Souhan: Lynx give suffering fans at least 23 reasons to cheer

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 10, 2011 - 1:27 PM

Following Minnesota's pro and major college sports teams hasn't been all that fun. But the Lynx have changed that, and here is why.

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Over 15,000 fans filled the Target Center to watch Game 1 of the WNBA Finals.

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This is a challenge to every Minnesota sports fan, but it's especially aimed at you, the guy who bought the domain name "Firelesliefrazier.com" before the end of September; who gets so angry at the Twins that he sets fire to his Joe Mauer jersey before remembering to take it off.

Local teams have given us plenty of reasons to complain. But enough about Bernard Berrian.

If you're a Minnesota fan, this week provides a defining choice. You can commiserate with whiners, or you can align yourself with a winner.

Tonight, the Lynx face Atlanta in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals. Here are 23 reasons (in honor of Maya Moore's number) to buy a ticket instead of sitting home scouring WebMD for signs that Mauer has contracted the Black Plague:

1. Nobody with the Lynx complains of bilateral leg weakness. In fact, a few Lynx players competed despite illness on Sunday.

2. Nobody in Lynx management has ever proudly used the word "bifurcate."

3. Watching the Lynx is better than sitting home, online, and sending profane and anonymous messages about the teams and players you hate. Put your money where your modem is, show your face in public and support a championship-caliber team.

4. This might be your last chance to see this team in person. If the Lynx win tonight, they probably will wrap up the series on Friday or Sunday in Atlanta.

5. I hear it all the time from guys -- "Women's basketball is boring," or "They just aren't very athletic." Pay attention. The Lynx play aggressive, up-tempo basketball, and are capable of scoring 100 points in a 40-minute game.

6. You there, the guy who plays pickup ball at Lifetime and thinks he can beat a WNBA player one-on-one: Moore would kick your butt.

7. And Taj McWilliams-Franklin could bench-press you.

8. Lindsay Whalen, after all these years, remains one of the nicest stories in town. She's one of the most influential athletes in state history -- who else could sell out Gophers women's games at Williams Arena? -- and remains a humble and charming competitor.

9. Sure, you could wait 'til next season to buy a ticket, but sports are fickle. This could be your last chance to see this combination of players playing with this level of cohesiveness.

10. Jim Petersen, the former Gophers star and current Timberwolves broadcaster, is an assistant coach. If it's not beneath him to coach these women, how can it be beneath you to watch them?

11. Lynx games have become The Place To Be for celebrities, from Vikings stars to governors and mayors.

12. Lynx fans who attend the games actually seem happy, unlike Wolves and Gophers fans, who seem to think being a fan means screaming at the refs to call traveling.

13. At Twins games, you might catch a foul ball. At a Lynx game, you might catch a heel, as coach Cheryl Reeve stomps along the sideline.

14. When athletes train, they experience a version of "runner's high," a rush of endorphins. What Twin Cities sports fans might have forgotten is that watching a good team provides a spectator's version of that: Winner's high.

15. What do you complain about when you watch pro sports? Selfishness. Egomania. Divisiveness. Entitlement. The Lynx are professionals with the humility and ethic of a good high school or small-college team.

16. Seimone Augustus can beat you in H-O-R-S-E.

17. Lynx players might be the only pro athletes who, when they dance after a victory, don't look like complete idiots.

18. Berrian does not play for the Lynx.

19. The Lynx don't employ an offensive coordinator who keeps the ball away from the best players.

20. Candice Wiggins, unlike Kevin Slowey, doesn't complain when she doesn't start.

21. Two Lynx players, driving in separate cars, have never gotten into a car accident with each other on the way to the airport.

22. Including playoffs, the Lynx are 31-8. Two more victories, and they'd surpass the number of victories the Timberwolves compiled over the past two seasons, covering 164 games.

23. This might be the one sport in which Minnesota can beat Wisconsin.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500ESPN. His Twitter name is Souhanstrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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