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Archive for October, 2009

  A lot going on today, but that’s good. I’ll soon be talking with Kathy Betty, head of the new Dream ownership group, and will have a story on ESPN.com.

  Also today, though, I head out toward Western Kansas for an event called the WEPAC Hoops for Hope charity basketball game. Former players from the likes of Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri State, Iowa and Nebraska will be teaming with high school players in a game that is raising money for the WEPAC Alliance, a foundation that pays for cancer-preventative care for women in five small Kansas communities (Wilmore, Englewood,Protection, Ashland, and Coldwater.) The other 10 percent of the proceeds will go to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.  

  The game is from 8:30-10:30 Central time on Friday night, with Fox Sports Midwest airing it in the states of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa.

  My friends Brenda VanLengen and Patti Phillips and I are driving out to Ashland, Kan., where the game will be held. Brenda and Patti will handle the broadcast duties for FSN Midwest.

   One current WNBA player, San Antonio’s Ruth Riley, is involved as is former WNBA legend Cynthia Cooper, now coach at Prairie View A&M, and all-time NCAA scoring leader Jackie Stiles.

 More info on the event can be found at:  www.wepacthehouse.org. I’ll be writing a story about it for The Kansas City Star and will have more on it here at this blog, too.

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    I told you not to look!

  You know that goofy and annoying Carfax commercial, where the customer wants to see the a vehicle’s history report, but the nervous sales guy gets out a hand puppet as a lame form of distraction? 

  “You want to see the Car Fox?” he says, ridiculously.

  OK, yes, it is really stupid. But that’s not going to keep me from stealing from it as I try to tell you what I sent in this week to the Associated Press. It’s my ballot for …  uh …
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   A Facebook friend posted the other day that he had “that dream” … the one where he is back in college and realizes that he has not gone to a certain class all semester, surely has missed tests/projects, and is totally unprepared for the final.

  This seems to be one of those near-universal dreams. And as someone who’s had it numerous times, I am still surprised how frightening and upsetting the dream seems, like your entire life is in shambles because of missing this class. But I assume it feels like that because of what your state of mind would have to be if this happened in real life.
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   Geno Auriemma couldn’t select UConn to win the Big East like every other coach in the league did. Same for Tara VanDerveer and Stanford in the Pac-10. 

   OK, this is NOT something I get upset about or anything. It’s just that every year before the start of the hoops season, I remember that it kind of annoys me.

  When coaches do their preseason ballots to make predictions about their league _ how they think teams are going to finish and who the top player and freshman of the year etc. are going to be _ it seems to be standard procedure that they are not allowed to vote for their own team or their players.

  But why not?  

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      ncw_a_lacey1_400This past July, I went to see “Six-on-Six: The Musical,” which is an homage to girls’ basketball as it used to be played in the state of Iowa.

   Playwright and director Robert John Ford witnessed the famed state tournament himself while in high school in Iowa in 1978, and then again in 1987 when the six-on-six game was in its last decade of existence.

  The experience of watching a packed arena in Des Moines going crazy over girls’ basketball _ and what that said about community pride in Iowa _ made so strong an impression on him that he was able to overcome his peers’ skepticism to write a musical about the sport.

   There is nothing that I am aware of in American sports history that was quite like the phenomenon of Iowa’s six-on-six girls’ basketball tournament. I say that because of the factors involved. This started in Iowa in 1920, and even in what I call the “backlash” decades for girls’ and women’s sports _ the 1950s and ‘60s _ it not only survived, but was in its heyday.

   The six-on-six sport was somewhat popular in other states, too, most notably Oklahoma and Tennessee. But nowhere except Iowa has there been a state tournament for girls’ basketball every year since 1920. Nowhere was it so large a part of a state’s historical “quilt” _ a tournament that lured entire towns (small-town pride was the very essence of this event) to empty out and head to Des Moines each March, even in blizzards.

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    My thoughts about the move of the Detroit Shock to Tulsa are on ESPN.com now, and I’ll look at that more on that site and here later as well. 

  But here’s a question for readers/followers of women’s basketball in terms of media coverage. Essentially, it’s this: What are the things you most look for and find to be informative or insightful? I realize this is going to be a mixed bag, because people have very different views on these things. But I’d like to hear various opinions.
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     A few more thoughts as the WNBA season hands off to the college season …

    With the pro league’s season being done, we once again are in a waiting mode about various franchises. I just accept this is a part of the business, and perhaps will be for the foreseeable future. Economics being what they are, times are tougher even than usual for a niche sport still in the early decades of building its fan base.

   Indiana appears secure now, at least for 2010, thanks to the Fever’s success and the spectator response to that. But now eyes are on the viability of franchises in Detroit and Atlanta, while the good news is that investors in Tulsa really want a team.
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