Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last night, the 2-6 Washington Mystics arrived at US Airways Arena, home to the 2-7 Phoenix Mercury . . . for a “battle” between two teams that have experienced pretty dismal starts to their seasons. The Merc, at least, have a good excuse for their lop-sided losing record. First, they lost All-Star Penny Taylor to injury even before the season began. Then, two games into the 2012 regular season, All-World Diana Taurasi was sidelined with a hip injury. Last night, the Merc were even more depleted, as both Candice Dupree and Nakia Sanford joined Penny and Dee on the bench -- in street clothes -- nursing their own injuries. That left the Merc with just 8 players; for all intents and purposes, the Mystics were playing DeWanna Bonner and the Phoenix bench. 

Yet, even against that lineup, somehow the Mystics still lost. Up by 3 points at the start of the 4th quarter, and leading by 5 with 2:26 left in the game, the Mystics could not hold onto the lead. Once again, they could not finish, and the Merc won, 80-77 -- handing the Mystics their 13th consecutive loss on the road. Phoenix rookie Samantha Prahalis scored 7 points in the final two minutes and 2 seconds. 

The BCs simply DO NOT BELIEVE that Crystal Langhorne, Monique Currie, Matee Ajavon, and their teammates do not have the talent or the desire to beat the Phoenix Mercury bench. Nope, WE AREN’T BUYING IT. It’s one thing to get blown out, on the road, by L.A. -- a team stocked with some pretty talented players. But losing to the Mercury bench? Uh-uh, something is very wrong here. 

We’ve been to a couple of games this season. We’ve seen for ourselves that there’s still a small, but hardcore, group of fans who, unlike the BCs, are living and dying over the Mystics. We feel for them. We really do. We’ve read their comments on the Mystics’ Facebook page. And they are suffering. Undoubtedly, the players are suffering, too. 

These fans love the Mystics. They deserve better. These Mystics players are trying . . . they deserve better. The city deserves better. The WNBA deserves better. 

No player letters to the Coach will solve this problem.  No player detentions, or writing “I must try harder” a hundred times on the White Board, will solve this problem. The buck -- and any chance of solving this problem -- stops, not with the players, but up the food chain . . . with the Mystics’ front office.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dear Coach Trudi,

I think I know why we lost.

I followed what I thought was your game plan, but I didn’t realize it was on the other side of the paper you gave me. All I read was the writing on the first page: “PLEASE TURNOVER.”  I didn’t know there was anything on the other side. 

Next game, I promise to read both sides and try to follow everything in the plan, not just the part about turnovers.

Yours truly,

[A Mystics Player]

You’re probably thinking that letter isn’t even funny.  First, no Mystics player would be that stupid. (We agree.)  And second, who ever heard of players writing letters to their coach explaining why they lost?  That’s beyond stupid. (We also agree.)

Except sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.  The BCs made up the content of this communication.  We admit it’s pure fiction. But did we make up the fact that Mystics players have actually written letters to Trudi? No!

The BCs have it on excellent authority that after the loss to the Liberty on June 8th, Coach Trudi required each Mystics player to write her a letter at least a page long explaining why the team has been losing and why they haven’t been able to finish.

You can’t make this stuff up! 

After last night’s drubbing in L.A., we wonder whether Trudi will now make them write her a two-page letter!

Saturday, June 02, 2012


So, is Spelling now a sport? They show it on ESPN. Very exciting. Very tense. Very competitive. But even though they broadcast it on the Worldwide Leader in Sports, the BCs still vote an emphatic (from the Greek emphatikos, from emphainein) NO. How come? Simple. We were riveted to our couch during the final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week on the #1 sports network, just waiting to see who would win. And then came the exciting conclusion!

At the moment that Snigdha Nandipati correctly spelled “guetapens” to seal the victory, the crowd went wild silent. Friends and fans leaped to their feet sat quietly. The announcer immediately shouted congratulations paused and then paused some more before finally declaring Snigdha the 2012 champion. Seriously, ESPN, you really need to work with those word geeks (from English dialect geek, geck, fool, from Low German geck, from Middle Low German) on your end game. If you want to show the Spelling Bee on a sports channel (Middle English chanel, from Anglo-French, from Latin canalis channel), you need to add some excitement to the conclusion of this competition. A trophy and a delayed confetti drop just aren’t enough. How ‘bout next year adding some cheerleaders, colored T-shirts, foam fingers or painted faces? Even better, how ‘bout if the fans yell and wave their arms to distract the competitor while she’s finger-writing the word on her hand? Now that would make it more sports-like. That would be awesome (adjective \ˈȯ-səm\). Until then, it’s a fun event to follow, but uh-uh . . . definitely not a sport.

If the Scripps folks want to see how exciting the end of a real sporting event can be, they should check out the ending of last Tuesday’s game between the Tulsa Shock and the LA Sparks. Some might say that until the final seconds, Kristi Toliver was having an “off night.” Actually, KT recorded a WNBA record 14 turnovers in that game. Ouch. The BCs wouldn’t call that an off night, we’d call that a train wreck. But the great thing about sports is you can go from goat to hero, or vice versa (from the Latin), at a moment’s notice. And that’s exactly what happened Tuesday night. The Shock were up by 2; then Tulsa misses a couple of free throws (a former Dukie at the line); the Sparks rebound, dish the ball to Kristi, who sprints the length of the court, takes a step back so she’s behind the 3-point line, and launches a contested fade-away jumper as time expires. Swish . . . Sparks win!!! Now that’s an ending! (By the way, Michelle Smith has a must-read article about Kristi on – here.)

Mystics fans also experienced a couple of dramatic – but not so happy – endings this week. The BCs were in the Phone Booth on Wednesday and saw the home team make a surprising comeback against the defending (and currently undefeated) WNBA champions, the Lynx. Washington clawed its way back from a deep first half deficit to pull even (and briefly lead by 1) in the final minutes. But an offensive rebound and put back by Lindsay Whalen in the final second gave Minnesota an ugly win, but a dub-ya nonetheless. As the 2,500 or so (we counted them) Mystics fans in attendance filed out, we overheard some people saying, “well, at least they didn’t get blown out” and “that was a good effort . . . they put up a fight.” How sad, really, that the expectations of these uber-loyal Mystics fans, in the 15th season of the franchise, have sunk so very, very low.

And as it turns out, Wednesday wasn’t the only night that Washington fans had their hopes dashed in the final second. The BCs were following on Live Access last night when the Mystics faced the Sky on the road in Chicago. With a five-point lead and only 46 seconds left in the game, it sure looked like Washington was on their way to their second win of the season. But no. In those final seconds, the Mystics committed two turnovers and a foul, and missed a shot. Meanwhile, with a 3-pointer and a couple of clutch free throws by the Sky, the BCs figured this one was headed to overtime. No, again. When Chicago gained possession with 1.8 seconds left in regulation as a result of a Mystics shot clock violation, Coach Chatman called a timeout and designed a play for Swin Cash to inbound to Big Syl under the basket. The play was perfectly executed, and Chicago scored with 0.2 on the clock. The Mystics snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. What an ending. Washington fans, once again, wind up feeling like they’re on the wrong end of a guetapens (from the French, meaning ambush or trap.)

Heart-pounding wins, heartbreaking losses. For better or for worse, dramatic endings are what make sports so addictive. Come on, spellers. Next year, we know you can do better!