Spotlight on the Los Angeles Sparks!

I went to my first Los Angeles Sparks game last night! It was SO MUCH FUN. I highly recommend it! (The only bummer - it was the last game for the 2014 season, so you're gonna have to wait until next spring before you can check them out for yourself.)

Sunday night LA Sparks playoff game.
This was my first pro women sports event. I can't believe it! I consider myself to be a HUGE sports fan and an active feminist, and I've never been to see women play anything professionally! When I was a kid, I wanted to be the first female player on the Detroit Tigers. I was crazy obsessed with A League of Their Own (which I watched recently, and it totally holds up, for the record). And I was captain of my water polo team.

By all accounts, I should be the target audience for women playing professional sports. And yet, I've never seen a game! In any sport!

Shame on me.

Thank goodness my dear friend Nicky showed me the light. She and her fiance Linsey have season tickets and are avid Sparks fans. And no, it's not just because they're lesbians (though the Sparks do pull in a hefty lesbian fan base). Nicky is my best friend from college, and we both live and die by The Ohio State Buckeyes (as does Linsey, which is why it's great they are getting married. Among other reasons, including they are perfect for each other). So Linsey and Nicky are equal opportunity sports lovers.

The Sparks game had such a great atmosphere - they don't draw huge crowds, but the people who are there love their Sparks. There isn't a bad seat in the house because they don't open the top level...so no matter what, you feel super close to the action. And it's cheap! We were maybe 15 rows up from the floor, and our tickets were only $20.

This would be a perfect and affordable family outing OR just a fun weeknight hangout for friends. Everyone should go! And to top it all off, it's an absolute joy to watch these women play. Last night we saw Brittany Griner (of the Phoenix Mercury) make the first slam dunk in WNBA playoff history. It was AMAAAAZING. It looked something like this:
Griner_playoff_medium

And this:

Griner_playoff_2_medium

I felt bad for the Sparks but DAMN. That was a beautiful thing to witness in person.

Other perks - Warren G performed at halftime. What. Yes, Warren G. Here he is, singing Regulate. It was really good, by the way. (Between this and rewatching A League of Their Own, I'm feeling like I'm back in the 90s. Also because everyone is wearing overalls again. What's up with that?)

Here's Warren G, regulating all over the place.


There were plenty of other celebrities there, too. Matt Kemp and Arsenio Hall were both in floor seats. I love it that Matt Kemp was coming out to support his fellow Los Angeleno athletes. 

Plus Magic Johnson was there! MAGIC JOHNSON. He's a part of Guggenheim Partners, who bought the LA Sparks this past February. And he's taking an active role as owner and helping to turn the franchise around. Here he is, next to the basket, in the grey/silver shirt. You will recognize him because he's pretty much the tallest person in this picture.



















Unfortunately, the Sparks lost, which means they were eliminated from the playoffs. They are done for the 2014 season. But that's ok, Sparks - you'll get 'em next year!

I still had a great time overall! I cannot wait to go back next season. And I'm going to do my darnedest to encourage other folks to get out and see their WNBA teams play. WNBA salaries are abominably low - rookies start below $40,000 and the salary cap is below $110,000. Can you believe that? To understand the vast difference between what WNBA players and NBA players get paid, here's a Buzzfeed list called 52 NBA Players Who Make More Money Than Every Player In The WNBA Combined.

Because the players make so little money, they often have to play in other countries in the off season. And they get paid way more to play there! Isn't that bananas?

So let's help to popularize these hardworking badass athletes so they can make a little more money...and also just because they are AWESOME and we should all be watching them play!

Go Sparks!