It was even sadder for myself.
You know what’s worse than a WNBA catfight? Actually watching it live.
Now, I can explain. The game ran longer than the expected broadcast schedule, so I thought I was tuning in to something else. But I did keep it on long enough to watch the series of events.
And for the record, I wholeheartedly believe Rick Mahorn was trying to be a peacemaker. But that’s beside the point.
Suddenly the WNBA is relevant, if only for a fleeting moment, and for the wrong reasons. People are talking about the league, which is in its 12th season (which was so eloquently opined by my esteemed colleague Phillips). When was the last time – besides Sheryl Swoopes going Navratilova on us – a WNBA story was such a hot topic?
That’s right the Detroit Shock, them of the Motown Melee Part Deux, have inked the 50-year old, I repeat 50-year old, Lieberman to a seven-day contract.
Hmm, if you’re league wasn’t the laughing stock of the sports world right now, then this ought to do the trick.
A friend of mine offered this, “The WNBA makes the MLS look like the NFL.”
I know we go a little rough on the WNBA, but I must admit the league does hold a soft spot in my heart.
While in Las Vegas with a few college buddies a number of years ago, I lost money at every turn. The lone exception was the WNBA. That’s right I bet on the WNBA.
The bookie at the Bellagio was surprised they even took bets on the WNBA and laughed when I put the bet down.
In a past lifetime, I was an actual paid sports journalist, and in that time I covered the Indiana Fever from time to time (great people). Well, before I headed out for Sin City, I got an e-mail from the Fever’s media relations coordinator supplying me with game notes for the Fever’s upcoming West Coast trip.
As per usual, I thoroughly scanned the game notes for interesting stories or sidebars. One note caught me eye:
“In her six years as a member of the Indiana Fever, the team has never won a game in which Tamika Catchings hasn’t played.”
Then word matriculates to me through a team source that Catchings is going to miss the team’s West Coast trip.
Hmm, were things lining up for me to finally cash in all my minutes of women’s basketball coverage?
(Side note: While covering the WNBA seems a bit rough, it was not even close to the worst sports event I’ve covered in my six years of doing this. That distinction belongs to the Ragland-St. Clair County girls basketball game just outside Birmingham, Ala. I still have my notes from the game, it was that epic. St. Clair County 32, Ragland 15. The two teams combined to shoot 11-of-84. Our future WNBA stars hard at work.)
So, my friend and I went to the Bellagio sports book and checked the board. There it was. The Seattle Storm-Indiana Fever game. Seattle was favored by seven points to beat a Fever team that had, true to form, lost the night before. My buddy was hesitant. I told him it was a sure thing and spouted off my stat about the Fever sans Catchings.
We each put down $50 on Seattle and then went to go meet up with our other friends, who arrived a little bit after us, hence missing out on my WNBA tip.
While we drank in the room getting ready for the night’s activities, we popped open my laptop to check the score. At halftime, the Fever were down by something like 30 points. Money in the bank.
Then I subsequently lost an undisclosed amount (rises every time I tell the story) of funds at the craps tables in a matter of minutes.
Looking to bounce back, I turned to old reliable – the WNBA.
After hearing tales of our victorious wager the night before, my three other friends, who missed out on the action, wanted in.
Unfortunately, the Fever weren’t playing that night. So I scanned the board and blindly picked the Detroit Shock to cover at home against San Antonio. We all put money on the bet.
We went to lunch and came back to the Bellagio sports book, where they have nice plush leather chairs and have every game imaginable on a vast array of TVs. That is except the WNBA. So we focus our attention on ESPNEWS to track the score on the ticker. It’s close. The Shock look like they may pull it off, but the spread is going to be close.
People around us look confused. Why are these five guys screaming about a WNBA score!?
Therefore, the WNBA can trot out as many menopausal women and scratch each other’s eyes out (this I’d kind of prefer) all they want. They can do no wrong by me.
To the WNBA, my cash cow.
As the great Richard Marx once crooned:
Now and forever, I am their man.