Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there!
It finally happened. A WNBA Game held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It took 15 years to make it happen for me. I started watching the WNBA in the summer of 2008. I was interested in watching the league because I heard that Candace Parker was better than Anthony Parker. So, I decided to test it out. I watched all of her games. She really was special and unique. Because of her, my interest in the WNBA continued, season after season.
I have seen players grow since their college days and they are now in their early thirties, and are esteemed veterans. I have supported the WNBA in any kind of way. I have written so many articles and blog posts. I have bought WNBA League Pass and even went to a Washington Mystics game with my Virginia cousins in 2015 just so I could sit and cover a game.
The WNBA means so much to me. More than the NBA. People continue to think I’m weird or different because I will cover WNBA games before any NBA game. I don’t have that same kind of passion for the NBA as I do the WNBA. These are women. Like myself. They also deserve to have their stories told. They go through so many obstacles in life just like me. They have to deal with life events just like the rest of us. Some of them become pregnant and miss the season. They then return to the next season, having to deal with a new baby and balancing their life/career. It’s not easy. They also have to remain in shape. Majority of them still play overseas and still want to continue playing in the WNBA. Now, that’s dedication.
That’s me too. I’ve been wanting a WNBA game at Scotiabank Arena since I was an 18 year old girl and I used Candace Parker as my role model because she was cool to me. I used the WNBA to help me get through college/university life. As a spry 23 year old, I decided to start covering WNBA games. I created my blog – www.wbasketballblog.com to help me get started on my writing career. I would first start writing about one team, then as the years progressed, started to write about all 12 teams. I would write general WNBA articles and then continued towards covering women’s college basketball because around that time, women’s college basketball was more popular than the WNBA and was recieving more attention. It didn’t matter to me. The WNBA is and by far is still important. It’s why I continued to balance both and still do. They both matter. It’s still important to me. That’s why I still cover the league and still care. It’s why I wanted to sit as a media member and NOT as a fan. I wanted to finally embrace the moment where I could sit as media and cover the WNBA in my hometown and not in a US state. I also still feel that Toronto would be the best place for me to finally cover a WNBA game because I truly knew that audience would sell out. I was right. When I bought six tickets in March, I couldn’t buy great tickets due to the prices and the fact that all of the great seats were taken. That made me feel good and that it was worth waiting for.
When I arrived to the game, I arrived early as a media member and immediately started to get lost. I know, it’s ironic to get lost in your own hometown arena as a media member. I had to ask people twice around the area where to find the northern entrance. I even got lost trying to find my seat as a media member in the arena and got told by fans that I need to wait for the national anthem before I can go barge in front of them. Apparently, the ushers directed me to the wrong places and I could see it in the fans faces when I tried to step over them, like, how does this woman not know where her own media seat is? She’s weird. It was difficult. Not easy. But I still perservered and was able to get to my seat. I still was able to live-tweet the game for Her Hoop Stats. I was sitting next to Nekias Duncan, who is a great NBA/WNBA journalist. We were able to discuss the game and it felt so nice to discuss the WNBA with another respected journalist. My row was filled with excellent, young journalists that one day, when the WNBA does come, they will be there to cover it and if I’m still able to (because no one knows what life truly brings us) I will be there as well.
A funny type of incident happened during halftime. I was waiting for young journalists Chelsea Leite, Crina Mustafa to leave with them because I didn’t want annoying fans to bother me again when trying to find my seat but unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to try to find good stands so I just used the first available stand. As I was using my $25 voucher, I bought loaded nachos and peanuts, but as she was giving me the peanuts, she was giving me the store bought peanuts. The ugly kind. So, I told her to keep the remains of the voucher and to keep the peanuts as well. She sarcastically smiled and told me why would you buy these peanuts? I laughed and told her, as part of media, I’m used to roasted peanuts. She sarcastically smiled and put it back. She was Indian and so us South Asians (since I am Canadian-Pakistani), are used to different things. As I was leaving to go downstairs for media conferences, her two Indian girl friends who were watching from upstairs asked me how I got into media because they also want good food that MLSE provides. I laughed and then told them, that’s it’s a long story. It’s not easy but as part of media, that I need to go downstairs and do my job. I need to be in the press conferences and that I’m here for work.
Just sitting in media press conferences for both Minnesota and Chicago as well as the coaches felt very nice. It felt homely. Even if it was just a preseason game, for me, this was awesome. I got to experience what it would be like to cover a WNBA game in my hometown arena with my colleagues, my parents and brothers watching and one of my best friends watching too. She told me she got autographs from one of the players, Brea Beal.