WNBA: First Contact

14 06 2009

June 13, 2009: New York Liberty at San Antonio Silver Stars.

It was a 9 hour round-trip plus stops and, you know, the game, but ohhh baby, so worth it.

You may need to pack a lunch and take breaks to plod through these memoirs, but I’ll do my best to make it entertaining. You know, like the WNBA does.

This was my first “live” WNBA game, which should be instructive for the jaded in-market folks. I drove 4.5 hours down to San Antonio and paid a mere $5 for parking (Ticketmaster originally charged me $8, of course). It was a straight shot to the arena, and despite the high turnout the parking lot is massive and thus quick to access.

Photo #1: I noticed a tent outside of the arena and checked it out. “The Ticket” sports radio was doing a remote or just playing the radio for passers-by – I didn’t see any on-air folk. Still, having local sports radio bother to set up a tent is exposure, right? Good things are happening, right?

The Ticket is outside ur arena, promotin ur gamez.

The Ticket is outside ur arena, promotin ur gamez.

More on that story later.

Picking up my ticket at the will call window went fairly smoothly. I passed through the main entrance and bee-lined it to the souvenir stand. The friggin’ arena would have kick-ass WNBA swag, right?

Uh, no.

Lots of Spurs stuff, a few Hammon jerseys, a 2008 WNBA Conference Champions shirts, and little else. Spurs-o-rama.

Really?

I mean, it’s just opening [effing] day.

Anyway, I then went to the first gate to the arena and was told that my seat was clear on the other side. Okayfine. But I asked if i could snap a quick photo of that vantage point before trekking off.

Photo #2: First contact.

Hoe-lee-schitt, it's the New York Effing Liberty LIVE!!!111oneoneone

Hoe-lee-schitt, it's the New York Effing Liberty LIVE!!!111oneoneone

I made the trek and went to that gate, and asked where my seat was. Originally, I was led to believe (online) that my seat was going to be in a “pie wedge” in the corner of the arena, about 16 rows back.

False.

Photo #3: As the usher told me, “see those girls in the green shirts down there? (Middle-left in the photo, near courtside.) That’s where this is. (Pointing to ticket.)”

Two-for-two in the Lucky Bastard Seating department.

Two-for-two in the Lucky Bastard Seating department.

Now: Despite this series of posts having to be split up into several bite-sized chunks, I have to share this immediately.

I was stunned and amazed at my amazing seat (did I mention damn near courtside?) and was overwhelmed with the “wow” factor of seeing Actual WNBA Players mere yards away and I couldn’t focus on everyone. I completely forgot that Katie Feenstra (Mattera) did indeed transition over to San Antonio, so when I first saw her on the court during shootaround I thought (thankfully not out loud), “wow, Ann Wauters is HUGE!”

ZOMG that is... sooo not Ann Wauters.

ZOMG that is... sooo not Ann Wauters.

You’re welcome, Petrel.

Fortunately, despite entering Hostile Territory™, there were some Liberty fans in my midst. I will note here that the home crowd was very tolerant of Visiting Team fans and didn’t get ugly. Let it also not be said that Silver Stars fans aren’t passionate about their team. Great, great atmosphere.

I see we shop at the same web site.

I see we shop at the same web site.

As per custom, the game started with the National Anthem, which was sung by a children’s chorus. The anthem itself wasn’t moving, but the swirling morass of anthem + atmosphere + long drive + I had early dinner with a childhood classmate who I hadn’t seen for at least two decades + holy crap the New York Liberty is RIGHT THERE + this is the USA, dammit, and we provide opportunities like this in driving distance from anywhere…

USA!

USA!

…well, I got teary.

Next: The actual game.

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