Wednesday, July 9, 2008
There are two teams that are struggling in the WNBA Eastern Conference. One is the Washington Mystics, and the other is the Atlanta Dream.
It seems that everyone has pretty much kind words for the Atlanta Dream. Other teams want the Dream to win -- just not to win against them. However, hardly anyone has kind words for the Mystics -- not even Mystics fans. The fans and the organization always seem to be in turmoil of some sort.
I'm thinking of awful teams like the 1962 New York Mets, who only won 40 games in a 162 games season. The city of New York fell in love with them. They were "lovable losers". The '62 Mets have only a few counterparts, because most of the time when a team loses the emotion is not love, but anger, disgust, or indifference.
So what makes a team a lovable loser? I found this list at Roar 34, which is a Baltimore Orioles blog. The author has a list of what makes a team a "loveable loser" as opposed to just a loser. I took the lessons of this list and applied them to the Dream.
1. When they lose, they lose in style.
We've lost every possible way imaginable. We've had big leads and thrown them away. We've had games where we couldn't get into it. We've had games where the starters did well, but the bench didn't. We've had games where the bench did well, but the starters didn't. If there's a way to lose a game, we've mastered it.
2. They make us laugh. They make us cry.
Katie Feenstra, the ultimate big fencepost of a player, can lose her game so quickly that fans of "LET'S GO DREAM! LET'S GO DREAM!" actually changed to "LOVELACE IN! LOVELACE IN!" during one part of the game. However, there's been no hostility displayed toward Feenstra, and the crowd always cheers her on. You have to laugh because you'd cry otherwise.
As for making us cry, I don't think Betty Lennox has smiled all year.
3. (Sometimes they actually cry.)
See Ivory Latta, also called Our Lady of Perpetual Distress.
4. For a while there, they fool us into thinking they're actually good.
Usually the Dream can play two or even three quarters of good ball. That last quarter, however, is an abomination to the fauna of the Earth. Luckily, this horrible quarter is usually the second or third quarter. If it were the fourth quarter all the time (See Dream vs. Liberty) it would be unbearable.
Betty Lennox and Ivory Latta have had career shooting games -- in Dream losses. And until Saturday, it seemed that one player was always having a career game of some sort, but everyone else was sucking.
5. Unbelievably ridiculous misfortune befalls them.
Let's see. We drafted Ann Wauters but she didn't want to come. Neither did Yelena Leuchanka. Erika de Souza had an 18 rebound game against Detroit. She only played in two games since then, and has been out with a foot injury for most of the season.
Of course, how much misfortune can you have in just one season? I'm sure other teams might have a better argument, but I'll go with the Dream as the "loveable losers" of the WNBA.