The hyperbolic, redheaded stepchild of the Seattle sports community is, in fact, a girl. Considered by most to barely be even a consolation prize after the Super Sonics’ doomed departure in 2008, the Seattle Storm continues to represent a city that could care less.
However, despite all the shrugging of shoulders and meager funding that could not even afford the champagne for their male counterparts’ after-parties, the women’s Storm team continues to place statistically higher than any other Seattle sports team. So why is it that Seattle, a notoriously liberal and progressive city, cannot muster the enthusiasm and appreciation their nationally ranking women’s basketball team deserves?
I may not be an expert about sports and team records, but I do know one thing: Seattle’s teams—all them—have some of the worst records in history. The ‘home game experience’ for any of our sports has shifted, out of desperate necessity, from being about talent and winning, to being about the beer, the food and, well, more beer.
This is not to say that Seattle’s teams are full of talentless testosterone vessels, we have some of the most promising and notorious talent in the country, but our teams just never seem to click well enough to rack up a substantial number of wins.
The only exception to this is the one team that no one seems to care about. I hate to have to pull the sex card, but really, there’s no other obvious culprit. The Storm has a record that makes the former Sonics look like amateurs. Many may argue that men and women are fundamentally different, but have you seen some of these women? They are a fine example of human physical prowess. Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson, and Sheri Sam all harbor the ability to make it rain on the court.
However, if talent is not reason enough for Seattle to rally behind its women’s basketball team, perhaps altruism is. The Seattle Storm is involved in several community organizations focused on helping women and children.
They are not unique in that they are involved in charity programs; sports teams are practically required by contract to do this in order to maintain a good public face. However the Storm are particularly focused on rousing confidence and health among women. In other words, they are serious promoters of local girl power, picking up right where the Spice Girls left off, which is not an insult in the least.
Nearly every year since its formation in 2000, the Seattle Storm has participated in the WNBA Fit program, which connects teams with local organizations to set up a series of health clinics. The Storm also has a recurring partnership with PCC Natural Markets, the Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Washington Health Foundation, and is involved in a youth basketball program as well as a youth reading program, both of which are facilitated by the WNBA.
These women, overlooked as they are, must overcompensate for their lack of local support and find the strength to succeed for themselves and their team members. They carry a message of resilience and relentlessness, which, in the world of women, is something rare and invaluable.