Jason Toney, currently of CBS Interactive, and previously of AXS/AEG, Disney Interactive, and Bunim-Murray Productions, is all about digital media. He's held site and content production roles and is presently most interested in data-driven strategy work. This is his personal blog. Yeah, he still does that on occasion.

Sparkle City

"Let my cheer be my guide." - Shuggie Otis, Sparkle City

This shot ruined my Monday night.

It also was the end of the best game I saw all season and the end of the 2013 run for my Los Angeles Sparks.

Yes, my LA Sparks. I've long enjoyed women's basketball. From their dream team to the launch of the WNBA and those amazing nike commercials...

 

...from Dawn Staley and Cynthia Cooper to those epic UCONN/Tennessee battles. I just love basketball and the women's game has always been apart of that.

On TV anyway.

This year, though, Tiffany and I have been even more basketball obsessed. We watched as much basketball during the Summer Olympics as we could. We picked up NBA League Pass and went to several Clippers games. Both the men's and women's NCAA tournaments were outstanding this year and the NBA Playoffs were fan-tastic as the tagline used to say.

We also attended Sparks games. Initially, the goal was to catch The 3 to See and maybe catch Angel McCoughtry (one of my favorite players) and our friend's beloved Lynx but after the first game, we were hooked and Tiffany got a half-season package on the spot.

Being in the arena for these games is infectious. You're close to the action. The Sparks play great music. You see passionate fans and newbies surprised by how fun it is. The crowd is an interesting mix of folks, many of whom, I'm sure appreciate being able to attend a professional sports game at a reasonable price and not be in the nosebleeds.

It's one of the only entertainment experiences I've ever been to where women aren't sexualized. There's no sense of "the male gaze" at a WNBA game. This is about strength and skill and competition. Winning is what matters. Passion.

I have friends that snark on the Sparks as "Team Ponytail" but nobody is trying to look cute on the court. The players are stunning as athletes tend to be but I remark on pretty shots and killer crossovers not faces and outfits.

We ended up seeing almost all of The Sparks home games live and watched several on TV. TWC Sportsnet does a wonderful job of covering the team with respect for the sport and it's players. They get the same treatment the Lakers do.

And as Brittney Griner's shot fell and ended the Sparks quest for a championship, I was crestfallen. Almost as broken hearted as I was when Michael Jordan hit that damn shot in the Finals over my Lakers and I knew they had no shot at winning a title that year.

But, there's always next year. And while the Sparks didn't win that game, they won us over. I've got shirts and schwag and a 2014  season ticket right behind the team bench.

Welcome to Sparkle City. Thank you for a great season.

Let's go Sparks!

 

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