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Angie and I moved into our house the day before this event. We pulled two all-nighters in the four days leading up to our move. We are exhausted, still need to paint, unpack, calm down our cats and try to get some decent sleep. But, we have priorities - Storm priorities.

We get to the event a few minutes late and miss the initial player introductions. I actually dropped Angie off at the Space Needle so that she could go on ahead while I went to try and find parking, so I ended up missing about the first 10 minutes or so. As I round the corner to the Mural Ampitheater, I am fairly astounded at the number of people in attendance. The crowd is huge (for a preseason Storm event). I would estimate 250 people or so. The weather is typical Seattle spring - overcast, windy, cold and threatening to rain - so it may not be a good thing that the event is outside. I talk to Karen Bryant later and she said that they had hoped that having the event here would draw in more passersby just because of the stage, music and activity. It is a weather gamble, but it pays off.

The Storm Danceteam did a quick routine, and then Michelle Marciniak, who was co-emceeing with Semeka Randall, picked out 4 Danceteamers for "something special." She claimed that last year there was a rookie initiation (that she of course missed out on) in which the rookie along with a couple fans had to follow the moves of one of the danceteamers. After the rookies introduced themselves (Lucienne, Sue, Felicia, and Takeisha), the dance off began.

Felicia went first with Semeka providing the play-by-play. Sue went next - you would think an athlete would be more coordinated. Takeisha was next and definitely had more enthusiasm for the contest. Lucienne was last. The Danceteamer ended her routine by holding her leg up to her head and grasping her arms underneath. Lu looked like there was no way, but then she mostly did it. They all four came back for a final dance off to let the fans pick the winner - Takeisha Lewis. Semeka and some of the other players, Doppler and more kids joined in. Simone was coaxed down off the stage, but didn't look like she wanted to dance. Simone pass up a chance to dance? Is she injured?

After the dancing, the vets introduced themselves. Sonja come up and said that she hadn't played in Israel this year, but stayed in her house in Portland, OR. Jamie came up and had some wild hair going on. It looked like it had a mind of its own. She said that in case anyone was wondering about her hair, Coach yelled at her this morning and she hasn't quite recovered yet (major laugh from the crowd). Quacy said that she was happy to be back. Simone had a great time in Israel and is glad to be back safe in Seattle. Charmin said hello.

John Curley came up to start a brief fan Q&A and made a couple of cracks about the players needing to apologize for their dancing. The questions ranged from "Why do you play basketball?" (because they can't dance) to "What teams do you like to play?" (Michelle answered "LA"). Sue was asked about her two favorite games so far, and she answered the two National Championships. Someone asked Charmin about Edna Campbell. Edna was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment, and will probably not play this year. Charmin said that Edna has received a lot of emails from Storm fans through the Monarchs website and she is very appreciative of the support. Another fan brought up the Diva issue and Michelle said that all her teammates have her back. A little girl asked the players if they have brothers or sisters. John went down the line, and got a variety of answers, including "What was the question?" from Jamie Redd.

John delivered the "Welcome Sue Bird" banner that fans had signed, and said that it is the same size as her contract (unfortunately not). He then handed out some fan packs and prizes. The last question was from a little boy, "Why do they have wrong answers?" John said that they do it to make the rest of us feel okay. Then the boy asked "Why do they play bad basketball?" John said that it's to make the other team feel good about themselves.

Jamie came up and pitched the 4-game ticket packages to anyone who didn't have tickets. She said they would take Visa, Mastercard, food stamps... (Karen Bryant put her head into her hands). A bunch of people got up and headed over to the ticket tent. A marching band came up and graced us with a little "Louie Louie" while the players headed out into the crowd for autographs.

Angie and I have a tradition where we get one of the "Defense" signs that are handed out during the games signed by as many Storm people that we can, including the training camp players. So, while Angie made the autograph rounds, I took some photos. The Sister Guitar Band came up and played the two songs they debuted at the Preseason Q&A.

Sue was surrounded pretty quickly, but all of the players were signing autographs pretty steadily. Because it was fairly cold and the players weren't really dressed for it, the Storm wrapped things up early. Only Felicia Ragland and Simone were prepared for the weather - Felicia was wearing gloves and Simone was in a parka. Everyone else was just in t-shirts.

I have to give it to the Storm. This event was much better than last year's Fan Fest - it was more fun and other than being cold it seemed the players enjoyed themselves more too. We just hated missing the first part of it.

 

 

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