Courtside Blog - Aug. 22 vs. Shock (Girl Scouts)

I think this may be the coolest job in the entire stadium. I mean it. Court-side seats, within hearing range of both coaches, a nice paper “staff” badge around my neck—oh, and I get to answer the phone if ESPN calls.

For those of you who don’t know me (which I assume is everyone except the relatives my parents emailed to proudly brag about my experience, who are probably reading this out of sheer curiosity—hi Grammy!), I’m Meredith Staub, a Girl Scout out of Naperville. For tonight, the Girl Scout Night at Chicago Sky, I volunteered to be a web blogger. (Incidentally, I originally wanted to be a reporter; funny how life works out in your favor sometimes.) Now I get to sit at the scorer’s table with a soft pretzel and a soda, my laptop, my best friend, two cool guys named Dave and Brian, and the math homework I brought along to do in my spare time—which I don’t think I’ll touch all night. Sorry Mr. Yanisch.

Anyway. It didn’t seem like I’d be able to say much with the game going on, so I decided to just jump right in even though we’ve still got a while to go. In the short two hours I’ve been here (…has it really been that long?) I’ve met quite a few new people. I asked one of the players on the Sky team, Brooke Wyckoff, what she thought was the key to winning the game: “I think we’ll be all right if we just keep them off the boards. They had a lot of offensive rebounds last time we played them, so I think if we keep them on the defensive we can win this game.” She was very nice about it, and very friendly!

I talked to the Head Coach as well, Coach Key, and asked him how it felt to be in a playoff position for the first time as Head Coach. He immediately smiled and said, “It feels good—it’s new territory for us. For the past few years, we knew we’d have to win them all. It’ll be nice to know all our hard work has been worth it.”

By the way, the first thing I learned upon coming here was this: I do not write fast. And when I do attempt to nonchalantly scribble some shorthand onto a piece of paper while someone’s talking (which feels oddly rude to me—I always feel like I should apologize for not paying attention to the person while they’re speaking), I can’t read what I wrote afterwards. So those quotes? Yeah, not exact.

Hey, being a blogger is harder than you think! [My apologies to both Coach Key and Wyckoff, and my thanks for offering their perspectives on the game.]

All right, they’re starting up now—a bit of pre-game entertainment, I think. A group of seven or eight girls doing a dance routine for Pastry (www.pastrykicks.com).

OHHEY! The MC for this game is Danny, one of the friends I made at summer camp this year. Doin’ a pretty good job, if I may say so myself. And wearing our camp shirt!!!

Actually, I know quite a few of the Girl Scouts working the game. Melissa Parker, one of the higher-ranking women at our Scout council, posted an opportunity to work at one of the Sky games on the council website—Girl Scouts are working ticket booths, food stands, meeting VIPs, retrieving balls, writing newspaper articles, even Twittering away during the course of the game. Girl Scouts are singing the national anthem, taking pictures, setting up the laundry room and locker room, doing the halftime entertainment…and blogging.

Ooh, Detroit gets the opening tip and the first basket…with a foul on Sky.

Tamara Young pulled down a few good defensive rebounds—just like Brooke said they needed to. Of all the Sky players, she’s (Brooke) impressed me the most so far with her steals and by making both her free throws. (My dad pounded the concept of getting free throws into my head throughout childhood—“If they’re free, there’s absolutely no reason you shouldn’t get them!”) But I’m no expert on basketball.

Nail-biting first quarter, the two teams seem evenly matched as the Sky lead 22-21.

Second quarter now, the audience is really getting into it—I can see a lot of young girls with those beater-things (you know the things I mean: they’re big, inflatable, and they make an amusingly loud sound when you clap them together) cheering their hearts out. In fact, my old camp counselor is right across the court, and I can see her getting quite into it too. Very close game, very exciting. Makes me feel like I need popcorn and a hot dog to complete the picture.

Sky is now taking the lead with the help of a three-pointer and some free throws—will they be able to keep it? Detroit picks it up a little bit in response …but Sky is definitely getting those defensive rebounds.

Halftime entertainment is solely the responsibility of the Girl Scouts. They had to send in tapes of their performance to be selected, and were told of their selection about two weeks ago. How do I know?

My troop is performing during halftime!!!

Yep, they altered a dance we did for a Girl Scout competition (one that coincidentally involved basketballs, believe it or not) to perform for the halftime here at the Sky game. I’m so proud! I know they all worked hard on getting this thing ready to go, picture perfect. The other troop who performed also did a dance, one with a little more hip-hop—and more colorful costumes. (Will someone please tell me where I can get those socks?)

I just answered a call from ESPN. No joke. How cool is that? (Hey, if they ever ask you how you want to help out at a Sky game, say you wanna be a blogger.)

Second half opens with a nice shot by Tamara Young, plus another shot by the Sky, making it 47 Sky, 42 Shock. The Sky is really stepping it up right now.

Annnnddd Detroit is quickly catching up with a barrage of three-pointers and some good rebounds, making it a shocking 60-51 Detroit lead that seemed to come out of nowhere

And a NICE smack-down by Sky! That was beautiful! I don’t think I’m very good at this blogging thing. I can’t remember which player it was. Knocked her right down, though, hard and fast. Third period ends, 63- 55 Detroit.

Cha-cha slide during a timeout? Me and my friend hopped up and joined in, along with at least a hundred other audience members! I want to know whose brilliant idea that was. They deserve a hug! (Or how about those colorful socks those girls at halftime wore? Those would make a lovely gift. Santa, if you’re reading this…)

They do seem to be having a problem with those electronics today, though. Second time something has gone wrong with the clocks and they’ve had to stop the game to fix it. Technology these days. Tsk tsk.

With only 45 seconds left in the game, Sky is still down 74-67. The audience doesn’t seem pessimistic—their noise level has remained at a head-pounding, ecstatic level, and the chants of LET’S GO SKY are never half-hearted. And as much credit goes to the Sky team as goes to the audience; they’re fighting tooth and nail to regain their lead over Detroit. I’m just afraid they won’t have enough time to do it.

Final score: 76-67 in favor of the Shock. I won’t belittle Detroit’s victory, they earned it. But all the blame shouldn’t fall on the Sky, it looked like they were truly trying their best out there. And they really had to fight to keep Detroit from gaining any more of a lead over them. For me, personally, it was a really thrilling experience to see these women play—they put everything they have into the game, and it’s very obvious to see even to the untrained eye.

This has been wonderful fun, I’m glad I had this opportunity. Let me tell you all: sitting at the scorer’s table (Best seats in the house!) with a laptop, a soft pretzel, and Sour Punch Straws is the best job in the world. I highly suggest you try it.

Thank you to the Girl Scouts for making this night possible, and to the Chicago Sky—especially Margaret, whom I know is making a significant effort for the Girl Scouts—for hosting this for us. It really was a fantastic experience, and I hope I’ll get to do it again!