Sunday, July 6, 2008
Present in spirit.
No, you're not reading that incorrect. We are winners. We have won a game. The fear that we might have gone the entire year without a single win is no longer justified. And with that win, there is the promise of more wins.
1) As I was walking in one direction at Philips Arena, I encountered a fan walking in the other direction. As he passed, he muttered in an African accent, "Please, God, let them win tonight."
2) It looks like Latta jerseys are the big sellers. I saw three Latta jerseys on un-Latta-esque bodies among the fans.
3) They're going to have to call us the Atlanta Music or the Atlanta Rap or the Atlanta Crooners. Recording artist Gwendy Joysen sang a couple of songs to the crowd, but set up too early. She started when the seats were mostly empty. Having better luck was a fellow called "Quinn" who sang the National Anthem. Quinn is an R & B singer and gave one of the smoothest renditions of the National Anthem I've ever heard.
4) And, despite Ivory Latta's animation...we got off to a sucky start. Kasha Terry made two back-to-back turnovers in the first quarter and we were down 19-6 in the first. Turnovers were killing us. Coach Meadors had to put in Ann Strother and Izi Castro Marques to spark an 8-0 run, hitting a three, grabbing a steal and scoring an easy layup to bring us back to within four, 21-17 at the end of the first Q.
5) We had Lacy, Feenstra, Haynie, Castro Marques and Strother on the floor, and we began to kick it in with Jennifer Lacy hitting the shot that tied it at 23-23. Another three-pointer and we led 26-23. Chicago had to call a full time out.
6) We learned from the Jumbotron that Katie Feenstra's superpower, if she had one, would be to be invisible. To which I say: NO SHIT. Atlanta Dream fans are quite familiar with Kit's invisibility.
7) We just had great ball handling in that second quarter. Then B-Money came back in and we began to aerially bombard the sky.
Strother for three.
Lennox for three.
Lacy for three. Lacy had 12 points at the end of the half.
Chicago was in shell-shock. Alison Bales didn't even have her name on her #33 jersey, but she blocked a shot to end the second quarter with us up by 46-35. Dream fans were "cautiously optimistic".
8) Atlanta Hawks "star" Zaza Pachulia was in the audience. He didn't look particularly entralled. Then again, maybe people from the country of Georgia are just naturally reserved.
9) We put Latta, Lennox, Young, Lacy and Terry back on the court to start up the third. Naturally, the starters @#$#ed it up again. By about three minutes in, we were over the limit in fouls. We had to put the Second Team in again, but our rebounding was just lazy, or maybe we were terrified of making a foul and sending Chicago to the free throw line again.
We were playing as if we were trying not to lose instead of trying to win. Chicago tied it on a basket scored off a Noox turnover. At the end of the third quarter there was some bogus shot clock violation, and Candice Dupree hit a shot to put Chicago in the lead. By the end of the third, Chicago was up again 66-64.
10) Recording artist Akon was in the audience. On the other hand, according to his Wikipedia entry he has two near-identical brothers. Akon wants to start a reality series where his near-twins try to get into clubs, get privileges, etc. by pretending they're Akon. Maybe our collective chains were just being pulled.
11) The first part of the fourth quarter...oh baby. Chicago would be up. Then Atlanta. Then Chicago. Then Atlanta. Chicago went over the limit with about four mintues left and the Dream up 79-77. The fans at Philips were collectively holding their breath.
12) Bales. Wow. She had a steal in the fourth quarter! We were all over the Sky in terms of defense. I suspect that Bales caused a lot of problems defensively for the Sky.
13) After the referees called a ticky-tack foul on Feenstra for the crime of being 6-7, I've come to the following conclusion: twenty percent of the games in the WNBA are decided by whatever the referees ate that evening. You might as well flip a coin during those games. And that is just too many damn games.
14) With Atlanta ahead 86-81, another ticky-tack over and back foul called on Ivory Latta. You know guys, I think you'd impress your future NBA refereeing masters by calling the exact same fouls when its close as when one team is leading by fifthee points.
15) Jia Perkins hits a 3-pointer. 86-84 Dream. 20.3 seconds left. Now I was praying the same prayer that that African guy was praying.
16) Bales is fouled. Hooray!
No, she misses the first shot.
No, she misses the second shot!
17) Candice Dupree commits a foul with 17.5 seconds left. Tamera Young hits a free throw, we go up 87-84, we get possession of the ball...and after that, we rest easy. We hit free throws all the way down.
18) I got to hear a Kool and the Gang song at Philips for the first time. "Cellllllebrate good times, come on!!"
19) The Mighty Streamer Cannon is used for the first time. The crowd goes wild.
Atlanta 91, Chicago 84.
DREAM WIN! DREAM WIN! DREAM WIN!!
WE DID IT! FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, WE'RE FREE AT LAST!
There's a Biblical saying -- Romans 8:26 -- that says:
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness: for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words"
I'm going to turn it on its head. My words are too shallow for the depth of my feelings on our win. I've documented so many horrible games, so many hopeless nights. I thought that this chronicle would be a chronicle of The Team That Couldn't Win. I thought that there would be no balm in Gilead in 2008.
Well, now there is balm. No matter how bad things get for the rest of the season, we can always look back on July 5, 2008 when the Dream made history during their very first franchise win. I can tell you brothers and sisters: I was there. I WAS THERE!!