Well, the Storm’s 10th Anniversary Celebration is in the books. I hope you had as much fun looking back on the Storm’s history as I did. It was great to see a number of former players – All-Decade Teamers Simone Edwards and Kamila Vodichkova and Michelle Marciniak, Astou Ndiaye-Diatta, Semeka Randall and Jamie Redd. Even in retirement, it’s interesting to see Edwards’ and Vodichkova’s contrasting personalities – Simone the passionate extrovert, Kamila the steady rock – and how much Storm fans responded to both of them.
I have only two regrets. One is that I couldn’t have been in two places at once to take in more of the excitement before the game on Saturday. The other is that I wasn’t around for quite the entire first decade of Storm basketball, having first started following the team in 2002 before joining the organization the following summer.
The weekend also served as a great opportunity to write about the Storm and its history. In case you haven’t seen them, here are some of my favorite stories.
Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer was at SPORT Restaurant for Friday night’s event featuring a Q&A and autographs as well as Saturday’s game, and wrote movingly about the loyalty of Storm fans, making use of Sue Bird’s comment on Storm fans at SPORT.
Bird, the star Storm guard, remembers losing a home playoff game to Houston in 2005. The Comets pounded the Storm 75-58 and ended its season. After winning a championship in 2004, it was a disappointing conclusion. However, as Bird and her teammates walked off the court, they exited to a standing ovation. It moved her to near tears.
“I’ll never forget it,” Bird said Friday at Sport restaurant in Lower Queen Anne, during an event that was part of a celebration for the franchise’s all-decade team. “It just reminded me how awesome our fans are.”
Leading up to the ceremony, Jayda Evans of the Times spoke to some of the All-Decade selections.
“When I landed, I was holding myself, trying not to cry because I just felt great being back in Seattle,” said Vodichkova, 36. “The weather was perfect and the sea was blue. All of the things were where they were supposed to be.”
Byron Edelman from seattlepi.com chose to focus on Edwards and what she means to the Seattle community more than three years after she last played for the Storm.
Edwards’ tireless work ethic hasn’t only applied to charity, though. She would attempt to sign every autograph request she ever received. And she was even outside KeyArena before the Storm’s inaugural game, dispensing water bottles (Few fans recognized she was a player). “You always have time,” she said, explaining her philosophy about autographs and charity work. “The fans appreciate when you spend time with them. And that’s important.”
What ensued was a love affair between a city and a basketball franchise that has lasted ten years. Edwards, 35, retired from the WNBA four seasons ago. But she still plays for the Jamaican national team and coaches basketball at George Mason University.
Q from Rethinking Basketball decided to put down some thoughts on the assertion from players and coaches that the Storm’s fans are the best in the WNBA.
If you believe what people in Key Arena say, the fans in the rest of the league are straight-up slackin’.
But the thing is, I don’t think this is just a matter of a coach, owner, players, past-players, and announcers laying platitudes on the fans who pay the bills. I haven’t been to every arena in the league as Agler has, but I have to say that Storm games are by far one of the best sporting events I’ve ever been to in the U.S. And the fans are a big part of it.