Monday, August 07, 2006

Talkin' With the Mystics. The Mystics organization treated their season ticketholders to a very enjoyable event tonight at the Phone Booth. It began with a buffet dinner catered by Outback Steakhouse and an autograph session for VIP courtside STHs on the concourse, followed by the main event in the arena for all STHs. This program began with a highlight film and was followed by remarks from Sheila Johnson, Linda Hargrove, and each member of the coaching staff. Head Coach Richie Adubato spoke about the importance of fan support and offered this advice: "Be vocal, be alive, don't yell at the refs too much -- leave that to me."

The players then introduced each other, starting with the rookies and ending with the co-introduction of the Mystics' true divas, Alana and DeLisha, who came down the red carpet on the court stylin' like runway models. In between, two other players who received a particularly warm reception from the fans were Coco and Nakia. (Tot was the only player missing. Linda explained that they'd sent her home after practice today because her foot is still giving her trouble.)

The fans were seated in the three center sections, and the players were then divided up into three groups for a five minute Q&A session in front of each section of fans. The players were delightful, gracious . . . and humorous! In no particular order, here are some highlights from the BasketCases' section:

Escape from Alcatraz. When DeLisha was asked how she'd first reacted when she learned she'd been traded from L.A. to D.C., she said she was happy that she'd "made it out of Alcatraz." She added that she, Nikki T, and Tot were all happy to "escape."

Tale of Two Twins. In response to a question, Coco admitted that she and Kelly had once switched jerseys before the start of a high school practice and got through the entire practice without anyone catching on. She said the coach had "no idea." But no, they didn't try this on Andy Landers at Georgia. They were too afraid. (Smart!)

Expletive Deleted. When Nakia was asked what she'd said during the Sting game last week that earned her the technical, first she replied that she'd said, "Excuse me sir, she was over my back." When no one was buying this, Nakia confessed that she'd used an "expletive as a verb" and perhaps also "as an adjective."

It's Just Business. C-Rob was asked whether she feels bad because New York "sucks" (the questioner's word, NOT that of the BasketCases; Lib fans, don't send us hate mail). She said that she feels bad for Becky and Shameka because they are her friends, but other than that, "it's a business." She gave the young Liberty team credit for playing hard. By the way, C-Rob, though limping slightly, was adamant that she'll be back for the playoffs.

Loyal blog readers, particularly if you were sitting in one of the the other two sections, please feel free to post a comment and let us know what we missed.

After the Q and A, Sheila J and Curtis Symonds, the Mystics' Chief Operating Officer, announced the "Starting Five" awards, which were given to five fans who have worked hard to sell tickets and promote the team. They each received a huge gift basket which included an autographed basketball and other Mystics goodies. Ten other fans were given honorable mentions. (Now, since the BasketCases were not among them, watch this space next year for information about our write-in campaign.)

Finally, fans were invited back up to the concourse for ice cream, where we all had another opportunity to chat with the players as they stood behind the ice cream tables. (Obviously, their job was to make sure that nobody tried to get a double scoop.) It was a nice ending to a very enjoyable evening.

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases


At 11:12 PM, Anonymous betsy said...

Hmmm....I've had my season tickets in section 100 for every season the Mystics have existed. The only invitation I received was for the disjointed session held courtside and the poorly organized ice cream distribution. The people around me were eating snacks they brought from home and complaining that the Mystics invited people to a post-workday event and served not so much as a chip. You mean to say someone was invited to an event where food was served? Anyone with inside knowledge of the caste system of invitations, please enlighten the rest of us.

At 11:38 PM, Blogger erika said...

These are the same questions I heard, so we must have been in the same section. Wish we could have heard it all.

At 12:34 AM, Blogger waterloosunset said...

Wow, I don't feel so bad that I couldn't attend now. I would've been with the regular run-o'-the-mill nine-year season ticket holders, unworthy of actual food. :-/

At 7:27 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

The BasketCases agree that particularly given the time of this event and who was invited to it, it would have been better if food had been available to everyone.

By way of answer to the above questions and not defense of the front office: there have always been additional benefits provided for the more expensive season tickets. An autograph session with the players has always been part of the courtside STH package. (And it's always been in conjunction with a full STH event, because they don't trot out the players for a relatively small group of STHs.) But surely that didn't preclude making food available for everyone last night.


At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were so few of us there, that is was inexcusable for the Organization not to include everyone. Granted VIPs have always been given additional benefits, but in this case not for everyone to have access to the players was just plain wrong. I couldn't get one picture signed and others were walking around with stackfulls of autograph pictures. Just because VIPS pay more money for their tickets don't make them better fans!

At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm another one of the run-of-the-mill STHs. One gal came down in front of the group and announced that the team was signing autographs upstairs, so several of us climbed the steps only to find out that we weren't eligible, so we got to trudge down again. Lots of comments were made that this was starting off as a typical Mystics event - no one knew what was going on.
During the ice cream session, we first stopped at the west end of the lobby, had a nice interaction with the players, and got them to sign some cards. We thanked Zane for being so diligent about making sure there was enough chocolate ice cream - she kept trotting back to the freezer for more.
At the east end an usher kept shouting "no autographs!", and the players spent so much time explaining that they weren't allowed to sign that you couldn't have a conversation.

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Posting-Up said...

I know I'm going to sound cranky, but I'm disappointed and I feel slighted.

Over the life of the team, my partner and I have been season ticket holders every year (actually even before we knew we had a team!), as well as members of the Perfect Attendance gang. In those 8 years, I estimate that we've spent about $10,000 in tickets -- not including parking.

I don't begrudge the VIPs their dinner and access to the players, I just think the rest of us were kinda "dissed" last night. People sitting next to me were eating crackers and a banana they brought to the arena! Given the relatively small number of STHs present last night, the Mystics could have been more inclusive. (Simple things, like and RSVP on the mailer, and they'd have had a pretty decent idea of how many were coming...) To have rebuffed people from autographs saying they "didn't qualify" is just bad manners, not to mention LOUSY P.R.

I'll get over this, I guess. But I'm feeling very crabby today about the whole event, which SHOULD have left me feeling better and more excited about the team.

::going over to my corner to pout for awhile::

At 3:57 PM, Blogger waterloosunset said...

Hmmm, I hope someone can get these comments to Sheila...

At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Wakefield said...

Here's a question for the VIP STHs - would you be offended if we mere STHs were let in to the buffet, maybe a half hour later so you've got your quality time with the team, if we shelled out $25? I'm trying to think of a compromise, so that both halfs are happy.


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