Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Tale of Sound and Fury . . . Signifying ???

Not long ago, the male host of a local rock music radio station ("Elliot in the Morning" on DC 101) engaged in a little trash talking about the Mystics, claiming that he and his studio crew could beat the Mystics -- a team of professional female basketball players. Typical trash talk by guys. Very stereotypical. How many Sunday morning male duffers think they can outdrive Annika Sorenstam? Lots, unfortunately. How many really can? Excuse us while we roll on the floor laughing.

So how did the Mystics respond? Well, Alana Beard got on the line and started a little trash-talking of her own. To make a long story short, the Styx decided to play the radio guys and the game was held this morning at Comcast Center. To the surprise of no one who's actually seen the WNBA, the Mystics destroyed the testosterone radio jocks, 83-23.

At the end of the first quarter, the score was 21-4; the Mystics shut out the guys in the second quarter, heading into halftime with a 42-4 lead. After 3 periods, 60-12. And it wasn't even the "real" Mystics who were playing, as Nikki Blue (who'd just flown in from her overseas team yesterday) was the only player on the court from last year's Mystics. The rest of the team were Mystics wannabees, mostly the young kids fresh out of college competing for the limited open spots on the roster. So what does that prove? That college and professional female athletes can thoroughly destroy a bunch of guys (plus their one token female reserve) who make their living sitting on their butts talking into a microphone? Yes, it does prove that. Otherwise, what does it prove? Well, nothing, really.

The BasketCases are torn about all this. On one hand, the Mystics got a lot of free positive publicity from the radio station this morning, as the game was broadcast live. Not to mention all the trash talking from both camps leading up to the game. So if you subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity, then this was a major publicity plus for the Mystics.

But we also believe that women professional athletes owe nothing to trash-talking guys. They have no obligation to prove themselves better than a bunch of couch-potato men. In fact, it doesn't matter whether they are or they aren't better; they don't compete against male professionals. And the fantasy that some men have that they can beat women at a sport that the women play professionally is just that, a male fantasy. We wonder if it isn't a bit demeaning for women professional athletes even to dignify macho trash-talkers by actually playing them in a game.

13 Comments:

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that female athletes still have to prove themselves as serious athletes. It reflects society's attitudes toward women-men are still considered the standard to be measured against. I'm glad the Mystics kicked butt, but sad we have to keep replaying the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King scenario!

 
At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

I took it all in the humor it was intended to be taken with. Certainly good publicity for both parties.

 
At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Mystics fan, I had never heard of these guys until this so-called "challenge". Guess they got publicity - humiliation, but publicity.

 
At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the tone of your post you didn't get what it was all about.. eitm may have played some big front while on the air, but they never had any delusions of winning.. the whole point was that if the mystics won, dc101 would give them great coverage on the air for the next season.. the back and forth trash talk was to build up publicity to support the mystics.. the eitm morning show is one of the largest in the area and even simulcast in richmond, this game was meant to increase interest in women's basketball and i'm sure you will see that increase for the next season.. i mean really, did you think there was any seriousness to a bunch of disc jockeys thinking they could beat a professional sports team? that's like me boasting to the world i can build a better rocket and get us to mars before the goal of 2020..

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

While I completely understand the argument that this doesn't prove anything and it is another case of women having to measure their worth against out of shape DJs, I'm in the "good publicity" camp. EITM has a ton of listeners and, while many of EITM listeners will never set foot in the Verizon Center on a Mystics game day, some might. Not only that, but I think EITM and the Mystics could team up in the future to do a charity game or something. EITM has a pretty good track record with doing stuff in the community, despite their ribald reputation. I think the Mystics made a good choice with this one. It showed a sense of humor and a willingness to branch out from the "family friendly" marketing that goes on with much of the WNBA. Not that there's anything WRONG with that, but...this was a different audience.

Also, I was at the game this morning and I liked what I saw from Krystal Vaughn!

 
At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to add to what tonya said, i 100% agree that this opens the door to some really great charities. for example, elliot has been a huge supporter for the center for missing and exploited children, on fridays they catch up with america's most wanted, even to the point where elliot was asked to appear as a supporting cast in one of the reenactments. i will give you the fact that women's athletic programs do have to try harder to turn heads, and that is really sad in this modern age, but i don't think this was an intentional slam on the mystics, but rather a really long drawn out bit to begin a solid relationship and increase interest in another local team

 
At 4:13 PM, Blogger Everett W. said...

If EITM had come out as pro-Mystics all along, the show's overwhelmingly male listeners would have just tuned out. The "radio feud" was needed to draw in their interest.

If this business can get the Mystics more fans beyond the usual women's pro basketball fan demographic, that's a good thing.

 
At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Lucky Horseshoe said...

As someone who used to play pickup games in Cole Field house with Tara Heiss, I have no delusions of my talent level even then when I might have been in bad shape but that shape wasnt round. However lets not delude ourselves. Mens basketball and womens basketball are two different products. The WNBA exists due to subsidies from mens basketball to get it going. It still cant compete. It has its place and I enjoy watching it. I follow it peripherally. But the popularity, the money, the fans, the media coverage, all indicate that they are worlds apart.

 
At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

EITM was also a support of the Washington Freedom, the pro women's soccer team so I think that all the trash talking was all in fun and will hopefully result in new fans of the Mystics!

by the way..anyone know where Coco is? I didn't think she usually played overseas.

 
At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe me, I realize men's basketball and women's basketball are two different products - but - the NBA did not start out as the behemoth it is today. The WNBA is still a growing league. So of course it is "worlds apart". However, the tone of so much of the coverage of the league and comparing it to the NBA makes it seem that the WNBA is an inferior product, rather than just a different one! And I contend that is not the case!

 
At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The subtlety of this event escaped me at first... and maybe it still does... I didn't make it there...

Did Sarah-Jo play for the 'Stics?

C&OSpence

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

@C&OSpence: Sarah-Jo did play and looked pretty good.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

I should have said - she was given an MVP type award, but that seemed more like an afterthought. I actually think some other people on the floor played better, but that's not said to take anything away from her :)

 

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