Who watches the WNBA? Do you? I do not. And according to ratings it seems that not too many people out there do either. Now if you look you will see headlines like ‘WNBA ratings rising fast!’ but with as low as they were, 50,000 viewers can raise the rating a whole point! The high for the 2019 season was a .6 rating, which was a 200% INCREASE over its previous high. A rating point is about 1.1 million, so the .6 would be about 660,000 people who watched. While that seems like a large number, the NBA averages and 8.8 rating, and their product sucks as well. So why don’t people watch the WNBA? Is it that they don’t like watching female athletes playing at the top of their ability? Is the game that fundamentally different?
Ask 10 people and you many get 10 different answers. Proponents will tell you there is sexism at play here, either in part or wholly, and that guys will just have to change. Detractors will tell you anything from lack of dunks, slower play, not using same equipment (the ball is smaller) and rules and sure, some just don’t like the idea at all. I am not a huge fan of the NBA, much less the WNBA. However I think the NBA has got me used to seeing dunks and flying layups that the women’s version you would get on most nights just seems like a high school game by comparison.
But that isn’t where I am going with this story. Nice long intro that does pretty much (almost) nothing to advance this story. During my college days I did just about anything to stay in shape. I was on the tennis team and volleyball team, plus played every intramural sport we had. I played basketball but was not all that great at it. I could defend well and rebound pretty good, but other than maybe a nice 10 foot jump shot I had nothing. I still played, however, as it helped keep me in shape. My college’s girls basketball team only had 9 girls on the team. I happened to be dating one of them at the time, and she mentioned that the coach was looking for people to at least have a ‘full’ practice. I guess most of her drills need 12 people to run right, plus at least 10 if you want a 5 v 5 scrimmage. So myself and 2 other guys who were usually in the gym at the same time as their practice agreed to practice with the ladies. We would keep in shape, run some drills and get better ourselves while helping them out as well.
Now our ladies team was not all that good. The starting point guard, which is the one I was dating, was only 5′ 6″. Not very tall. She was good but often out-sized. We did have 2 taller ladies, one was 6′ tall and the other an inch or two taller. The 6′ tall one was a good player. She has some good ball handling skills (no pun intended, also she was gay so that joke in your mind just didn’t work), a nice touch on her jump shot and hustled. She also resented us guys being in HER practice. She was the best player on the team and she knew it. She REALLY resented it when one of us guys would block her shot or box her out on a board. Whenever we would have 5 v 5 drills it would suck if you were on the opposite team from her. Not because she was good, but because if you had to guard her, she had a knack for elbows and hands hitting us guys in a certain spot. Pretty much guaranteed that you would get whacked there 3 or 4 times a practice if you were on the other team. After a few weeks one of the guys got mad about it and after she whacked him there he just stood up and screamed ‘if you want to touch my dick just ask instead of trying to hit me there every damn game, you bitch! I am just here to help you!” Yeah, that went over very well. She got red-faced and mad and the coach ended up calling the day. That guy never came back to practice.
So the next day were are practicing and then go to the 5 v 5. Sure enough I am on the opposite team. We switched a lot on defense so I was guarding her off and on throughout the simulated game, and had taken a few glancing blows already only 10 minutes in. Then came a weird exchange. She decided she was going to make a power move to the hoop and I was in her way. So I stood my ground ready for a charge. Realizing it was her I quickly guarded my crotch with my hands as she jumped up to try and go over me or something. I don’t know what she was planning other than to run into me, but she hit me at full speed, I swear with a knee sticking out. She jumps in the air and slams into me with her crotch hitting me right in the face. We both fall to the ground again with her crotch right in my face and I am laying on the floor. The coach blew her whistle to stop play and she just sat there, crotch pressed against my face. I truly didn’t know what to do. Pretty girl, crotch in face, but in public, she is gay and not moving off of me. So I literally just lay there motionless for what seemed like an eternity but was really maybe 20 seconds or so. She was glaring down at me with a weird look in her eye like a mixture of lust and hate, but more hate. Then she hops off me and screams at me that if I wanted to grab her crotch I should just ask, not run into her like that. I look around dumbfounded, as SHE ran into ME and then she storms off the court. I look at the coach and my girlfriend, both of whom look as perplexed as I did. Again, practice was called. But not before my girlfriend came up to me and said “you better not have enjoyed that…”. No ma’am, I did not!
Sadly us guys were not practicing with the ladies after that. The coach thanked us but it seems that some of them couldn’t handle guys not even on the guys team hanging with them ability-wise. Oh well. it was fun while it lasted.