If you love basketball, you gotta love all of it

You don’t hear much from them anymore, because the WNBA is now over 12 years old. But they were the first group of fans that really annoyed me: the ones who had never watched women’s basketball in their lives but had suddenly “discovered” the game and were devoted WNBA fans. Yet, they didn’t watch college ball. Acted like they didn’t even know it existed. And they would probably never even consider catching a high school game. The only game, according to them, was the pro game.

The “college only” fans are irritating, too. They only care about a player once she gets there, and don’t think anything about what she’ll do after she leaves. Courtney Paris herself admitted last May that she hadn’t paid much attention to the league even as she was about to get drafted. That was pretty strange, but it exemplifies the attitudes of those who live in the college bubble.

The fans who only watch high school ball are the most easily forgiven, because that’s such a pure level for the sport. Entire communities turn out for girls and boys games because those are “their” kids, and they have personal ties and emotional investment. Even when high school girls are ignorant about some of the legends of the game and current college stars, I can sort of forgive them, because being a teenager in today’s world is no freakin joke.

But it’s time for women’s hoops fans to evolve and expand. I don’t expect people to be like me and be willing to go to any game, any level at any free moment. But I do expect women’s hoops fans to have more general knowledge and quit being so exclusive.

If you aren’t into a certain level of play, at least know what’s going on there. You don’t have to watch it, but know who the main players are. For example, if you’re a college person, keep track of who the good high school players are and who your team is looking at. Watch to see where your graduates get drafted in the WNBA. If you’re a W fan, know who is going to be available for you at the end of a season. If you’re a high school fan, pay attention to the colleges that might want your daughter, or that you want her to attend. Take her to some WNBA games and get her inspired.

Don’t engage in basketball ignorance, fans. Be informed and know what’s up in your favorite game, from top to bottom. It takes all of the parts to make a whole.


  1. nice call, sass. this season i'm extending my game viewing to seattle university and new hc joan bonivinci and assistant, home grown, uw grad, and ex-stormie kristen o'neill.

    i'm also going to try to get to some ballard high school games.

    oh, and next w season, i think i'll try to get to tulsa. i wanted to get to atlanta, too, but the jury's still out on whether they'll even have a team.

    and that's a point for all parents to remember. if your daughter has aspirations to play in the w, get her to some games. if there's a team in your town, go often and support the league or when your daughter is ready to make the leap, there may not be a league. can you afford to go to europe and watch her play?


  2. Thanks very much for your comments and your readership, anonymous.

    Scully, it's great to hear you're expanding your horizons!! Any and all game reports from Ballard, Seattle U or any other team would be happily accepted from you.

  3. In part, I agree with your assessment regarding the divide between college and professional fans. The disconnect boggles my mind. It's not like there aren't a lot of college options to choose from, and with LiveAccess, it's not like you can't follow the W from anywhere.

    That all being said, I can't get into high school basketball. To me, it feels creepy rocking up to a high school I have no connection to in order to watch teenagers play basketball. It feels like another step in the top-to-bottom, cradle-to-grave commercialization of sports. At some point, the game has to be left to the coaches and players, and the people who love them.

    Did I go to high school games when I was in high school? Absolutely, and for both of the high points you hit on. I was addicted to the game even then (though I had almost no access to the college game) and one of my friends was the star shooting guard. I had an emotional investment both in the game and in the players.

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