Last night I stumbled across the WNBA Finals. I watched the vast majority of Game 3, and thought to myself, WOW, I should really blog about this. It's good.
That was surprise number one. I'm not at all surprised that women play sports at a high level, give me a break. I'm surprised that the WNBA on TV, something I have watched in the past, has somehow (is it me?) become way more entertaining than I remember it.
Surprise number two is that reading some blogs today, I discovered that Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys had the exact same experience I did. He already wrote, essentially, the post that I had in mind.
It was early in the first quarter ... and I ended up watching the rest of the game (the Shock won, and now lead the best of five series 2-1). I didn't plan on it, it just sort of happened.
Maybe I did it because it's September and there's no NBA action in sight, or maybe it was because Bill Laimbeer is miked up on the sidelines and I felt nostalgic listening to him ream out the referees. Or, maybe despite my best efforts to remain cynical, it was a close game and the play on the court was quite entertaining.
I'm not sure I'll ever change my schedule to catch a regular season game, but there's something oddly compelling about championship-level basketball. They're playing hard basketball out there, diving after loose balls, throwing elbows in the paint and basically showing the same level of intensity you'd expect from any professional athlete. I know that probably sounds condescending - what else should I have expected? - but it's an honest observation. And it's enough that I'll probably be tuning in on Thursday at 8:30 to see if the Shock can close it out.
Another couple of things I'd add:
Phoenix's Diana Taurasi is a livewire. You know how some athletes are just electric, and impossible not to watch? That's her.
Bill Laimbeer is a dreadful complainer. It's embarrassing to hear his whines. He is the enemy of dignity. But all the same, I agree with him that the hometown Mercury got way more than their fair share of calls. I'm glad the Shock won so we wouldn't have to hear about rigged games and all that.
Two-word scouting book on Cappie Pondexter: Dee Brown.
I have interviewed Katie Smith and have a ton of respect for her. A fanatically dedicated professional.
My favorite WNBA player, bar none, is Tamika Catchings. (I wrote an article about her once, which is reprinted at the end of this post.) But another one who is way up there is Deanna Nolan. Speed, shooting ability, strength -- she's someone you want on your team. And people from Flint, Michigan are always tough (even if she does have chihuahuas).