Friday, November 5, 2010

Trying to be for a sport when it is flat on its back

On Tuesday night, I opted to subject my two-year old to the elements at Ludwig over enjoying the comfortable interior of Comcast, where the Maryland women were hosting their first exhibition game of the season. We've dallied and dithered on renewing our season tickets, principally because of my almost singular focus on soccer to the exclusion of everything else. Our daughter has never asked me to take her to a basketball game (although there is no question she enjoys going to see the Maryland women play), but she does constantly ask to join me at soccer games.

I will remedy my lethargy by renewing today and we'll plan to be at Comcast for the second exhibition game Sunday. And I'll do both because, while watching my Bulls get thumped by a Knicks team that made two-thirds of its three point shots, I got caught up with DC Basketcases.

It is dramatic understatement to note that Eileen and Judith are passionate about women's basketball. Their love of the sport exists in an environment where most of the sports world is either apathetic to it or actively derisive. Even within this hostile environment, some of those in charge of the sport have piled on by marginalizing its fans even further, as Sheila Johnson proved again recently by summarily dismissing any responsibility to keep fans informed about major developments with the Washington Mystics.

Yet, in spite of these challenges, they remain firmly committed to the sport.

It may be obvious that I see parallels between soccer and women's basketball. In the Washington metropolitan region, we are at great risk of losing three of the four professional soccer teams in our area over the offseason and, should it happen, few will care. Although the collapsing of franchises may not matter to people now, I believe that, with time, scores of other families will come to appreciate what the Freedom, CP Baltimore, and Real Maryland offer. I would imagine that DC Basketcases has the same abiding hope for the Mystics and women's basketball in general.

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