August, the last game is quickly approaching. It must be time
for the season-ending season ticket holder party!
years event is billed as a Global Grill Cookout with
Jamaican Jerked Chicken, Down Under Dogs and Fried Green Tomatoes.
Now, I know that some of us on the West Coast and the North
wish that parts of the South were part of another country,
but I dont think fried green tomatoes qualify as a global
food. And, we were pretty sure that the down under dogs hail
a joke! Just kidding! Im sure the hot dogs were flown
in from Sydney.
with the sun fading in and out as if Doppler was off in a
corner playing with a big dimmer switch, about 200 or so Storm
faithful stream into the Furtado parking lot. We find tables
smartly decorated with the many flags representing our players
homelands, balloon artists, a face painter, an appreciation
banner for fans to sign, beverages, food and an open court
for a little shoot-around action.
year, there were many of the same activities but in a space
about a third the size. Using the Furtado Center is probably
a no-brainer for the organization, but it also has a lot more
space. We dont feel like were crammed in like
sardines like last year. Several of the forum members are
here and we get a chance to chat with a few.
Bryant leads the team out on the steps of the Furtado entryway.
She welcomes everyone and introduces Coach Dunn. After telling
us that this time next year well all be buying playoff
tickets, she introduces her coaching staff. Missy Bequette,
Director of Basketball Operations, Assistant Coaches Kay James
and Gary Kloppenburg, and Trainer Sheri Hedlund. She then
introduces the team one at a time and gives them an opportunity
to address the crowd.
Redd goes first and thanks all the fans for their continued
support. She says that without us, there wouldnt be
a Storm organization.
Randall is next and after telling everyone to calm down a
little bit, she gives us something the old folks say,
keep on keeping on.
Edwards lets everyone know that she is recovering well from
the foot surgery, but that she needs to leave a little early
so that she can stay off of it.
Smith thanks everyone and tells us to look forward to better
things next year.
Edwards tells us that she wants her jersey and her picture
up everywhere next year. And, she wants the next bobblehead
to be her. Coach says that it should be a bobblebody because
of all the dancing.
Henning thanks us for making KeyArena sound like its
a full house regardless of the actual attendance. She also
said that fans that cheer even for a losing team is what makes
the WNBA so special.
Steding says that she is a woman of few words, and then says
Barnes says she is a woman of fewer words, and then says thanks
Santos de Oliveira, after Coach gets her name wrong probably
for the umpteenth time, laughs and says thanks for everything
and see us next year.
Lovelace, who has her little dachshund with her, promises
to try to keep getting better and better.
Vodickova, who Coach says speaks English better than she does,
thanks the fans who came to the games with signs in Czech.
They made her feel like she was at home.
Jackson says that it is great to have such passionate fans
and that she is looking forward to the future.
Marciniak gives us a bobblehead story. She says that she was
hoping that the players would get a bobblehead of their own
the night of the giveaway and was surprised to find three
in her locker before the game. Now shes trying to figure
out what to do with 3 bobbleheads. Someone yells out Ebay.
another cheer for the whole team, we are told that the players
will be available for autographs and will be in 4 groups stationed
around the event.
year, we get one of the Defense signs that are
given out at the games to the people on the ends and get the
Storm logo side signed by the whole team, the coaches and
the staff. This year, we lucked out and got Howard Schultz
and Wally Walker to sign it at the Fan Fest back in May. We
only need to get Sheri, Missy, and Karen to have the whole
enchilada. While Angie does that, I wander around to get photos.
seems pretty laid back. Even though some of the players are
being faced by long lines, they all take the time to talk
to the fans and answer questions. I ask Stacey about her eye
injury that kept her on the bench for a good part of the season.
She says that it was an infection brought on by contact wear,
not by a game-related injury. I ask her if she is going to
play internationally again this off-season and she says shes
not sure with her wedding plans and everything. She also says
that she is tired and needs a rest.
is a common theme. Since we havent gotten much of a
chance to meet with Ally before, I make a point of finding
her. She is also not sure where she may play during the off-season,
although to her the WNBA is the off-season. She probably wont
play in Europe because their seasons are so long. It was frustrating
for her to get hurt during the international playoffs right
before she came here and then sit on the bench for so long.
I tell her that we are glad that we got to see her play finally
and hope that she will be back next year.
ask Lauren about her shoulder, and in typical Lauren fashion,
she kind of pooh-poohs the injury (although it sounds pretty
serious). She says that shes going to have the surgery
after she gets home to Australia and that she will be missing
the Opals qualifying games and the first few weeks
of the Capitals season. Sorry Aussies we didnt
mean to break her.
and I join back up and we talk to Quacy a little bit about
her recent Q&A session. We tell her that is was great to hear
from her and that it was great for the kids to hear that she
is so interested in being a teacher and giving back to her
home community. She said that she also had a good time and
that while uncomfortable in front of groups, she liked answering
the end of the afternoon, the Storm raffle off some seat upgrades
for the last game of the season against the Monarchs. Stacey
gets to pick the numbers while Lauren reads them off. While
most of the winners turn out to be kids, Angie wins a pair
of tickets! When she goes up to get them, Lauren says, Ah,
its the woman from www.stormfans.org. Cool!
comes up and offers herself for raffle, or auction. She says
she available if you have a BMW, a house on the lake, or will
take her to good restaurants.
raffle ends at 7 or so. Even though the players are still
giving autographs and the food seems to still be flowing,
we decide to head home.
to sound like a complete pitchman for the Storm, but this
event is one of the main reasons we get season tickets. Its
a great way to interact with the players and get to know them
a little beyond basketball. They are all truly great individuals.
We hope to see them all next year for the 3rd season ticket