often this ability to really express our desires can lead to results that no one is happy with. But then so does one voice one vote.

There is one great thing about being able to vote more than once. A politician (me) gets to legally help stuff the ballot box! Yup, every politicians fantasy. And I got to help. Remember my post about what a Fan is? Well, being able vote as many times as I want for the people I want to START in the All-Star game is an action of a FANatic.

We in Connecticut had the time honored tradition of ballot stuffing parties. Season ticket holders were invited to parties before several home games. We met in a Sky box by our hostess Lisa Weistart, Director of Marketing, and punched ballots as we were served bad pizza and warm water. But we had fun anyway. I got to met several people from Section 14. Bob and his wife Lori who makes some beautiful jewelry out of Sun merchandise... earrings, and necklaces. The day I was stuffing ballots, we blew through the last 8,000 ballots the Sun had. Yes you read that correctly, 30 or so season ticket holding fans punched over 8,000 ballots in a 2 hour party.

I TOLD you we love Margo here in Connecticut.

We were nice and voted for people in the West also. We voted for the Sun starting 5 and every former UCONN player or former Sun player in the West plus Yo. So it was Katie Douglas, Lindsey Whalen, Nykesha Sales, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Margo Dydek, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Svet, Wendy Palmer, and Yolanda. Do not blame us for Dee not being a starter. Phoenix fans need to look to themselves for that mistake.

Yes, we voted for Yo over Lisa! It was a vote of respect. That woman’s play cost us a championship. And we just gave her a nod for that play. Don’t like it? Tough.

We crank through those ballots and I laughed the whole way while I muttered about “No hanging Chad’s!”

The league offered incentives to teams to get the ballots out, punched, collected and back in to be counted. The counting was done by a neutral party hired by the league. If somebody can't play, then Donna Orender picks their replacement on the team while the coaching staff picks their replacement in the starting lineup.

Other teams, (read Sacramento and Indiana) also had voting parties. The remaining teams should have done the same. The Storm offered ballots for voting at a local establishment in a pre-game broadcast of a road trip. There was no great organized movement to vote for Storm players et they still managed to get two players in. And nothing for LA or Detroit. Who did not get a single player into the starting line up. So if you are upset that Margo beat Cheryl... well it is your fault you did not get your FANatic butt out and vote.

To the people who think that Dawn Staley should NOT be starting in her final All Star game you are smoking dope and drinking the kool aid. Dawn is one of greatest players in the history of the women’s game. The All-Star Starters is about who we LIKE and not who has the best stats. Best stats are selected by the coaches and the media.

To the people who say Lisa Leslie got hosed, robbed or some other descriptive verb or adverb I say this... 30,000 votes difference is not even close. Yo got 29.64”% (92,539) of the votes cast for West Centers. Lisa got 20.15% (62,896). Sorry no recount there.

I say to the front offices around the league if you do not like the results; fire who ever was supposed to get out your vote. And no you cannot hire Lisa. Have your own voting parties next year. Get your fans motivated and involved. Lisa did here in Connecticut. She made it easy and fun. She made the entire experience part of game days. So much so that we have 3 starters. Oh that was fun to say let me say it again... WE HAVE 3 STARTERS!

To Chris Sienko I say you owe Lisa one hell of a bonus. I think she should get her trip to Seattle with the team AND a day at Elemis Spa! Along with the proverbial bag of chips.

To Donna, with all do respect, print more ballots next year. I think teams are going to be using up their allotment and wanting extras.

And to my fellow fans I say if you do not like the results, blame yourself. You could have stuffed the box also. Blame your team’s front office for not have ballot box stuffing parties. Blame your front office for focusing on getting only one or two players into the All-Star game. Rebecca Lobo freely admits she made a team one year because her family and friends stuff the box. I say good for her.

Every single ballot punched was an expression of how much we fans love and wanted Nykesha Sales {who FINALLY got some respect}, Lindsey Whalen, Becky Hammon, Tamika Catchings, Margo Dydek, Sheryl Swoopes, Dawn Staley, Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird and Yolanda Griffith to start on July 12.

But I hope everyone ... fans, front offices, and players learn one major life lesson...

Decisions are made by people who show up. Show Up. Vote.


“Who wants to be part of the ball receipt at the beginning of the game?” Matt of the CT Sun to Section 12 Rows D, E, and F. (It was season ticket holder appreciation night) Ken got a ball signed by Taj. Peg got a ball signed by Megan Mahoney and I got a ball signed by Lindsey Whalen. I wonder if I can trade it for a Jamie Carey ball? Yes I am a FANatic.

Section 12 Row E Seats 1 and 2
Posted: July 5, 2006 10:26 a.m. ET

I talked a bit about my section in my previous blogs so here is more about my Sun family.

I listen to people talk all the time about the future of the W. About the need to grow the fan base. The need to grow the league. People talk about the fan base and the need to broaden the base. The need to reach out to diversity and increase awareness.


Obviously you have not been to my section of The Arena.

Welcome to Section 12, rows D, E, and F. Our usher is the ever present always polite and caring Jane. She will help you find your seat, and make sure you have the promotional item and the program for this evenings game. Jane is semiretired and does this for the shear fun of it. And she knows her basketball.

Let me introduce you to our newest additions to the season ticket holders of Sections 12; Ken and his wife Gail. They just bought Row D seats 1 and 2 this year. The seats were owned by Jane and John who work security at Bradley Airport. They hard a hard time getting off from work in time to make it to the game. We miss Jane and John. A very nice couple. They each had kids from a previous marriage and have been together for a few years. They are avid followers of UCONN women’s basketball. Oh and they are an interracial couple. Ken says the seats are his and he will never give them up. His wife and daughter have to fight it out as to who will get the second seat. So much for the concept of men only go to the games to take their daughters.

Next to Ken is Diane. Diane is a nurse who works with elderly. She is from New Haven and is a single black woman, in her 40’s, with a grown son. She has seat 3. And next to Diane is Arron. A young single white guy who is in his late 20’s and loves basketball. He can tell you everything about every single Connecticut Sun player. Diane joined us last year. Arron is an original season ticket holder. Ooopppssss we just blew a few more stereotypes.

Behind Arron and Diane in Row E, seats 3 and 4 are Sally and Peg. They are school teachers in the Montville school system. They also are original season ticket holders. These middle age teachers meet their school kids during half time. And exclaim how much each one has grown. One of the Sun staff members is a former student of Peg’s. Oh and they leave the hubbies at home for girl’s night out. So we can smash an other stereotype.

Next to Sally is a couple that I recognize by sight but darned if I know there names. They are married, middle aged, heterosexual rabid fans of UCONN complete with feet stomping and rattles to make noise. They often bring friends with them.

Behind me is Pat and her girlfriend. Pat is a manager for Lowes and they are from Massachusetts. Pat has been transferred around the tri-state area and was originally a New York Liberty fan. It is easier for her to get to the Sun games. When Pat has to work, she gives her tickets to her employees as a reward. They are now the hottest tickets in her store. Every time someone new comes in her place they always tap me on the shoulder and say “Are you Melissa? Pat said you would take care of us.”

Next to Pat are my extra seats, 3 and 4. They are for the kids I am trying to adopt through DCF. Do NOT get me started on that bureaucratic nightmare. Pat said she will swap F 1&2 for my E 1&2 when DCF finally gets their act together.

Row F seats 5, 6, and 7 are three black lesbians whose names I learn two years ago but darned if I can remember them. They sat behind me the first year the Sun went to the play offs. I about wet my pants with laughing so hard from their comments on the play and the players. Nice ladies. I often see them chatting with the couple that sit in front of them.

Across the aisle from me is the stereotype. A basketball dad with his daughters. He wears his teams jacket and you hear him trying to coach the Sun from the stands. I have to smile and I wonder what Mike thinks or if anyone can hear him. Lord does that man get upset when a Sun player misses a free throw.

In my section are couples of all orientations and colors, single people of all ages, families of all kinds. Diversity is rampant in my section. And the great thing is we all are family to each other.

When the preseason starts we catch up on each others lives. How was your winter? The kids? The partner? Spouse? The job? Who do you think will make the team? Did you heard about the trade? Can you believe we lost {insert name}.

In row A is an elderly woman. I have never been introduced but she has been there since day one. With her partner. They would wave to the “girls” and hug everyone around them... Get pictures with the team and make nice with the staff. Her partner died between the 2003 and 2004 seasons. I still miss the woman I never met. They seem to have so much fun at the games. Lord, could they toss back a beer. My heart is glad when I watch everyone around her greet her with hugs and salutations. Every season she is there cheering her team on and applauding the great plays.

Ken leads the cheers in our section. We care close to the bench and our section along with section 14 cheer our team as they come off the floor. Over in Section 15 is the “We Love Mike” cheering section. They have pictures of Mike on wooden sticks and wave them when he comes out on the floor.

It is amazing how these strangers around us at games begin to have a place in our lives. How they grow to mean something to us. My usher Jane called the paramedics for me and checked up on me at the hospital. Peg took care of my personal items and answered questions about me. When I went to the Minnesota game last week, everyone around me wanted to know how I was doing.

The W is a family affair. However you define family. And your family is welcome to join mine anytime. Feel free to come visit The Arena and when you do stop by, say hello, and introduce me to your family.


Sometimes kindness is found in the little packages. Here is to the nameless fellow who helped some kids get photos of their dead grandmother.


“There is a no date policy in the NBA between the cheerleaders and the players. Is there one in the WNBA?” Buddy Brian in an e-mail from India where he is doing research on health care and asking how the Sun are playing this year.

Posted: June 30, 2006 8:48 a.m. ET

Can you name the following player?

Has scored over 3,500 points in her career ... there are six players who have done that.

Can you name them?

Has over 1,000 rebounds ... there are twenty-four players who have done that. But it rules out Katie Smith.

Can you name her?

Has over 550 assists in her career. Opps there goes Tina Thompson. This player has a lifetime average of 2.4 assist per game with a total of 583.

Can you name her?

Has over 400 steals ... that rules out Lisa Leslie. And Chamique Holdsclaw. This player has a lifetime average of 1.81 steals per game and ranks fourth on the all time leader board with 446 as of June 29, 2006.

Can you name her?

Has drained over 325 three point shots in her career. That rules out Sheryl Swoopes.

Can you name her?

She is the backbone of her team. Every year she has been in the league she has played in the all-star game but she has never been on an Olympic Team. A player who is the sixth all-time leading scorer in the W has never been on an Olympic team. The top five scorers have all been on teams. One of the biggest thief's (stealing) in the league and never on an Olympic Team? There is something wrong with that.

Can someone explain to me why this player is not mentioned in the same sentence as Cash, Jackson, and Catchings?

This player is one of the funniest, friendly, and compassionate players in the league. She makes time for kids and will sign just about anything thrust into her hands. There is a picture out in cyberland of her signing a t-shirt being worn by a puppy. She intensely private though and rarely speaks about her personal life. Her family is at each home game. Quietly supporting her. And polite to the fans that approach them.

Can you name her?

While my question has been “Can you name her?”, my OTHER questions is ...

Why is Nykesha Sales not part of all the promotional material for the WNBA?

Why is Nykesha Sales never mentioned or considered for MVP? Or Defensive Player of the Year?

Why is Nykesha Sales the best never talked about player in the league?

Ask Seattle how devastating this player can be. There was about 1 second when the entire arena collectively inhaled as Kesh launched a 3 at the buzzer in game 2 of 2004. Half an inch and the record books would read differently.

Is that the measure of respect? One-half inch?

I have been sitting in front of my laptop trying to find some inspirational heroic thing to say about Kesh. I have been typing and deleting for over an hour now. And maybe that is why Kesh isn’t on the tips of our tongues. There is nothing heroic about her. She isn’t the girl next door with the smile like Sue Bird. She isn’t brash in her greatness like Diana Taurasi. She isn’t blonde and bouncy like Becky Hammond. She isn’t fashion model beautiful like Swim Cash. She doesn’t have a sexy accent from a far off land like Lauren Jackson. She isn’t a “Diva” like Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson or Sheryl Swoopes.

Nykesha Sales is the hard working next door neighbor that will help you shovel your drive way or lend you their lawnmower. She is the friend you drink a beer with or share a backyard BBQ. She is the person that tells you after a bad break up that you are to good for the ex. She is the easy going person that always can make you laugh when you are having a bad day.

In Connecticut we all seem to know that and appreciate her. Every home game, during the introductions, Kesh gets the loudest cheers. Her scowl is infamous to us. Her intensity and focus can win games. Connecticut is her home and we love her for that. You can find her eating in local restaurants. She knows the fun “townie” places to eat and hang. Kesh doesn’t have to talk about getting to know a community, she is part of the community.

Her drive is going to take this team back to the Eastern Conference Finals. While the “experts” talk about Washington and Alana Beard or Detroit and their Olympic All-Star line up, Kesh is quietly taking her team to the top of the Eastern Conference Standings.

In Connecticut, respect is spelled N-Y-K-E-S-H-A.

Acts of Kindness:

Terry McCue, is a firefighter for the Phoenix Fire Department.

Support your local heroes

Mindless Quotes:

“Girls can't play basketball.” -- My jerk of a brother since I was 14.

“Never piss off a woman with a blog.” -- Me.

Straight White Boys and the WNBA
Posted: June 26, 2006 3:14 a.m. ET

I am on the Board of Advisors to the Roosevelt Institution. I work with the Yale Chapter where I was the Senior Advisor for the past 2 years. I love these college kids. I know I am not supposed to call them college kids but hey, when you are old and grey you can get away with it. I spend my time listening to ideas. And asking questions. Yup. Part of my job is to ask questions.

So what does this have to do with the W you ask?

Well, during the summer folks are working and the mom in me comes out. Need a place to wash your clothes? Is everyone eating? Anyone need a place to crash? Oh and who is free Tuesday night and wants to check out a game?

Well someone always feels like they need to be politically correct and make nice with me so they tag along.

The whole car ride out is a conversation about their latest research project. What problem that faces our society are they working to solve? What stumbling block have they tripped over? Who do they need access to but can’t get an appointment with? And I know these boys are being nice to me by keeping me company at the game.

We get to The Arena about an hour early. I am big on watching warm ups. Is Katie Douglas draining her 3s? Or are they rimming out. If they are dropping it is going to be a hot game. Is Kesh looking loose? Does Asjha have her game face on? What about the other team? Who is on the reserve list tonight? Mostly I explain the women’s game to the guys. We get our bottles of water and settle in.

As the rest of the season ticket holders in my section show up the guys begin to get perplexed. I sit next to two school teachers. In front of me are a heterosexual white couple. Behind me is a lesbian couple. At the far end of the row, a group of black lesbians wave hello to us and a couple of other straight white boys are down front. Across the aisle are the dad’s with their basketball daughters. And then there are the Sun dancers. So not what the guys are expecting.

The conversation moves to who is who on the floor. What school they went to. What position they play. Each players WNBA history. From teams to years and awards; the guys begin to be come interested in the unfolding scene before them. But with intros they are still acting cool and aloof.

Until tip off.

Tip off usually gets a “Dang she got up!” “How tall is she again?”

“That is Large Marge. Margo Dydek. 7 foot 2 inches. Same height as Shaq.”

“Get out!” “No serious. She leads the league in blocked shots”

By the end of the first quarter the guys as making comments about shots, and steals.

By the end of the second quarter they are asking questions.

At half time they are checking out the dancers. But then so am I.

And by the end of the 3rd quarter they are yelling at the refs. Seriously. They are on their feet yelling at the referees. And they are asking questions.

“Who was that again?”

That was Katie Smith, Lisa Leslie, Tweety, Swim, Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson, Tully (Aussie Aussie Aussie) Taurasi, Jamie Carey, Erin Phillips, Becky, Catch, Swoops, Tina, Dawn Staley, Brooke, Alana and on and on and on.

They stand and applaud at the end of the game. They have tried to catch a t-shirt or a ball when the Sun win. And they have a silly grin on their face. You know that grin, the one all three year olds have when they are happy.

They pause for a moment staring at the court and the crowd. Then they turn to me, and say, “When is the next game? Can I come?”

These are the future politicians and policy makers. And they are falling in love with the women's game; not just the cheerleaders. {And in Connecticut those cheerleaders are hot.} These are the guys who are going to be in the room making the decision to keep Title IX around. I know there is going to be a day when my buddy Brian is in a meeting and someone makes some comment about lesbians and athletics. And Brian is going to cut that person to shreds cause he is now a WNBA fan and it was a lesbian who taught him about the game.

A couple of weeks ago, Pat who sits behind me, gave her tickets to a young guy who works for her. He brought his girlfriend. By the third quarter, he was screaming at the refs and saying, “This is fun.” Turning to his girlfriend, “We need to get season tickets. We’re ONLY an hour away. This is cool.

So take your favorite straight white boy to the game. Take your neighbor to a game. Take your boss to a game. Take your mail carrier. Take somebody in your life because in the W it isn't about gender or color or orientation or politics;

it is about the game.

Acts of Kindness:

This one comes from John Maxwell at the Detroit Shock. They are selling flip flops to raise money for cancer research.

Well I am all for helping cancer research but the chance to walk all over Detroit is to much to pass buy. So I am ordering a pair. Sorry John, I just had to take the shot cause I am from Ct. But I love the efforts Detroit is putting into supporting their community. They helped open a local resource center. So if you are in the area, help out.

Mindless Quote:

“Mom! MOM! Erin Phillips gave me her sweat band!” A screaming 10 year old at the last Sun game as she ran to her mother waving the wrist band. Sometimes it is the little things that can make a day great

Across The Generations
Posted: June 21, 2006 4:37 p.m. ET

24-year age difference, 10 seasons of WNBA, 2 voices, 1 game.

I help coach a 5th grade girl's basketball team with my fellow Sun season ticket holder; Dave. His daughter is on the team. I watch these girls play. Their joy. Their laughter. Their moves. I have to smile when they talk about the W. Most of them want to play in high school. Some want to play in college. And there are 2 that at this stage, if they work hard, just might have a shot at the W.
I smile and think my how the world has changed.


She has a dream. Standing 4'4” tall, with nine years of existence under her belt, our little sister is convinced she has a chance in the WNBA. Her plan is simple. Duke University is her college of choice. She lives in an era when instead of dreaming to be like Mike, she wants to be like Mo (Monique Currie that is). She's convinced that by showing up at the 2019 WNBA draft, her spot would be secured.

When the ball was tipped off on June 21, 1997 for the inaugural WNBA game, no one expected the league to last 10 seasons. Who's to say it can't last for 13 more years? After all, our little sister's dream is not something new.

Not too long ago, we too dreamt of playing professionally. Countless women of today were once little girls who had the same dream. The only difference is we have the WNBA, while back then the best women ballers waited for their opportunity every four years.


When I was young... I know go ahead and roll your eyes... When I was young, Louisiana Tech was the home of basketball. And Title IX was beginning to have an impact. 1976 we had our first women's basketball team in the Olympics. I was glued to my TV set watching ABC and Jim McCay show the Games. I did not want to watch gymnastics, I wanted basketball. And then there they were. Young, oh my god young. I was 14 and I was watching people who became sources of inspiration to me...

Mary Anne O'Conner and Sue Rojcewicz were from Southern Connecticut State. Hey look! TWO basketball players from Connecticut. Well, if they can play... There were other women on the team whose names you might find familiar; Ann Meyers, Nancy Lieberman, Pat Head. Sound familiar? Eat your heart out! I got to watch them play!


We never got to watch Ann Meyers play. The most impressive thing we've seen her do is wear neon-colored suits well. We believe only Ann Meyers can do that, just like she's the only female player to crack an NBA roster.

Years from now, the cycle will continue. Several WNBA players will take over ESPN, NBATV and ABC studios. Kara Lawson will take Ann Myers' place. Stacey Dales will sit in Nancy Lieberman's chair and Pat Summitt will still be Pat Summitt.

Some high school kid, dreaming to play professional basketball will one day watch Lawson and Dales make predictions and analyze games. We wonder, unlike us, would she know better?


I worked my butt off to play in high school. And the Olympics rolled around again. I eagerly awaited watching Anne Donovan, Carol Blazejowski, and Lynette Woodard play. I will even admit to a crush on one of those and NO I am NOT naming names. But politics intervened and I learn that sometimes sports does not transcend differences regardless of the ideals we strive to achieve. 1984 added Teresa Edwards, Pam McGee, and Cheryl Miller to my list of idols.


Deanna Nolan, Chamique Holdsclaw and Cheryl Miller are our idols. We weren't born when Cheryl Miller dominated the scene. We admire her for journalistic reasons. On a basketball standpoint, we've only heard stories and read articles. She's the greatest myth of our generation. On one hand we have no way of validating her greatness, but on the other hand, we have no right to question it.

Secretly, we wish we were older. Stupid, stupid, we know. See, we want to know what it's like to witness Cheryl Miller's game. But we don't have to worry about passing anecdotes to future generations. We have technology for evidence and we have Seimone Augustus. She will be our story to tell.


I started college in 1982. I waited before I went. I did not know what I wanted out of life. But I did know I missed playing. I went to a women's college where Title IX was never an issue because we were the only game at the school. Well there was golf. And Equestrian science... But I am talking sports here! Where ya sweat from work! While Title IX was beginning to have an impact if you wanted to play you had to play in college. Cause that was the last stop. There were not athletic leagues for us after we left college. The greatest stage to aspire to was to be invited to play on the National Team. Say it with reverence and awe now; The National Team. I think that part of the reason why you do not have to beg the best of the women's game to play in the Olympics (unlike the men) is that until 1997 this was the highest level of sport for women. To women athletes, an Olympic Gold medal IS the holy grail.


Our story began 13 years ago, in 1993, (ironically we are 13 minutes apart) with two skinny six-year-olds, a worn out basketball rim and the bossiest big brother in the face of the earth.

“Shoot it! Shoot it,” he would always yell. A statement that was followed by tears streaming down our faces because of failed attempts. Too much for six-year-olds. Anger followed the tears. We were mad that we couldn't make a freaking basket; mad that our brother hogs the remote to watch games but mostly, we were mad because you know as kid you just hate when you suck at something and getting teased by the men in our family was hard.

We knew were bound to like the game, but we had no idea how much it would affect our lives. The love didn't come instantly. But when it hit us, it hit us all at once. Next thing you know we were avid fans of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), obsessing over Alvin Patrimonio and Johnny Abbarientos---names you wouldn't normally know unless you lived in our country. Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls brought us to the NBA and the United States. Eventually March became madness.


I drifted away from basketball when I join the army in the late 80’s. I have no idea who was on the 1988 Olympic team. I was a wee bit busy traveling to far off lands. Interestingly enough there is a weird chance that I might have been in the same place at the same time with “The Twins”. Manila 1988.

1992. Olympics again. No memory still. A little thing called Desert Storm. And learning to walk again. But the “perfect storm” was starting in my home state of Connecticut. Jen Rizzotti.


Chamique brought us to the W in 2002.


1995 I rediscovered my love of basketball as UConn played its heart out to the Perfect Year. 35-0 and its first National Championship. March Madness entered my life. It came at a time when I was struggling to accept that I was never going to walk right again. I was never going to get to be a soldier again. I was discharged the first week of March 1995 and depressed out of my mind.

Jen Rizzotti’s play got me to cry with its pure heart and scrappy play. My doctors were happy because I was finally showing emotions.


Eventually March became madness.

Oh the madness. Every year we would have a sibling March Madness tournament. The first year was 2004, with just the both of us. It has grown to us, our little sisters and two cousins. Living in Canada on visa’s we cannot travel to the US to see a tournament game. So we watch everyone we can on TV. And we argue about who is going to be drafted.


1996 was all about the Olympics again. Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding, Sheryl Swoopes.

Sound familiar? This is the core of the Women’s Professional Basketball. Some went to the ABL, some started the W.


Holdsclaw can claim something other players can’t, she’s the reason why we love women’s basketball. Yeah, it’s not resume material. It’s not something she’ll put in her license plate or a plaque she’ll hang on her wall. But she’s the reason why two stubborn kids are now writing for the WNBA fan blog.

The date was June 25, 2002. We were 15 and glued to the TV for our first WNBA game. The score was 87-86. The Washington Mystics beat the Sacramento Monarchs in an overtime thriller. Twenty nine points and twenty one rebounds were the stats she posted. It was a done deal after that. She could put the ball in the basket where we could not. And She loved her grandmother. We can relate to that.


My first professional women’s game was THE first game of the W. Ten years ago today. June 21st, 1997. ABC Sports.

I wept like a baby.

So far from the days of women being told to sit down. So far from Title IX passing.

Teresa Weatherspoon. Lisa Leslie. They set the tone of the league for the rest of the greats to follow. A whole new way to measure basketball. The Olympics was no longer the highest platform to play on. And yet it is moving to see the best from the W beg to play on the National Team. To see Dawn Staley move from player to coach. To have Lisa Leslie teach the boys about team play in the 2004 games. I am proud that these women are teaching the next generation the importance of The National Team and The Olympics.


How do you explain it? What does basketball mean to us? These days we try very hard to make sure basketball is just a game. We try not to make it our life, try to make it a hobby. We aim or at the very least pretend that we don't live and breathe it. That we can actually survive a day without basketball. But that's a goal yet to be accomplished.

It's a lifestyle. Basketball is a part of us that not even the most meaningful words can depict. It's intangible, kind of like love and faith. Things that are hard to grasp with simple sentences. We can never really find the right words, because there are none. After all, intangibles are only defined through experiences.

Our little sister has experiences that we will never have. She is the next generation of this story. Hopefully, the WNBA and March Madness will be our little sister's earliest basketball memories. She keeps saying she plans to play for the WNBA. We always thought those dreams started when she watched Monique Currie score 43 points.


There is a second generation of women basketball players out there now. The girl’s who grew up with Title IX. They grew up dreaming of playing. They grew up watching women play.

Folks know I am big on history. And today is history. Ten years of incredible basketball. Ten years of idols, amazing plays, broken hearts, tears, sweat, contracts, unions, expansion teams, contraction teams.

Most amazing is there is a THIRD generation of little girls out there. They are growing up not knowing about Title IX but looking at posters of their heroes on their walls. Heroes named, Lauren, Lisa, Tamika, Diana, Lindsey, Alana, Dawn, Sheryl, Yolanda. And more.

The WNBA... it isn’t just a game.


The odds are not on our family's side. No one is more than 6 feet tall. Although at the age of nine, one of our sisters already wears size 4 shoes. She might just have a shot at it. And there is Tameka Johnson.

Just like any big sister, we want her to achieve everything she wants. If one day she decides she no longer wants to be a basketball player, we won't force her to change her mind. We want her to enjoy basketball for what it should be, a game.


The Twins are in Canada and can’t make it to the All-Star game this year. I was going to show them New York, The Garden, and tell them all about the history. Instead we are going to text Message each other as they watch the game on TV and IM with their sister.

I have witnessed the past. The Twins and I are witnessing the present. My players and The Twin’s sisters are going to be the future.

Funny how basketball can cross generations.


You can reach Us at and Melissa at

Welcome and Other Odds and Ends
Posted: June 19, 2006 6:30 p.m. ET

Let me tell you, lying around in bed gets real boring after a while. 200 cable channels on and nothing good to watch. High School baseball, World Cup and a preview of the fall college football. I am so bored. Where is my W!

First and foremost let me thank everyone for their best wishes, thoughts, and prayers.

Second, please move from in front of the TV screen I am jonesing bad for my W fix. These withdrawals are killing me. I started this piece a week ago before Alana Beard's and Washington gave me a heart attack. Literally. Snicker. No, it wasn't them. But they are good.

I love being a blogger for the W. I was so excited and stunned when I got my e-mail telling me I was selected. When I read who was selected, I realized that a lot of team’s fans were not going to have a voice. I decided to try hard to talk about issues that transcend across the league.

Today I am going to be an unabashed Connecticut Sun Fan!

Welcome Ashja Jones to the 500 Rebounds Club!

Welcome NyKesha Sales to the 1,000 Rebounds Club!

Welcome Le’Coe Willingham to the 100 Point Club! Yes 100 points. Hey we fans want to cheer our favorites on. She my not get a lot of court time but we love her play and her pre game dancing to the tunes.

Welcome Katie Douglas to the 1500 Points Club! I apologize for being late on pointing this out.

Welcome Margo Dydek to the Thief’s Club as she is averaging 1 steal per game.

Welcome Lisa Weistart, the new Marketing Director. I promise not to abuse your e-mail or phone number. You are cordially invited to visit Section 12, rows D, E, and F as we would love to share with you our love for the Sun and the fun things we would like to do to help sell the team. Plus we are just plane fun to watch the game with.

I am going to digress for a moment and talk about Margo. Large Marge has found a home in Connecticut. We have a significant Polish community here and they are coming out to support her. Margo’s play has become more aggressive on the floor. She smiles more on and off the floor. I think she has finally found a place that loves her for her and not because she is 7’2” and it is reflected in her numbers. She is averaging in double figures for the first time since 2003. She is shooting 60% from the floor and 87.5% from the free throw line. She needs 8 more blocks for 750. Margo is in the top 20 in 14 different categories of statistics in the league. Including having the best field goal percentage.

Yes you read that right... Large Margo is THE most accurate shooter in the league right now. Go look it up.

So welcome to Connecticut Margo. We are glad you are here. Now make my day and dunk. Just once. Not to humiliate anyone but rather to make the crowd go crazy and give us a chance to say we love your skills. You are a great role model for the little tall girls out there.

Oh and one other thing. The next time some out of town fan shows up and makes rude comments about Margo’s height within Margo’s ear shot, I will personally correct your poor behavior. If your momma did not teach you manners I certainly will school you in etiquette. It is not cool to be a jerk.

While “experts” predicted that Detroit would win it all this year, once again The Sun was leading the league with its win loss record until dropping two to the West on the road. Why there is this lack of respect to the team who has back to back Eastern Conference Championships, I do not know. But I say go right ahead and disrespect this team as they go to the Finals again.

I think the game on Sunday the 11th between Washington and Connecticut is a foreshadow of the Eastern Conference Finals. Washington has added solid players in Milton-Jones and Teasley to the Alana “Oh My Gawd did you just see that move” Beard Show. But Washington just does not have the depth in the bench that Connecticut has. Our bench has to many role players to deliver max performance on their limited time on the floor. This is a very ring hungry team. But with Delisha Milton Jones possibly down with her knee, this team will have to find its heart quickly.

On Sunday the 11th, I got to visit a Skybox. Beautiful room. Spacious with comfortable seats and great food. Ironically I hated the view. It would be great to watch a concert from but I want to see the sweat roll off someone’s brow or hear Katie Douglas scream at the refs for Alana Beard moving as she threw the ball in. That girl can yell! Oooooo I so do not want to get her pissed off at me.

There is one thing that Katie does that has me laugh out loud every time I watch it. When Katie gets the steal or outlet pass and drives the floor, the defender always sets themselves and Katie at the last second flips the ball to her left hand and scores. There is a faint smile when she does that and I laugh as I think, “Sucker. She got you again.” Why you ask? Cause Katie Douglas is a left-handed player and people forget and defend her as if she was a righty. They try to force her to the left thinking it is her weak hand. Hence the faint smile.

To the All-Star voting and voters: Are you nuts? Lindsey Whalen not in the top 5 guards of the East? Are you WHACKED????????? Only problem is I can’t say which guard should not be in that top 5. So I guess I will just sputter about the lack of Whalen and Cheer that people are finally seeing the quiet greatness of Katie Douglas.

Acts of Kindness:

While we missed Taj at the past few games, I completely agree with her decision to be with her daughter for her graduation. And I applaud The Sun for supporting her through the giving her time off. Acts of Kindness do not have to be great overt actions. Sometimes they are simple things like the expression of a mother’s love and making it easy for that love to be expressed.

Mindless Quote:

“You have had a heart attack and you want to know the score of the game?” Laura an ER Nurse at Norwich Hospital.

Bright Lights For Dark Nights
Posted: By Jen, June 14, 2006 11:58 p.m. ET

Editor's Note: While Melissa continues to recuperate from her illness, some of her friends have continued to pitch in and serve as Guest Bloggers in her absence. She wants to thank everyone for your prayers and good wishes.

As everyone has probably heard, our good friend and Fan Blogger Melissa recently became ill. In honor of a fellow vet and at her request, here I am writing this blog entry. Yikes. We’ll see how it goes, so please stick with me! When Melissa asked my to write this post, I knew immediately what I would write about. It’s personal and very important to me but hey; everyone loves a human-interest story, right?

As I said, both Melissa and I are fellow vets and huge WNBA fans. While she served in Desert Storm, I served two tours of duty in Iraq. In the spring of 2004, my fellow Marines packed up, shipped out and headed to the Big Sandbox in the East. Missing our families, missing the comforts of home? I was just mad that I was going to miss the WNBA season and the Olympics.

Fast-forward a couple of months. The fighting in Fallujah had broken out and almost every unit was mobilized into the city, including mine. Nine Marines in my unit, including myself, were injured our first day in the city. An injured friend of mine and I were sent to an Army hospital in another part of the country for further care. And that is where I had one of the best and worst experiences of my life. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I grew up in Southern California and have been watching Diana Taurasi play since high school. I went to El Toro High School with the Mendiola sisters and got to see them and our school versus Diana’s school a couple of times. When she went to UConn, I became a full-blown fan. How could you not be a fan after watching her play? The attitude, the skills, the whole basketball package. I loved watching her play and looked forward to every game I could catch on TV.

So back to that Army hospital back in the desert…there I was in the middle of a war zone, hurt, hot and away from my friends…and I couldn’t have been happier. The hospital had a satellite feed and that meant that for the two weeks I was stuck there, I was watching our girls light up the competition in Athens and winning the gold medal. Including Diana.

In June of 2005, I got my little sister tickets to go see her first WNBA game in L.A. Of course, the visiting team was Phoenix. We obviously wanted “our team” to win and my little sister wanted a sign so we did what any self-respecting fan would do: We resorted to bribery. We both got a kick out of it when Diana laughed and yelled “That’s a contract!” at us when she saw the sign that said “Hey D, $20 for 20 points”. After the game (after almost getting kicked out for not having a VIP pass!) I managed to catch up with Diana. My sister jokingly tried to make good on our “contract” by stuffing a 20 down D’s shorts, which resulted in her getting chased around the stands by Diana. When I had a chance to talk to D I was able to briefly tell her about my experience and about why I wanted her to have my Purple Heart. She didn’t want to accept it but I told her that she was to keep it, it was good luck. It was my way of giving something back to her, and all the women of the U.S. team, for giving me a chance to cheer during one of my darkest hours.

So here’s to the women who for two weeks made US stand up and be proud to be Americans.

I’ll be going to the Phoenix game in Los Angeles on June 30th. Do me a favor, will you all? Don’t tell the Staples Center workers I’m coming. *wink* I might actually get another chance to run into Diana that way.

Update on Melissa
Posted: By David Siegel, June 12, 2006 4:00 p.m. ET

Yesterday was a home game for the Connecticut Sun. It was kicked off with a fan fest, to be followed by an exciting, important game against division rival Washington Mystics. I was nervous about the game, with Taj McWilliams-Franklin away enjoying the correct priorities in life (her daughter’s graduation) and excited for my daughter Danielle to again see two of her favorite visiting players, Alana Beard and Delisha Milton-Jones, both of which have been very friendly to her over the last couple of years.

I spoke to my friend, Melissa, your regular blogger, in the morning, to arrange meeting, because she wanted to see Dani meet up with Alana, as possible blog material, and she was going to start at the fan fest, which she also thought would make good material. See Melissa takes her blog seriously. She explores human nature, and people, not just the game itself. While others discuss stats, their team, or whatever motivates them, Melissa spends a great deal of team watching. Watching the game, watching people, watching the world.

We got their late due to soccer commitments, and saw Melissa for no more than a friendly wave at the start of the game. I went to go see her at halftime, and saw that she must have gone to get something to eat. Then the 3rd quarter started, and no Melissa. I was very surprised when I didn’t see her in the 4th quarter, because she really loves her Sun games!

About half way through the 4th, around 5:30 or so, I text messaged Melissa “Where R U?” I figured she must have not felt well and left.

It wasn’t until 9:30 I got a response. I sent Dani to get my phone when I heard the chirp of a message. I asked her what it was, and with a pale face, she said you better read it yourself. I still get a chill when I type it now:

“Hospital heart attack”

I was able to talk to Melissa last night, and she was doing okay, in a hospital in Norwich, CT. She said she would try to get in touch with me later. I said okay, don’t worry what time. At 11:59 pm, I got a text message:

“I had to leave what was final score”

I just started laughing. How’s that for a fan! No kidding you had to leave! But Melissa didn’t know who won the game, and NEEDED to know! So I sent her back the Sun won by double figures, and knowing Melissa she went to bed happy, with visions of KT Douglas 3 pointers dancing in her head.

So is this still just a game? Do people think the WNBA is just girls trying to play basketball? Well, it’s not. It’s excitement, it’s friendships, it’s passion, and it’s an escape, all at the same time. The players are our heroes, our companions, our friends. This isn’t just about basketball; it’s about all of these things and then some.

So I hope Melissa is feeling better, and is back on the blog soon. I have this feeling she’ll be at the Sun game vs the Lynx next Thursday (it was nice of the Sun to arrange a road trip so Melissa can relax a little). And when I get to the game, I’ll look for her seat and ask “Have you seen her?”

Madison Square Garden
Posted: June 8, 2006 10:56 p.m. ET

I cannot imagine what it would be like to play in THE GARDEN. That is all you have to say is “THE Garden” and everyone know what you are talking about. The history of the place. All of the sporting events that have played out there. Boxing, dog shows, circuses, Greatful Dead; and basketball of all kinds ... high school to the pros, all have been inside ... {say it with reverence} The Garden.

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling in 1938.

Jordon ending his career in game 6 with a 20 footer.

Willis Reed, with a banged up leg, willed the Knicks to the NBA title in 1970.

Ringling Brother and Barum Bailey Circus.

Joe Frazier knocked out Muhammad Ali, while Frank Sinatra snapped pictures at ringside in 1971.

John Lennon gave his last live performance by paying off a bet to Elton John when he joined him onstage for a duet on "I Saw Her Standing There" in 1974.

Mark Messier lived up to his guarantee that the New York Rangers would win the Stanley Cup in 1994.

T-Spoon’ s “Da’ SHOT”.

The list goes on and on and on...

This year is the home of the WNBA’s All-Star game in the leagues 10th year.

There is a lot of history for the Liberty every time they walk onto the court. Look to the rafters and there are all the championship banners. Lots of memories and moments from other sports in that holy mecca of athletics. All around the country the W is playing in spots that are filled with the history of sports. They are adding to that list of magical moments.

The first season the Sun came to Connecticut, I looked at our “tiny” arena of 10,000 seats. It was originally built for concerts and other events the casino was holding. The rafters were empty. No championships to display. No history to live up too.

Now me, I am big on history. The past. I am a 17th generation American. Yup Mayflower and all. A couple of relatives signed a few of the documents that started this country. My grandmother always told me, whenever I had some hair brained idea “Your family helped host one revolution; we can always host another”. Grandma was cool.

So the first season the Sun was here, I did not buy season tickets. I sat all around the arena. I was looking for “MY” seats. I was looking for the spot where history was made. I was looking for the past.

And then I realized there was no past. That this arena was brand spanking new for a brand spanking new professional WOMEN’S team. I did not have to wonder about what it would have been like to witness sports history in the making, I could be part of history making moments. Way cool. The rafters of the arena are starting to fill with championship banners. And I can say I saw them won and then lifted to the rafter heavens in a prayer of celebration. It is the arena to me now. It isn’t The Garden but it is my sports shrine. And this shrine is being built with women’s sweat and women’s sports stories and women’s athletic dreams.

Not HIStory but HER dreams.

The Garden is cool. And the Liberty are great; but I am hanging with the Sun as they make history. Section 12, row E, seats 1&2. My usher Jane seats me and I witness.

I bow my head in prayer for my fellow soldiers with the singing of the National anthem; I worship at the athleticism of Kesha as she drives the lane, or Large Marge when she swats one into the side lines. I lift my voice in praise when Katie drains a 3 or Lindsey makes an amazing pass. And I preach the gospel of the W to all who will listen. And I sit shiva when my beloved team loses. I whisper in my evening prayers, “Please God, this year, let them win it all this year.” Of course God is a fan of the W and roots for the Sun.

We worship during the months of May through September. Services are held 2 to 3 times a week. Starting times are posted on the web site. Seating is limited so please make your reservations with the Ushers at your local place of worship.

And try to get to The Garden for the All-Star game. Everyone should make a trip to Mecca at least once in their lives. Ashante and I will be worshipping somewhere close to the floor.

New members to various WNBA “clubs”

Katie Douglas 1500 points scored, Dawn Staley 2000 points scored, Tamika Whitmore 2000 points scored, Lauren Jackson 3000 points scored

Swim Cash 750 rebounds, Cheryl Ford 1,000 rebounds, Nykesha Sales 1,000 rebounds,
Margo Dydek 1750 rebounds

Tamika Catchings 500 assists

Katie Smith 200 steals, Tully Bevilaqua 250 steals

Ruth Riley 250 blocks

Acts of Kindness:

“I’m Lisa Leslie and you are watching ‘In The Life’ on LOGO.” Way cool.

The Other Original
Posted: June 2, 2006 5:22 p.m. ET

Records to be Broken

I was in the process of writing this when the W Dot com site put their article up. So I held on to it for a while thinking I was going to scrap it. And then I said, “When history is being made there is never to much commentary”. So....

While my fellow bloggers are talking about opening day games and activities I am thinking about the season as a whole. My apologies to Kevin the resident stat man for talking numbers but this year, the 10th anniversary year, records should be set by many people and I hope to witness as many as possible. History is a wonderful thing and I want to be able to say “I saw...

Lisa Leslie join Katie Smith in the 5,000 point club

Sheryl Swoopes score her 4,000th point

Nykesha Sales, Yolanda Griffith, and Vicky Johnson pass the 3,500 point mark

Mwadi Mabika, Wendy Palmer and Lauren Jackson pass the 3,000 point mark.

Chasity Melvin, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Tamika Catchings pass the 2,500 point mark

Nykesha Sales grabbing her 1,000th rebound and Swim Cash getting to 750 rebounds

Becky Hammon, Dominique Canty, and Tamika Catchings making their 500th assist

Ticha Penicheiro making her 500th steal, Nykesha Sales her 450th and Lisa Leslie her 400th, Tully Bevliaqua her 250th and Katie Smith; Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird should get to 200 steals this year

Margo Dydek needs 18 more blocks to make the 750 mark and Lisa Leslie needs 5 to get to 650.

Lots of bench marks should be made this year. Bench marks that are Hall of fame material.

One of the fun things I get to write about are the great moments, great plays and great players I have watched. I am amazed at the number of history making moments that should occur this year. While the sports shows talk about Bonds and his home runs, the W is about to set some equally amazing records. And I certainly hope the record setting balls are collected, marked and put in the Hall of Fame for our kids to talk about. And if they are not put in the Hall then I certainly hope they are given to the players because they CERTAINLY deserve to keep a piece of their personal history.

And ten years from now, we will all get to say “I remember watching...”

Tangela Smith scored her 3,000 this past week.

In the 2004 Olympics I got to watch, courtesy of the TV, Mia Hamm pass the ball to Kat Reddick, who scored the winning goal. I just smiled and said, “That was history”. That was the moment women’s soccer was passed into the hands {or feet in this case} of the next generation of women superstars. Literally.

So what does this have to do with basketball you say?

Friday, June 2, 2006 at 7:30 CDT, Dawn Staley, Head Coach of Temple Women’s Basketball and the Starting Point Guard of the Houston Comets, will play Candice Dupree, Class of 06 Temple and Starting Forward of the Chicago Sky. If I did not have to attend a wedding tomorrow; I would be in Chicago just to watch that MOMENT.

Dawn Staley. What can I possibly say about her that has not been said. And Candice Dupree, her student. In some weird way I hope Candice steals the ball from Dawn. It would be a poetic moment. The literal passing of the game from one generation to the next.

Acts of Kindness:

Mystics Blood Drive
Donate a pint. Save a life. What could be more cool than that?

Mindless Comments:

"My life is enough to make you want to laugh so hard you snort water. I am so not blonde enough for this." My friend Bert May 31, 2006

The Goal
Posted: May 30, 2006 7:22 p.m. ET

The President of the WNBA Donna Orender announced on Sunday, May 21st that over the next ten years, the league was going to expand to 24 tens. Ten new teams. That works out to one a year. So this fan is going to put her nose into the front offices business.

I hope that the league expands at the rate of 2 teams every other year. One in the East and one in the West. That keeps the league balanced. And adds 4 to 6 additional games to each teams schedule. For me, a season ticket holder, that means a higher cost for me to work into my budget. (4 tickets x $20 a seat x 4 games = $320, six games equals an extra $480 a year.) On the other hand that mean four to six more games a year to watch, to drink in, to reveal in. And THAT is a good thing. By 2016 it means a minimum of 54 games a season! Woo Hoooooooooooooo!!!!! (Happy feet dance.)

To expand the league at the rate of one team a year or to expand with more than two teams in one year will effect parity and team chemistry. When coaches; owners, and players never knowing who is going to be snatched in an expansion draft, the level of play will be impacted. If, every year, fans are continually wondering if their favorite player is going to be sent to another team, it becomes harder and harder to manifest ones loyalty to your local team through the purchase of season tickets. If I am going to lose one of my favorite players from the Sun every year to an expansion team, I am going to have to get some therapy for my separation anxiety. Ok, that maybe a wee bit overstated but still losing Brooke was very hard for me. To that every year would be rather difficult.

One of the biggest markets for the W is working families. The W is an event that is affordable and family friendly. For working families and folks on a set budget it will be harder and harder to afford season tickets. And the W is a family sport. A safe place to take kids filled with role models and a positive environment that is learning to embrace diversity; the W is a great reflection of America and as such the W team owners are going to have to seriously think about how to keep the seats affordable to season ticket holders as the league grows.

Ten new teams is going to require ten new owners. I strongly call on the league to look for owners who are lovers of the WOMEN’s game. While the relationship to the NBA for team ownership has helped start this league and has kept it alive at times; it also is a two edge sword. I believe that Connecticut, Washington and Chicago are the new business model for the ownership of W teams. I think the W is now large enough to begin to stand as a separate organization. All parents have to let their children stand on their own two feet. If we listen to Mr. Stern as he speaks of using the history of tennis as a model for the W, we know that the women’s game exploded when it finally separated itself from the men and stood on its own two feet thanks to Billie Jean King.

I also think it is time for more women to own women’s teams. Washington and Phoenix are examples we can look to for this model. Hey Oprah... invest in women! Rosie! You love the game, invest! I bet there a women out there who would be brilliant at putting together a syndicate of women investors. This is our game and it is time we asked our successful business women to support the game in a different way. A big lesson I have learned in politics is that people will help when you ask them but you have to ask them! So Shania Twain, you talked about the W when you sang at Mohegan and wore a Sun jersey, so invest in a Tennessee team. Hey Reba! Step up. Wynona? Where are you sister?

Ten new teams means ten new cities. For the expansion to be successful, cities need to be places where the WOMEN’s game is supported. Places like TENNESSEE!! (Please for give me UConn for mentioning the team that shall be nameless). However it is a state that is crazy for the women’s game. And as such they have the potential to support a women’s team.

So here are my unsolicited recommended cities for expansion:

1. Somewhere in Tennessee (West) because of, well, duh, its Tennessee. The only state that is more women’s basketball mad is Connecticut.

2. Cleveland (East) because they still have a fan base to build on. The end of this team was not for basketball reasons. I hope there are some shrewd business people in Cleveland who put something together to get this team back.

3. New Orleans (West) because of LSU and it is a city rebuilding. There is HUGE opportunity there as the city emerges again. Anyone who is smart enough to commit to the city will receive the support of its citizens. While the Hornets are playing OK, that will change soon enough.

4. Philadelphia (East) because it is home of Temple and Dawn Staley and Penn State; a force in the women’s game even with all of its issues.

5. Atlanta (East) because it is one of the fastest growing cities in the country and the closest team is hundreds of miles away. After all, Kevin deserves a home team to support.

6. K.C. (West) because it is close to SW Mizzou home of Jackie Stiles and it is close to Kanas State. These are two LARGE women’s game populations to support a team. And doesn’t Mechelle Voeple deserve to have her own home team?

7. Boston. (East) We are so basketball mad in New England that Boston can support a team in a smaller arena that seats around 8-10,000. B.C. and B.U. are getting there in terms of popularity of the women’s game. And Maine-iacs still think Cindy Blogget walks on water. It is to far for them to get to Connecticut for games but Boston is doable.

8. Las Vegas (West) because there is just so much gambling and so many versions of Cirque one can see on a vacation. And if you live and work in Vegas it will be nice to have something to do beside gambling and shows.

I have no idea for cities 9 and 10. Maybe Oklahoma? Somewhere in Florida? Back to Utah? Naaaa on Utah. Portland? Gasp... dare I say it... maybe former ABL cities? I think that after watching which teams emerge over the next 10 years from March Madness, will reveal where teams 9 and 10 should be placed.

Sometimes my friends and I play the “What would you do if you won the lottery” game. I always say the same thing... Buy a W team.

Acts of Kindness:

Chicago Sky for Operation Gratitude. Good job. Thank you for your efforts.

Washington Mystics who, according to folks on the message board, have a special section in the Club Level at every home game for service members at Walter Reed. There's a big banner up about honoring our heroes behind them, and they are recognized at every half time. Thank you for your efforts. Would love to see something on your web site.

Mindless comments:

“Sports are only for boys?” Followed by hysterical laughter.
Emma Taylor, 13 when told about Title IX.

Support the Troops
Posted: May 26, 2006 12:01 p.m. ET

I have struggled with this post for several days. I have struggled to the point of having it previewed by several of my friends. I was informed that with this being Memorial Day Weekend, I should let people know how to support the troops since I was one.

May 20th Season opener for the Connecticut Sun was Military Appreciation Day. If you showed your military ID you got a $16 dollar seat for $10. Nice discount. Nice to know how much you appreciate us... $6 whole dollars a piece. Six dollars plus Blaze wearing sequins on a BDU top that I had worn in combat. Yes, I left the arena feeling all warm and fuzzy over that one. In an effort to find something positive in all of this I wrote the following:

So here is my question. Why is Connecticut the only team to have a Military Appreciation Night? And why is it only for one game?

Do you have any idea the financial burden that is placed on military families when someone is deployed? On when an entire National Guard unit is sent overseas? The Poverty Line in the US is $18,400 a year for a family of four. What that means to those who serve is If you are an enlisted person of the rank of Corporal or lower and have 2 years or less of service and are a family of 4 you are below the poverty line. In other words, married with two kids and just enlisted; you are in poverty while serving in the United States Military.

A friend of mine is a pharmacist. She has served in the Air Force for over 20 years as a Master Sergeant. When she graduated from Pharm. school she accepted a commission as a First Lieutenant. Her pay as a pharmacist, about 150,000 a year. Her pay when activated as a 1LT $75,800. Yes, you too can lose half your pay for the privilege of serving your country and getting shot at. Oh imminent danger pay? Better known as combat pay, $225 a month. When I was in Desert Storm it was $150. Nice to know how much your life is worth.

Do you really want to know the sacrifices that are made by the families while a loved one serves? Ask Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Her husband is doing a tour of Iraq as you read this.

So here is what I say to the WNBA...

Support the troops in a way that actually makes a difference to us.

If each team picked one section of seating and sold those tickets to vets and their families for 5 bucks a piece, I guarantee you the loudest cheering section. Look at the tapes of the Army team making it to the NCAA tourney to get an idea of how supportive we can get. Active duty, reservist and VA ID cards could be shown at the box office to “prove” veterans status.

The next time you want you do a community event try visiting the local VA hospital. There you can witness the price people have paid for freedom. And the deplorable conditions of the hospitals we send veterans to for healing.

Hey Mystics, you have Walter Reed in your back yard. You have literally thousand of troops passing through your area. Think of all the new fans if you reached out to them. There is a restaurant in DC that gives a steak dinner to the troops on Friday nights. The DAV provides the transportation from the hospital to the restaurant. Contact them, I bet they would help you out.

Hey Silver Stars... you have Fort Sam Houston in your backyard. These are the medical people who take care of us in a combat zone. Have a “Take a Medic to Game” Day or label a section of your arena “The Hospital” as you have a supply of medics on hand to fix up opposing teams after you beat them. Imagine what it would do to other teams if you had a couple of medics on the side lines with a stretcher. Think MASH. No wait... CT has to play you.... forget everything I just said.

Hey Mercury... you have Fort Huachuca... Seattle; Fort Stewart... Houston you can have not one but two Tank Divisions with Fort Hood...

L.A., you have the Marines in San Diego... Think of all the buff boys in the stands cheering you on...

Charlotte... you have Fort Bragg and loads of other bases. The list goes on and on. To find your local installations go to

Or adopt a local National Guard unit that has been deployed. Get the names of the members and send them copies of the game tapes. Or sponsor care packages. Have fans bring supplies to the game to be sent to the troops. What I would have given for Charmin toilet paper when I was in Desert Storm. The list of possibilities are endless.

To the fans I say...

You want to support the troops? Stop putting a magnet on the back of your car. The 10 bucks you spent on that magnet goes to a multinational corporation and not a single penny goes to a troop.

You want to support us? Give 10 bucks to the Disabled American Veterans. Every penny goes to paying for services for vets. They provide advocates to help vets get compensation and pensions from the VA and free transportation for vets to and from their homes to doctors appointments among other badly needed services.

Operation Uplink gets phone cards to the troops for them to be able to call home. I wish that was around when I was in Kuwait. 1,200 bucks in phone bills for calling home. The phone company made a bundle off of us by charging us as high as 8 dollars a minute.

How about volunteering at your local VA hospital.

My parents could not deal with my being injured so they abandon me when I came home. Along with my girlfriend who left me for my best friend. To have someone sit with me when I was undergoing rehab and learning to walk again would have been better than any parade. My friends pitched in back in February of this year when I was hospitalized again. They brought me food, kept me company, harassed nurses to get me my pain meds and took care of my cats. Thye girls team I help coach sent me a get well card. I still have that card and I still cry.

Imagine going through surgeries with no one there. Or learning to walk or learning to use a prosthetic device or a wheelchair or being blind or dying...

Now imagine your family to poor to get to you. Or your family not caring to get to you. Or not having a family cause you are kid from foster care who joined to get education benefits...

Imagine recovery ... alone...

You have no idea the deplorable state of VA hospitals. But I am not going to get political here to explain why they are, but please believe me when I say your pets are treated better at the animal hospital then I am at a VA hospital.

To big for you? To abstract? How about your neighborhood. Know someone who is deployed? Know someone at work who has a family member deployed? Help them out. Go to the local utility company and pay 25 bucks on their electric bill or gas bill. Anonymously donate gift cards to the local grocery. The elderly person next door maybe a W.W. II vet... man or woman cause we serve also... mow their lawn, shovel their snow in the winter.

Pick a family and be there for them. Letters and care packages to those serving and support to those at home. My buddy Dave and his wife Naomi have a pen pal who is in Iraq. They ask me all the time about things to do; say and send to support “their” soldier and his unit. They bought a bunch of Girl Scout cookies and sent those. Now I know those were a hit and I know how a small little thing like a roll of cookies can make a difference.

These are the little things that can make a vet’s life better.

I have good days and bad days. My buddy Brian goes shopping with me. He gets to buy food for his dorm room and I get someone to carry the cat little to the second floor. He thinks I am doing him a favor.

My own Sun had the Coast Guard Band play at our games last year and the Sub Base school provide the color guard even though they are squid and can’t get in step, it still does my heart proud to see some people remembering us and our service. So they are starting the process of reaching out to the military. But someday I hope to be able to say

“In Connecticut... support the troops means something.”

Acts of Kindness:

Matt Wurst and the W for posting this commentary.
If you know of any kind acts and want to share, send them to me at

Mindless Comments:

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realists adjusts the sail.” William Arthur Ward

Definition of a Fan
Posted: May 23, 2006 1:09 p.m. ET

Main Entry: fan
Function: noun
Etymology: probably short for fanatic
1 : an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator
2 : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

Yup. That would be me. A Fan. An enthusiastic devotee of a sport as a spectator. My friends will tell you how I perk up during the season. But I know it starts with March Madness. Who will be drafted? Who will be traded? Who is going to be signed? But most of all... predict the final roster.

There is a message board I read and post on. Right now the posts are flying about who is waived, who is traded and who we fans think teams need to have on which team. And lord does everyone have their favorite player. And do we get nuts about “OUR” {insert name of your favorite player}.

My question is how do we fans pick our favorites? For some people it is the sheer talent of the player. Taurasi, Bird, Cash, Hammond, Jackson, Yo, Swoopes, Tweety, TT, Beard, Lawson and so on. For others; the player comes from their local college or university. I cite any player from Tennessee or UConn.

But for me it is a wee bit different. I root for the ones who have been injured. I love the players who have fought back from some career ending injury.

Why you ask? Because I had my butt spanked in Desert Storm. My left leg was rebuilt. Four reconstructive surgeries and two years learning how to walk again. I still use canes sometimes. Good days bad days.

I would have given anything to have someone to look at and say “If Nykesha Sales can do it, so can I.” But it was 1992. No war in Kuwait, women aren’t in combat and there was no WNBA.

Today there is a W. There is a war and there are women in combat.
Ask Ruth Riley about her old ND teammate.

But today we women who have experienced some character building moment can look at Swim Cash and say “hey she did it! I can recover also.”

Sue Bird’s broken nose. Not once but twice.

Pick a knee. Any knee. And think about Brooke Wyckoff, Sales, Cash, Smith and know that you can recover from knee surgery or hip surgery. You may not play basketball in the W like these women do, but you can learn to walk again.

Pregnant? Had a baby recently and wonder if you will ever get your body back? Trying to figure out how to balance work and kids? There is a role model for you somewhere in the W. Helen Darling had triplets. Triplets!!!! I am in awe. Every team has mothers playing on it. If they can do it then you can do it.

Deaf? One of the greatest to play this game... Tamika Catchings.

School? Rookies juggle finishing college and making the team. Alana Beard graduated with honors from Duke. Allison Feaster graduated from Harvard. Lisa Leslie went back for a Masters. Jamie Carey just finished hers and Monique Currie worked on one while finishing her fifth year at Duke. Every team is filled with college graduates. In 2001, Sixty-five percent of Division I women’s basketball players graduated.

Lost a job? Wendy Palmer is playing in her tenth season and started in the season opener for her 6th team, the Seattle Storm.

Divorce? Yup a few of those in the W also. But they are still playing or coaching.

So who am I a “fan” of? For me it is Brooke Wyckoff and Jamie Carey.

At this point everyone knows about my leg so when I watched Brooke rehab after her knee boy could I empathize. But my jaw dropped when I watched her do sit ups at an open practice with the Sun. And I thought I was a stud when I was on active duty. Brooke can smoke your average basic training unit. She was cranking those crunches out and smiling with every drop of sweat. No wonder she is a terror on defense. Rips your face off and smiles as she does it. Last year in the play offs Indiana was at Connecticut. Brooke was all over Catch with her defense. Aggressive, in your face. And then Catch was called for the offensive foul. Brook just smiled. Catch was so pissed she did a very rare thing for her, she tossed a very polite temper tantrum. Polite but still got the T as it was a temper tantrum.

And Brooke just smiled.

I think about that smile when I have to deal with politicians and getting a law passed. Smile as I harass them.

I responded to the World Trade Center with the Red Cross. But the end of week two I was so exhausted I did not pay attention and I fell down a flight of 14 cement steps. Ouch. Ask me sometime and I will tell you about it but it was weeks before I could walk from my bed to the bathroom and not want to toss my cookies.

And Jamie played basketball???? Dang girl!

The other reason is her brother. My ranger buddy from Desert Storm could not readjust to civilian life when we got home. September of 1997 Thomas took his own life. I know what it means to me to have lost him, I cannot imagine what it would mean to lose a brother.

But there is Jamie. Playing hard. And I think ; “If Jamie can do it. so can I”

So there is more to the W than hot chicks putting a ball in a basket. Something going on in your life? There is someone in the W who has been there; done that and has sold the T-shirt at a tag sale to prove it. Pick a role model cause if they can do it, so can you.

Acts of Kindness:
Brooke Wyckoff talking politics with me after a STH thing. I can talk with Senators and legislators but put me next to Brooke or Jamie and I giggle my way back to 5 years old and waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Mindless Comment:
”My University is so concerned with social issues I have to hang out with a lesbian so I can eat chicken wings, watch basketball and be butch.” My buddy Brian May 16, 2006

Trading Cards
Posted: By Melissa, May 19, 2006 1:13 a.m. ET

Rittenhouse trading cards are coming out soon. Orders have to be in by the 15th of June. My guy Steve at my local hobby shop is taking care of me again this year. I know stupid hobby for a 43 year old woman. But hey my day job is getting laws past to help veterans so humor me.

Why do I collect cards? Cause I am never going to see Jamilla Wideman nail another shot on a court. But when I pick up her card I remember watching her play in March Madness for Stanford. Lord that woman could move. Or T-Spoon. I pick up her card and I see THE SHOT all over again. Half court at the buzzer and there is T-Spoon with her smile that lights up Madison Square Garden to the rafters. Or Coop. Man what I would give to see her play one more time.

Or Kim Perrot.

Breast Cancer took her. And her sweetness on and off the court. But I have her card.

Laid out in trading cards are the history of the game. Katie Smith’s rookie card, though the Minnesota years; to the trade and how weird is it to see her in a Detroit uniform? Or Dawn Staley? This is her last year and I will have her card. The UConn greats... from Lobo to Rizzotti, Sales, Cash, Bird and Taurasi. And the rest of the women in blue who played in the W... Williams, Jones and others. This year I may be able to add Battle, and Strothers.

Someday I sill sit with those cards and go through them with my kids. I will teach them the story of the W with those cards. We will talk about how the game grew, what happen to teams, and players. And in those conversations there will be talk about business, contracts, fair play, dreams, and how sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we want. And with those cards I will teach them about Title IX and the day I got to watch 5’ 6” Becky Hammond box out 7’ 2” Margo Dydek because Becky believed she could.

Aren’t memories great?

Recently I found out that the companies who produced these cards do not give copies of the cards to the players themselves. Well, that pisses me off. It just doesn’t seem right that the women whose pictures grace these cards, who fill my memories; who spend hours signing cards either before they go into a box or after we take them out; do not get their own cards. So instead of mumbling about the lack of justice in this world or shrugging my shoulders and rolling my eyes at business making a buck on the back of the hard work of others, I have started to give the players my extras.

I have lots from over the years. So now when my sets are complete I put my extras into envelopes with the players name on it. When I go to the games now I take the envelopes with me so I can give the cards to the players who have given me the memories. After all it is only fair.

So if you have extras, give them to your favorite players. Share them with some kid at a game. They do us no good sitting on a shelf. And the players can sign something other than a piece of paper some little kid thrust at them.

And players, if some silver haired over weight former jock with a limp stops you on the way to the elevators at the casino and hands you and envelope with your name on it ... take it. It just might have your rookie card in it.

Acts of Kindness:

Tina James and the CT Sun Hero Awards.

Great Mindless Comment:

“I am a woman and you are going down.”
Brandi Chastain to a Joe (Pro’s vs Joe’s) stupid enough to say “I am not losing to a girl.” She kicked his butt. (pun intended)

Kindness Should Never Be Random
Posted: May 16, 2006 10:52 a.m. ET

“... be the change you wish to see in the world... -Gandhi

On May 11th, Crystal at the Charlotte Sting let me purchase 2 10 dollar tickets for their season opener and then donate them to the Bobcats Charitable Foundation for local kids to attend the game.

And I get a tax deduction. Who says kindness doesn’t pay off. I get a tax break and a couple of kids get to go to a game.

Hey it cost me less than an evening at the movies and a couple of kids get to see a game. I might do that every month of the season. I can give up a movie for that.

But here is my question... Is Charlotte the only team that does this? And if they are; why? If not; why is the information not posted everywhere on team web sites and ticket sales for this donation option? How many Boys and Girls clubs would give their right something to have access to tickets to a positive event to take their kids to? Or DCF’s being able to take foster kids from group homes?

Think about when you were 10... or 12... what would it have meant to you to watch a WNBA game? For me it would have meant everything. I was a pre-Title IX baby. There wasn’t sports for girls when I was a kid. I was not allowed to play baseball with the boys. No Pee Wee football for me.

I was 13 when I finally got to play softball. Except there was no pitch count. Yes, you read that right. No pitch count. The first time I played softball a player got to bat until they got a hit cause “girls could not handle the disappointment of not hitting the ball.” Swear to God. I was a pitcher at first. And then the other teams complained that I pitched to hard and to fast. Yes, they complained I pitched to hard and fast for their girls.

And basketball was the 6 man game. 6 to a side, 3x3 on each half of the court. No crossing the half court line. 3 dribbles, and then you had to pass. No running because girl’s hearts could not handle it. Swear to God this is what I was told. Yeah I laugh now also. Especially when I watch Erin Phillips drive the lane. Or Taurasi. Becky’s over and under move. Or {insert your favorite player’s name here} when she {insert your favorite move}.

So imagine what it means to a kid today to watch women be PAID to play ball.

Imagine what it means to women like me to see women get PAID to play.

So call Crystal in Community Relations today at 704-688-8813 or e-mail her at and send a couple of kids to a game cause kindness should never be random.

Acts of kindness:

Le’Coe Willingham signing en extra card for after signing my ball. Thank you.

Oakland Athletics' Mark Kotsay hits a two-run home run off New York Yankees pitcher Randy Johnson using a pick bat and wearing a pink wrist sweat band in honor of mothers day and breast cancer. If more men fought breast cancer we would have a cure.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Mindless Comment:

Lobo on Pros vs Joes. Loved the soccer shorts!

Do They Know?
Posted: May 10, 2006 5:01 p.m. ET

I am in the process of adopting from the foster care system. Part of the process is to attend a 10 week class called PRIDE where we discuss parenting. One of my classmates is a single mother with a nine year old son named Ashante. In the course of our classes (I could not resist the pun) my love of the WNBA came out of the sports closet. One of the class instructors also is a BIG fan of the women's game. We started with March Madness; through the draft and have moved right into the preseason W. It was in these conversations between a straight hispanic man, and a white lesbian, that a black single mother that revealed our commonality and her son Ashante’s desire to play in the NBA. But she had her concerns as she wanted her son to be a doctor or a lawyer and attend Harvard.

Sound familiar? Ring any bells for people?

So I invited Ashante and his mom to the preseason game between The Sun and The Shock. (My instructor was bummed as he could not get tickets. Hmmmm I want to pass so maybe I should have invited him.) Ashante is a bright kid with endless questions about everything. The kid exhausted me with questions before we got to the game.

Before the game it was all about the guy’s game. And then he watched. And listened. And Mom found out that Allison Feaster attended Harvard and played in the W. Even better when Mom found out Allison is black. Ashante was amazed to hear that women can dunk and that Tweety almost dunked in the All-star game. And the look I got when he found out I had actually had what he thought was the privilege of attending an All-star game. But that was nothing compared to him finding out that the next one was going to be in NYC and if he did real well in school I might take him.

At half time Ashante got his courage up and stood by the rail as the players walked back on to the court. At first he was nervous. And then a player actually slapped his hand as she went onto the court.

For the rest of my life I will always wonder is she knows how she changed one kids life.

A real live professional basketball player gave Ashante a high five. The player was no longer a “girl”. She was a professional basketball player.
I friend of mine also is a season ticket holder for the CT Sun and he knows John Maxwell who works for Detroit Shock Public Relations. My friend was kind enough to introduce us. Mr. Maxwell was kind enough to give Ashante and I wrist bands so we could meet players from Detroit after the game. All I could think was “kkkkkkeeeeewllllllllllll”. Cause when it comes to basketball; Ashante is not the only kid in the room.

So the game finishes. Detroit’s starting 5 spank the Sun’s bench in the worst score in the Sun’s history. We can get into a long discourse about that but this is about Ashante. He and I hang with my buddy and a couple of other people and then out comes Katie Smith.

Ms Smith was kind enough to sign his shirt, and take a picture with Ashante. I explained to him that Ms Smith has scored more points than any other woman in professional basketball. “Wow. More than Kobe?”, was his response. “No not as many as Kobe. But he plays in more games. Katie plays in 34 or so games a year and Kobe plays in at least twice that many” “Ooh” was his response as she finished signing and wandered off to chat with her friends and family. I whispered to Ashante that Ms Smith was going to be a dentist when she finished playing basketball. NOW THAT got a response.

Zip. He was up standing next to her and asking Ms Smith all about being a doctor. They chatted for several minutes and then she turned back to her family.

Ashante was awe struck. I could watch the wheels in his head turn as he realized for the first time he could play in the NBA, be a doctor and go to Harvard.

And it was the women's game that showed him he could make his dreams come true.

Ashante’s shirt was also signed by Kara Braxton, Ruth Riley, and Plenette Pierson. And he has the pictures to prove it.

So here is my question. Do they know? Do these women know what an impact they have on people’s lives? When they stop and give and autograph to a kid or have their picture taken; do they know what it means to that child? Or sometimes to that adult? Heck, the only picture I will have in my office is me with Brooke Wyckoff (when I get it from the Sun).

Ms. Smith, do you have any idea how you changed a little boy’s dreams when he found out he could play basketball and be a doctor?