No one wants to watch two slow paced teams play a boring game that lacks electricity and excitement, but that is exactly what the WNBA and WUSA are.
Professional basketball and soccer are two wonderful sports to watch, as long as men are the ones playing. The WNBA and the WUSA are two leagues whose purposes were well intended, but whose product is garbage.
The WNBA finishes its seventh season this week with the Detroit Shock facing off against the Los Angles Sparks in the finals. As much of a story as the Finals are or could be, they are over shadowed by the fame of each team’s coach.
Shock coach Bill Laimbeer and Sparks coach Michael Cooper squared off three times in the late ’80s for the NBA title. Laimbeer was one of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys,” while Cooper played for the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers.
The WNBA has been around for seven years. Its teams have yet to form any rivalries, the league has as much parity as in a pickup basketball game and their games struggle to be aired on network television during the dog days of summer. The league’s average attendance hovers around 9,500 per game, leaving most NBA arenas, which seat around 17,000 half empty.
For crying out loud, the league is in such trouble that its biggest star, Lisa Leslie, who is a towering 6-foot-5, can hardly dunk a basketball.
One of the up and coming talents in the league, Cheryl Ford, is known more for her famous father, Karl Malone, than her basketball abilities and the Connecticut Sun play in a casino.
The WUSA and women’s soccer in general is in even more trouble. The Women’s World Cup starts Saturday and millions of soccer fans around the country — and the world for that matter — do not even know the World Cup starts in less than a week.
As much attention as the 1999 World Cup brought to uneducated soccer fans in America, it didn’t even garner the attention of my editor who didn’t know what the heck WUSA stood for.
Soccer is a beautiful game, which I have loved and played since I was four years old, but I would have never known about the Founders Cup, which is awarded to the WUSA league champion, if I was not looking for something to read on ESPN.com late one night.
The problem with the two leagues is that they are trying to survive with their product too spread out. If both leagues contract a couple of teams, improve their visibility to the American public, and not format their game directly from their male counterparts they could make a fan out of not only me but millions of people around the world.
Don’t get me wrong; there are millions of women who are excellent athletes.
There just aren’t any professional leagues fit for them to play in.
Will Brown, 18, is a sophomore broadcast journalism student from Rockledge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.