Assuming the scalpers’ prices aren’t too high, I do indeed plan on attending Game 5 of the WNBA Finals tonight, just like I said I would if the series were to come back to Phoenix for a deciding game (I also should have not procrastinated when free tickets were available).
Quite honestly, I’m pretty excited for my first taste of WNBA basketball since I was in middle school.
No, I’m not going all Phoenix Stan or Ben York on you, but in any sport really nothing beats the excitement of a winner-takes-all championship game.
I still do think that a Lifelock Mercury title answers the question on if a professional basketball team can win a championship in Seven Seconds or Less to at least a tiny, tiny degree — especially since it would be their second title in three years — and I think it’s exciting to have at least one fast, elite shooting basketball team win something in this town.
I do, however, feel like more of a bandwagon fan than any Arizona Cardinal “fan” that came out of the woodworks during January’s Super Bowl run. Where are those Cardinals fans when the Texans come calling on a lonely October Sunday?
I last attended a Mercury game with my family during the WNBA’s inaguaral year of 199-whatever the hell it was. I enjoyed the game, got real into, celebrated every shot and then never cared about the WNBA again until my Twitterfeed shoved the league down my throat the past few months. I didn’t even give it anything more than a, ‘Hmmm, that’s nice,’ when the Merc won it all two years ago.
In those years, it became incredibly uncool to be a fan of the WNBA, at least among my friends in high school and college. It would have been better accepted for me to say I’m a fan of curling than to say I’m a WNBA fan, and for that reason I’ve spent the last decade or so of my life ignoring the league save for a few quick glances in the morning paper.
The only thing cool about the WNBA used to involve seeing who could make the best joke about how lame it is (this video wins my vote on that count).
But now the tide seems to be turning on that school of thought. Former VotS podcast panelist Ben York is leading the charge with his seemingly daily love ballads to Mercury basketball and Phoenix Stan of Bright Side isn’t far behind him, traveling all the way to Indianapolis to cover a WNBA game. Never in my life did I think I’d see the day when a blogger would travel to cover a WNBA game when the local paper doesn’t even do so.
Respected basketball writers like Kelly Dwyer are tweeting things like, “I can’t remember the last time I’ve had this much fun, halfway into a basketball game. That’s not me going over the top, or fawning, either,” when talking about the WNBA, all the while hosting a live blog from a WNBA game that he’s covering.
These guys have made me feel like I’m the lame one because I largely haven’t really cared about the Merc’s playoff run.
But that all changes tonight.
There’s nothing worse than a bandwagon fan, but in this case, who could blame me?
Look for me somewhere in the upper deck, or wherever the scalpers put me. I’ll be wearing my sister’s old Michele Timms jersey with “Mercury” on the front before the days of Lifelock. No, the jersey hasn’t been dusted off in at least a decade, and no, that’s not how I ever thought I’d spend a Friday night in my mid-20′s.
So all you closet WNBA fans who have never had a reason to care, join me at US Airways Center tonight because there’s certainly nothing uncool about a Phoenix basketball championship.