Saturday, May 03, 2008

Supporting the Team--the Atlanta Dream, that is!

Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the Pre-Season game for the Atlanta Dream--the new Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team in Georgia. It was a pleasure for many reasons, but I want to focus on the most obvious. As my friend Karen text-messaged us as she was waiting for us at the game: "I've never seen so many lesbians in my life."

My wife and I became WNBA fans back when we lived in Washington, DC. There, a new team had just started and there was a lot of buzz in the gay community about it. I was never before a big basketball fan, but somehow my wife and I were suddenly season ticket holders and die-hard WNBA fans.

Clearly a big part of the draw for us was that the stands were filled with lesbians (not so many gay men, but probably a handful), and families. We all got along wonderfully and had a great time at the games.

It has been no secret in the WNBA that many, if not all of the league teams are supported largely by the lesbian community. Without us, they would probably not survive.

So tonight, looking around Philip's Arena, it was so nice to see all the lesbians in the stands, the quick bond, smiles and nods between strangers. We who attend the games know we are part of a club. It's a great club to be in for many reasons, but the one that stood out to me tonight was our power.

I think one of the reasons so many of us come together and enjoy ourselves in this welcoming environment is because we have power. We are safe in our numbers at the game, so even though we may be sitting near someone with views that are non-accepting of us, we know they will not speak to us in that way because we are not the minority at these games. It is safe. It is fun. And it's great to follow the drama and stories that accompany women's basketball.

As a leader in this community who often struggles with the idea that we as a community don't try to grasp real power to help ourselves, I thought about how we may have unconsciously done so through the WNBA.

In Atlanta, the stands are clearly filled with lesbians (and at least two gay male couples), and we have the power to make or break this team. It also gives us a sense of empowerment that we can be who we are at these games.

With all this rambling, what I am trying to say is we need more of you to come out. Grab the power, join the club, and have some fun at this gay affirming venue. Let's make it really obvious who supports this team so it will be our team. Could you ever dream of us having the power to control the fate of a national sports team? We do. And this actually will help us in our drive for acceptance in this country.

Not only will straight people have the opportunity to meet gay people and realize were not so scary or bad, but we will gain tremendous respect from the business leaders in the community who need us to make this team survive and ultimately thrive. These are both important wins for us.

So, all that being said, I say come out to as many games as you can. Become a season ticket holder if you can. Buy your tickets for the home opener May 23rd through MEGA so we can show them our economic power. Folks, I may not have done the best job explaining this, but it matters.

Click here to purchase tickets for the MEGA block on May 23rd!

If you want to learn more about the Atlanta Dream, you can click here to go to their website!

**And on a side note to the LA Sparks and their fans--your team was rude and arrogant tonight! Though Candace Parker is probably one of the best players in the league, her arrogant, show-boating behavior was a disgrace. How disappointing to see her head down this path. I hope someone stops her and brings her back down to earth. With minutes left to a strangely close game, Candace, Lisa Leslie, and several other teammates were not even watching the game--they were dancing and watching various fans in the stands dance. They literally had their backs to the game, which is something I have never seen before in a team. How disrespectful to your teammates who WERE playing and to the Atlanta Dream who actually almost beat your team!

Still, it is a lot of fun, so come on out to the games!

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