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We meet up with part of the team as they make their way through the upper level of Pike Place Market. The players are handing out wrist bracelets and schedules to one and all. Some people react with a “Who are you?” expression, but not too many. It definitely seems like more people recognize the Storm than not. The players talk to shoppers, kids and vendors. Angie notices Katy surreptitiously putting schedules in the clutches of crabs at one of the seafood. She slips away, hoping that the vendor doesn’t notice. He does, but leaves them! Cool. She proceeds to do this at several seafood stalls.

At the Pike Place Fish stall (you know, the fish throwers?), Coach Dunn gets called behind the counter and catches a fish on the first try. Semeka tries to get a “Go Storm” chant going and the black-hearted fish guy nixes it. He then asks if anyone is here to buy fish and gets no answer. The Simple & Sweet vendor, across the aisle from the fish guys, is giving out samples of dried fruit to the players. When Katy shows some interest, he gives her a big bag to share with the team. Remember – Simple & Sweet (we will give free plugs to Storm supporters!).

The highpoint of this part of the event is when Coach Dunn and Semeka get on the pig and start singing “Rocky Top, Tennessee.” Great stuff.

On to Westlake Park. Once there, we meet up with the other half of the team which had been walking down 5th avenue. The event is held next to the fountain. It is festive with a balloon artist, a juggler, the required Starbucks tent, and assorted street personalities. Charmin plays hacky sack with some guys off to the side – she’s not bad. The players roam around the crowd (decent size) signing things, talking, and dancing to the music blaring out of the sound system.

A small girl in a pink jumper attaches herself to Doppler and follows him everywhere, she must think he is Barney’s “dopplerganger.” HA! The two of them start dancing with Simone. The little girl stays with him during the whole event and goes up on the platform while the players are introduced.

Coach starts things off by introducing the “final” roster for 2001. Juana Brown and Andrea Garner were waived on the 25th to get the roster down to this size. Juana was hurt and couldn’t compete for one of the spots. Who knows what she might have been able to do. Andrea was a bit of a surprise (at the time). She showed a lot of improvement during last season, but the center/forward chase was very tight. Time will tell. A man claiming to be Robin Hood keeps interrupting until someone comes and gives him a hat.

Wally Walker and Howard Schultz are in the crowd, along with the rest of the Storm organization. The deputy mayor proclaims Thursday, May 31st, the official Wear Your Storm Hat to Work Day in Seattle, and has way too many “whereas” clauses to the statement. And, wear your hat to work day? What’s up with that? How about Coach Linn Dunn Day, or just Storm Day (although we have way too many storm days as it is in Seattle – HA again). Anyway, it is a nice gesture.

Everyone is smiles. Free hats (for Hat Day apparently) are handed out and there is a mini hat feeding frenzy for a few minutes. The players mingle a bit more and then pile into minivans and are whisked away. Yet another cool fan event.