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.
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.