Stats, Socials and Stephen Burt: Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics
[Editor’s Note: You may remember Logan K. Young (@LoganKYoung) from his 2013 NBA Draft Night report: “A Wizard Man in Brooklyn.” This is his second piece for TAI, a chronicle of his adventures at a Washington Mystics game as an unapologetic fan of the WNBA. -K.W.]Hi, my name is Logan. And yes, while I’d do anything for my Wizards, I’m also a die-hard Washington Mystics fan.
I like statistics, social media and, as you can see, the scribblings of Stephen Burt, too.
Since Kyle’s got what happened in Vegas covered better than Sam Cassell on Jan Veselý, I figured I’d turn this male’s gaze upon that other Camus that hoops it up back in the District.
Yadda, jadda, dada: I’ve heard every criticism, time after Title IX. And for a while I’m ashamed to admit was so long, I, too, bought into the hating of the haters, wholesale.
In May of ’05, however, I stumbled across an essay in The Believer. It was called, and I quote-in-CAPS, “WELCOME TO THE ALMOST CULT-LIKE FAN-WORLD OF AMERICAN WOMEN’S PRO BASKETBALL: AN OBSESSIVE, WELCOMING, SLIGHTLY NERDY SUBCULTURE, REFRESHINGLY FREE OF YAHOOS.”
(After all, I really do hate me some Yahoo!)
Written by then Macalester College professor Stephen Burt, this reformed Democrat cited everything from the weather to a gay pride parade, sharp elbows to “levitation-enhanced reverse layups,” “the tumultuous tones of 10,000 piccolos” to Sonic Youth all to make the point that the WNBA was, well, worth it.
Ever since then, like Jimmy Cliff covering Johnny Nash for the Cool Runnings OST, I’ve seen the league and her players, oh, so much clearly. Last Sunday, I attended a Mystics game against the Indiana Fever at the Verizon Center. This is that story.
I. In spite of this attractive offer from resident Living Social also-rans, the best deal on Washington Mystics tickets—$12.00, even, for 200-level seats, no less—remained at the Verizon Center box office. Savings!
II. As the first of my Foursquare friends to actually check in to a Mystics game (plus having not been back to Verizon since that amorously all-star crowd booed a sitting President), I, myself, scored a total of 12 points simply for showing up (though that deuce for “First Basketball Stadium in 4 months” is totes bunk).
III. Ostensibly, the first quarter was abysmal, offensively.
Tayler Hill hits both free throws to make it 9-8, Mystics. End of the 1st. #WNBA
— LOGAN K. YOUNG (@logankyoung) July 21, 2013
Speaking of abysmal offensive performances, guard Ivory Latta must’ve been rattled by seeing not one, but two of her former Tar Heel teammates—Erlana Larkins and Jessica Breland. (Mystics rookie guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, also a UNC alumna, was probably too young to recognize them.) Latta finished 1-for-8 from the field and minus-12 in plus/minus.
— LOGAN K. YOUNG (@logankyoung) July 21, 2013
V. Whatever Mike Thibault, his son Eric and erstwhile Immaculata College standout Marianne Stanley drew up with just a smidge over a minute left in the first half … well, it just did not work.
VI. And for the end of this post’s social media segment, it must be noted: The half-time would-be #WizardsGirls looked a lot better filtered through Instagram. (All the same, methinks the Bessie committee won’t be calling anytime soon.)
VII. And speaking of Coach Thibault, Harvard’s Stephen Burt (à la Oulipo’s Raymond Roussel) once forced his ad homonym in the third stanza of “Speedy Holiday”—the second poem from the scholar, critic and unabashed WNBA fan’s 2006 collection, Shot Clocks (Harry Tanooks Books).
VIII. Though a staunch supporter of the Lynx and the Sun, Prof. Burt, a Maryland native, recently agreed to sign Belmont (his latest collection of poesie for Graywolf Press) to both me and my Washington Mystics.
IX. Six-footer Monique Currie’s final pull-up jumper was, in fact, the best 2 of her team-high 15 points that balmy Sunday afternoon in D.C.
X. While a hustler, indeed, for boards and blocks off the bench (4 and 5, respectively), Belgium’s Emma Meesseman should never shoot the basketball (at least not until the All-Star break).
XI. Back to freebies one final time, for once, the Mystics didn’t really struggle therein. Of course, the Fever shot 87.5% from the foul line, as well.
XII. Even though Washington dropped two straight to Indiana in three days, the Mystics are still a half-game ahead of ‘em in the Eastern Conference; they’ll meet again for the fourth time, in Indiana, on September 10.
Usually, I don’t like listicles like these. Then again, I’m reminded that I used to not like the WNBA, either.