it don’t break even.

So, there has been a lot of hubbub over the lack of attendance at the games this year. I’ve noticed it. We’ve all noticed it. I think Barack Obama, when he’s not making a speech on health care, has noticed it. Even Sarah Palin’s noticed it (of course, then she gets right back to shooting wolves from helicopters or whatever she’s doing now that she’s not the Alaska governor).

The crazy dedicated fans, however, are still there. I applaud you!!! You know who you are.

There are many factors that contribute to the rest of CT not showing up, and some people have poo-poo’d the idea of it being solely the economy’s fault, but I will say this: The prices of tickets, depending on where you sit, have gone up considerably. We don’t do a lot of promotions anymore, so there aren’t a lot of opportunities to win tickets or get them cheaply. We win a lot of the early games (at least, it’s been that way for a while) so people feel more comfortable at home watching blowouts. And with Connecticut weather patterns more unpredictable than Tiger Woods’ love life, it’s impossible to know if you’ll have a safe ride home sometimes.
Simply put, we’ve gotten so good, people don’t find it ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to show up anymore. Which is sad, but understandable. The other night out of nostalgia I popped in 35-0 and was simply blown away by the ferocity of our fans at that first Tennessee game. At some points you can’t hear the whistles of the officials!
I usually don’t get very mad about articles about the team. However, I don’t think I’ve been this pissed off since the infamous “Soupy Sales” article back when I was 12. I won’t say who wrote that one, but I’m still peeved!
Mike DiMauro wrote a very nice article about me when this blog was a wee blip on the the radar. For that, I thank him. However, Mike wrote in The Day this week that people aren’t coming to see us play because we’re made up predominantly of black women. Simply put, he accuses CT fans of being racist and not attending games because now the players ‘don’t look like them’. He also implies that on previous teams, fans liked Shea, Kara, Jen, Rebecca, et. al more than they liked Tamika, Aishja, Swin, and the like, because they were white. I think I speak for all of us when I say…OH NO YOU DIDN’T.
Not only is that wrong (insanely so), it’s humiliating. Humiliating, embarrassing, mortifying, yada yada yada.
I wish that Mike would think about how Tina Charles must’ve felt when she read that article, to think that she’s not getting watched at games not because of her skill set or the team she contributes to, but by something so base as her skin color. Maya Moore, easily the best player in the country by a wide margin, is not being watched because she’s black? What is this, 1950? Is UCONN going to have to have segregated fountains? Are people really sitting at home going “Nope, we’re not going to that game. Not enough white people!”
Have we really made no advance at all as a species?
Give the people of CT a little more credit, Mike. Let’s not go digging for dirt in the Taj Mahal. To imply some deep-seeded racism in the psyche of all of us in CT is not only upsetting, it’s dangerously incorrect. If anything, people are more appreciative of this team because they look MORE like them. In his interview on the Witness To Perfection DVD, Dad spoke at length about how excited he was that this team, more than any other team, was a team that won for the entire state. “Back in 1995 I turned to Jamelle and said ‘My God, you’re the only black person here!’ Now, I look around, and it’s the entire community, not just one part of it. And then we go and meet the first black president in the history of the country. We won for the entire state.”
When Barack Obama spoke about our team, he spoke of the significance of women’s sports, and how our girls are a great role model for his daughters. I can only hope Malia and Sasha grow up to be like Tina, KG, Maya, Lorin, Tiffany, Kaili, and all the rest, regardless of what they look like.
I wish more people would realize the significance of this team and what they’ve accomplished on their merits as players and as people. To bring it down to base matters like skin tone not only sets us back 60 years, it strips the importance of the team accomplishments and makes them look foolish and unworthy.
And that, I think, is the biggest injustice of all.
ally
PS. Mike failed to mention that in spite of the slower ticket sales, the student section for women’s games is the best it’s been in YEARS. I was shocked at how full and energetic and excited it was at the Vermont game. Absolutely awesome. Although it’s still a little disconcerting to see three hundred kids wearing tshirts with Dad’s face on it.
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4 thoughts on “it don’t break even.

  1. I don't think that there is 1 answer as to why ticket sales are down and I think Mike is asking tough questions that aren't politically correct. I didn't take offense to his editorial(read the Four Agreements I recommend it to all my patients)because I didn't personalize it AT ALL. So I will be anxious to see how he answers your blog and I hope you let us know. As an aside, as a married 40+ y/o women, proud UCONN grad psychotherapist/homotoxicologist with 2 children (1 of whom is recovering from autism), I thoughly enjoy your writing style and think big things for your future. Keep up the great work, I know your parents MUST be proud! Sheila

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  2. Thank you, Alysa, for your thoughtful, reasoned response. If DiMauro's piece had been either of those things, it might have actually risen to the label of “journalism.”
    I do not begin to believe that just because we've elected Obama president we are now racism-free in this country or even in this state, but to blame racism as the primary factor for lower attendance, especially using only his “believe me, I know better” insinuations, is ridiculous at best, and insidious at worst.
    Even worse, his attempt at logic is flawed. His statement, “Some of you might be shocked to hear what the players really think about how UConn fans react to black players vs. white players.” does not reflect an entire fan base's potential racism, but instead reflects individual player's personal views.
    MY personal view is based on my history following the team. I have never been what one could describe as “athletic.” However, I fell in love with the game of Women's basketball as a UConn student. I began attending games my freshman year (1990-91) as a volunteer member of the pep band (it didn't become an audition-based group until the next year, after their first trip to the Final Four). Watching Meghan Pattyson play made me want to be more sporty. I even bought my first sports bra (pink, like the one she usually wore under her white unform). The band, then positioned behind the stanchion, gave me a front-row perspective and I cheered accordingly, along with the then dozens of other rabid fans from the community. In fact, I became so recognizable that another student came up to me at dinner one night and said my lack of attendance (I was sick in bed listening to the game on the radio in my room) was the reason the team had lost (the game? — vs. Georgetown, Feb. 1993 — the last home-game loss to an unranked opponent).
    After the point system was instituted, I watched other recognizable fans (dubbed by the band as “the crazy ladies” — they were the “Big Blue” of the Women's game long before he started coming to Women's games) move farther and farther away from the action.
    When I first graduated ('94) I could only afford to buy individual tickets for select games. For the next two seasons, my new husband and I (we met in band) purchased the best season tickets we could — always in the non-chairback nosebleeds. For the next three years, because of our love for the game, we both eventually managed to find places online where we could cover the team. Most of the work was done for free, but it was good enough to get us press passes. From 1995-2000, we went to every home game, commuting (even in snow storms) an hour-and-a-half from Hamden, and stayed until the end (and later through press conferences) all while holding down regular day jobs. When the writing opportunities dried up for the 2000-2001 season, we began watching all the games on CPTV.
    Women's college basketball, to this day, is the only sport I follow. I watch every UConn game, no matter the score, to see these incredibly talented athletes work their magic. I appreciate CPTV (and donate accordingly) knowing their coverage is the only way I will ever have the opportunity to see the game and the players close-up again.
    So for me, “the economy” has never been my reason for staying home. It's been a combo of my personal financial situation and my love of close-up action. And I think there are plenty of non-country club Connecticutlet's out there in the same non-racist boat.

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  3. Well argued, well reasoned, well thought out. Given where I live – Detroit – we face this kind of nonsensical crap every day, and people need to learn that playing the race card can be downright irresponsible.

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  4. My dad, a LONG time season ticket holder, finally gave up for one reason and one reason only: The cost (this includes parking) He still watches every game he can, but I know he misses being in the stands.

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