The WNBA just days before the start of the 2018 season announced a partnership with six national organizations that primarily work on behalf of girls and women. Its new “Take a Seat, Take a Stand” women and girls empowerment program began last weekend.
With each ticket purchased this season, the WNBA will donate $5 to one of the following six groups of the fans’ choosing: Bright Pink (breast cancer), GLSEN (advocates safe schools for LGBTQ students), It’s On Us (sexual assault awareness), MENTOR (youth mentoring), The United State of Women (women and girls advocacy, and Planned Parenthood.
Additionally, tickets will be donated for young women to attend games. Fans also can have tickets donated directly to one of the aforementioned organizations, or they can choose a local organization in their WNBA city.
“Take a Seat, Take a Stand puts our money where our mouth is,” WNBA President Lisa Borders told the MSR after Sunday’s Minnesota-Los Angeles season opener with an announced sellout crowd of 13,022.
Her league in recent years has taken a lead role in advocacy for various charity and social causes, which Borders described as, “We are not only leading, but leading by example. We want to make sure that it is not just talk, but we are walking the walk.”
“I think that is a big step for us,” Lynx center Sylvia Fowles said of the new initiative. “We have a unique understanding that it is not [just] about us.”
“I think the WNBA always has [done] a good job of pushing…or not shying away from discussions” on social issues, Los Angeles forward-center Candace Parker said last week during a WNBA start-of-season media conference call. She told reporters, including the MSR, that she appreciates the league’s support of inclusion.
“Everybody’s different, but we have to work together,” Parker said.
Minnesota forward Maya Moore, on the same media call, said, “I think we as the WNBA and WNBA players have to take advantage of using our platforms for change.”
Moore and her Lynx teammates have been among the league leaders in this regard. “I feel our league backs you up on what your passion is,” she continued. “I’m looking forward to continuing to use my platforms as an individual player, and I have teammates who feel the same way to make sure we take advantage to give other women opportunities that we were given. We like to be leaders.”
Lynx-Sparks rivalry continues
After opening their pre-rivalry play at 9-24, Minnesota and Los Angeles have gone five games in each of the past two WNBA Finals, with each team winning one title each, the Sparks in 2016 and the Lynx last year. It now has become the W’s standard of excellence that the other 10 teams are striving to reach, and many predict a historic third finals series between these two clubs in September.
With Sunday’s one-point loss to the visiting 2017 runners-up, Minnesota’s post-rivalry record against Los Angeles is now 17-19. (All-time results: Minnesota 26, LA 45.)
“The margin of error for each team – a couple of stops, a possession – is so small that you just appreciate the talent that is on the court and what goes into it,” Moore told the MSR during last Thursday’s media call on the Lynx-Sparks rivalry. “Every game that we play, it feels like a playoff game. You have that championship game feeling every time you play. This is exactly what a rivalry feels like.”
The two teams’ next meeting is June 3 in Los Angeles. “I think the rivalry really adds to our sport,” Parker said
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.