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Holding an Audience

I learned a lesson from the 03-04 Mariners about sports and my interest in them.

I have always been, and will always remain a fan of NBA Basketball and watch it religiously. However between 1996 and 2003 I came to consider myself a fan of the Mariners and MLB as well. I watched the games, went to a few each year, and generally followed the team.

Then comes the disaster that is 03-04. Terrible ball, personality conflicts, bad entertainment all around. It was at that moment that I realized that there is a difference between being a fan of winning and a fan of sports. I loved the Mariners win streaks. I loved the moments of contention and the highlights. I have never loved 3 hour games and Ron Fairly. In general I now realize that I can't stand baseball. It was the winning I liked.

I find myself wondering whether the 05-06 Seattle Storm (and for that matter the future Washington Huskies teams) will find it easy to retain the fan base they built last year. Personally I became a huge fan during their championship run. It was easy to watch, easy to get attached to the team, and its almost always fun to see a team with your city's name on the jersey win. Throughout the city Storm fans like myself were coming out of the woodwork talking about the team, watching them in bars, and generally considering themselves fans.

Will those same fans share the passion for regular season womens basketball that they did for the playoff run? During the ups and downs of a regular season will they lose the momentum they had built?

The answer to those questions will tell me a lot about the future of womens professional basketball and about the Basketball Club of Seattle. Although Howard Schultz and his group have always claimed huge lossed with the Sonics there has long beens suspicion that a great percentage of those losses are the result of propping up a WNBA team that cannot support itself. A great season revenue wise for the Storm could have an influence on the BCOS's ability to support and field a winner in the WNBA.

Personally I haven't watched a Storm game yet. I want to, but just keep putting it off. I hope its a sign of my own laziness and not the general fan malaise.