After the Madness of March, I’m Going to Try to Watch More Women’s Sports

Monday, April 15, 2024

 The WNBA draft is upon us, after an electric and record breaking Women’s March Madness. This was the first year I really paid attention to the tournament, after only watching last year’s championship. I watched as much of this year as I could, watched both Final Four games. I didn’t end up watching the final because I had tickets to the final performance of Spamalot on Broadway. I contain multitudes.


 Now this isn’t just because of the Women’s tournament this year, it’s something that’s been slowly building over the last few years for me. My attention to sports in general has ebbed and flowed over the last few years, not just women’s sports. Even my attention for my beloved my Mets has been up and down. But it has steadily grown over the last few years. I started watching the Mets more, especially in 2022 when they were crushing. And sometimes I would find myself putting on an NBA game if I wasn’t in a headspace to watch a movie or tv show, which happens more than I would like if you look at the backlog of movies I have recorded from TCM on my YouTube TV I haven’t watched yet. It’s devastating.


 Obviously I pay attention to women’s sports every two year thanks to the Olympics, but that’s a whole different beast when it comes to women’s sports coverage. But along with watching my Mets and some men’s basketball, I’ve found myself tuning into some women’s sports, too. I would tune into the occasional soccer game, and watched some of the 2023 WNBA Finals. Last year I tuned into the WNBA Finals where my hometown Liberty faced off against the Aces, and the NWSL Championship where my Gotham FC won. I watched Coco Gauff win the US Open in thrilling fashion. I watched Sabrina and Steph face off in the All Star Game.


 Some of this was also spurred on by my hometown teams having success, especially after men’s teams have been lackluster, or would make the postseason and lose in the first round. Yes I’m still sad about the 2022 Mets finish. But I think whatever little investment in my hometown teams that got me interested helped.

 But this is the first year where I’m actually going to make the effort to watch, and not just watch because I was lucky enough to have home teams playing for titles. I don’t have cable, I have YouTube TV, which means I can set teams to record so that whenever they have a game coming up on a channel I have access to through that platform, I’ll know about it and I can watch it. No searching for channels or broadcast schedules. Or if I need to, find other ways to get access to games. For the NWSL for example, they have NWSL+, a streaming platform that is free, no subscription required. I watched last night’s Gotham FC and Kansas City Current game through it and it was super easy. 

 And because it’s just not possible to watch every game, I’m going to follow coverage. I’ve downloaded the ESPN app, and followed every team and league I want to pay attention to. Once the WNBA season starts, I’m going to check out what programming ESPN has, and maybe follow sites like SB Nation’s Swish Appeal to keep up to date on everything going on in the league. Same goes for the NWSL with ESPN coverage and another SB Nation site called All For XI. And maybe look for the team’s best reporter and follow their work. It’s not enough just to tune into the games, it’s important to pay attention to the coverage too. One of the highlights of this year’s March Madness was watching the studio show with Elle Duncan, Andraya Carter, and Chiney Ogwumike, because it was miles above the usual NBA countdown show. Obviously, because it was three smart women doing it who actually pay attention to the full game and not Stephen A. Smith yelling and constantly being wrong or ignorant about what’s going on.


 I know everyone is hanging onto Caitlin Clark on bringing attention to the league, but I don’t think you can hang your fandom on one star to inspire long term fans of the sport. You can root for the stars and watch the stars, but I think for true fandom, you need a team. Whether you’re lucky enough to be in or near a market with a team, or you start watching and fall in love with a team along the way, you need that rooting interest, a rooting interest that lasts longer than one player. And having it should inspire you to watch games where your team isn’t playing, because you’ve fallen in love with the game along the way.


 I have my teams, obviously. The New York Liberty and Gotham FC. And I do have a soft spot for the Las Vegas Aces which is weird since they beat us in the Finals, but I like watching them play. I like A’ja Wilson and Kelsey Plum, and seeing Becky Hammon as a coach and winning back-to-back titles in her first two years feels like a dig at NBA teams for not hiring her as a head coach even though she was clearly one of the most qualified candidates.

 So, I am looking forward to the WNBA and NWSL seasons, and hope that this isn’t just a phase for me, and a phase for everyone, but something that we all carry on with and grow with each year.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top