Courtesy Larry Owens
Meet Your Fellow Storm Fan: Larry and Ashley Owens
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | June 18, 2009
Tomorrow night's game against the Minnesota Lynx may officially be the Seattle Storm's Dads & Daughters® Night, but every Storm game is a father-daughter experience for Storm Season Ticket Holder Larry Owens and his daughter Ashley. Since 2002, when Ashley was eight, they've been coming to games at KeyArena together.
"It has been a strong part of our relationship the last seven years," says Larry Owens. "As kids grow up, the connection with parents gets stronger, weaker, it fluctuates all over the map, but one of the constants has been the Storm has been a dad and daughter event for us for seven years - so much so that my wife has said, 'Keep this as a daughter and dad thing. You guys need something that's just yours.'"
DADS & DAUGHERS® NIGHT
"When you're a season-ticket holder and you get to know the people around you, it's really fun," says Larry. "We typically don't see the people during the offseason other than at season-ticket holder events, and then there they are. It's become fun, because there is a camaraderie. It feels like home. I know that when we're in our season seats, I don't feel uncomfortable about leaving my jacket or something there to go and get food. We know that no one is going to walk off with it because everyone knows they're ours. That's a nice feeling too."
As Ashley has grown up watching the Storm, she's been able to look up to the players. Now she plays for her high-school team, and was able to draw inspiration in her role as a reserve from valuable former Storm backup Tully Bevilaqua. Beyond that, following the Storm has given her a sense of everything women can achieve.
"When you see role models both on the court and off - and the Storm has always been involved with kids and the community - it gives a background of normalcy," Larry says. "This is what women are. They do these things. They're athletes, they're involved in the community, they're interested in kids. That's all she's known. I think that sets such a good standard and such a good baseline."
What are your favorite Storm memories on the court?
The 2004 season, obviously, is right up there. Winning a championship was just phenomenal and going to all the games. Even games now, as we're leaving the arena and going under 99, people are honking their horns and waving their Storm gear and signs ... it's really incredible. Every time, we beat L.A., that's always special. When the future was uncertain and all those people had signs about keeping the Storm in Seattle, those are memories that are etched in my mind. The first game, the first appearance of Force 10, that's not on the court but it's related.
Who are your favorite Storm players?
I'd have to say throughout the years the Storm organization has done a good job of getting quality players. Some of the assists from Sue Bird, and everything that Lauren Jackson does is pretty amazing. Tully Bevilaqua holds a special place in our heart for a couple of reasons. In terms of my discussions with my daughter, she was really a role model where I pointed out that she's not the tallest, the fastest, the best, but when she gets on the court - even for her limited minutes - she puts everything she's got out there. She dives for balls, she hustles, even though she's sitting on the bench. So Tully has always been one of my favorites and Ashley's as well because it really proves the point that you don't have to be a Lauren Jackson to be a vital member of the team and a strong participant.
Simone Edwards is one of Ashley's all time favorites and even keeps in touch with her now. Ashley Robinson is her current favorite. My Ashley was delighted to hear that the very first words that came out of ARob's mouth when I saw her at the Seattle Greendrinks event this year were, 'Where's Ashley?' When I explained that she was only 15, she said, 'Well you be sure to say hello to her, she is SO sweet.' You cannot imagine the positive impact that had on my daughter. A WNBA player not only knows who she is, but rather than say hi to her Dad, immediately asks about HER! It was fabulous.
Besides the game, what's the best part of the KeyArena experience?
For Ashley, she loves The Train. She's now 15, and I said to her at the beginning of this season, 'Aren't you getting a little old for this?' She said, 'Dad, I'll be doing this until I'm 85 if they let me on the floor.' It's part of the experience. She loves it.
I'd also say the involvement of the fans. We look at the Storm experience as focused on the play on the court but really so much more than that. It's the whole involvement of the fans, the family-orientation is really important. It's an atmosphere rather than just a sporting event.