New Year’s resolutions are a funny thing.
They’re often used as springboards for self-improvement, leaving negativity in the past as we triumphantly declare “New year, new me!” and promise to stick to whatever lofty goals we set until at least the second week in February. I often wonder why it takes until the end of each year for us to set these goals, as if we aren’t allowed to do anything at all on, like, December 30th.
Even so, it’s a fun tradition. As Bill Watterson immortalized in the final strip of Calvin and Hobbes, the new year is a blank slate full of possibilities, and heaven knows 2020 has been scribbled on, crumpled up, ripped at the sides, and is practically begging to be replaced.
So sure, I’ll take part in the festivities. I’ve come up with a few WNBA- and NCAAW-related New Year’s resolutions for myself for 2021. Perhaps they’ll resonate with you, too.
Complain less about WNBA broadcasters
If you know me even a little bit, you probably know that I can be unfairly harsh on basketball broadcasters.
It’s kind of stupid, now that I think about it. I’ll be yelling at my TV about how using raw points per game numbers to evaluate a team’s offense makes no sense if you’re not factoring in pace, as if anyone other than my parents will hear me and say, “Wow, you’re absolutely right, Eric! That’s a revolutionary idea and we will use it to tailor this basketball broadcast to your specific standards!”
It’s nothing personal, I promise. If you’re hired to call a basketball game then you absolutely have the right to disagree with a team choosing to forfeit rather than play on basically no rest and say something along the lines of “It’s not like they were storming the beaches of Normandy” (No, I’m not being dramatic; this actually happened on a Dallas Wings broadcast), just as I have the right to smash that mute button.
But in 2020, WNBA broadcasts were a different level of bad. Remote broadcasting no doubt brings with it some challenges, and I understand that there was no lavish studio setup or stats guy feeding the broadcasters information.
When the broadcasters are constantly mixing up players and butchering their names, though, that’s unacceptable. These games were on CBS Sports Network, which was technically national TV, and it didn’t exactly reflect well on the WNBA that people it was paying to call its games didn’t know who its players were. This is the most basic level of research!
Look, broadcasting is harder than it sounds. I get that. I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, and even if I did, there’d probably be a lot of random people complaining about me on Twitter as well.
Ultimately, there’s nothing I can do about it except be miserable (and usually make others miserable in the process), and that’s just not something I’d like to spend my energy on. I’m leaving broadcast complaints in 2020.
Watch more NCAA mid-majors
Believe it or not, women’s college basketball exists outside of UConn and South Carolina (and occasionally Baylor). And there are some pretty good players and games to be watched outside of those realms, too.
I’ll be honest. I’m not the biggest college basketball buff. I don’t have a specific school I follow (community college and Division III problems), and most of the games I do watch have WNBA-caliber players who will likely be going pro sometime in the future – and most of those are in Power Five conferences.
In solely watching NCAA hoops for WNBA prospects, I realize I’m doing myself a disservice as a basketball fan, because there’s a ton of great basketball being played that doesn’t feature draft-eligible players. The amount of games on at any one time can be overwhelming, yeah, but as an impartial fan there’s an air of novelty surrounding games relegated to ESPN+ (for which a monthly subscription is currently $6) that I’m just not getting from watching UConn steamroll its opponents by 40 points anymore.
It’s not like players from mid-majors never get drafted, either. UT Martin’s Chelsey Perry and Central Michigan’s Micaela Kelly are just a couple names I’m expecting to hear called in the 2021 WNBA Draft.
So off I go into the wild blue yonder, clueless but enthusiastic. If you think I should watch your favorite school’s basketball team, hit me up on Twitter.
Continue expressing my passion for women’s hoops
I feel like New Year’s resolutions focus primarily on things we need to change or things we need to improve upon. Why not resolve to continue healthy behaviors and keep up what we’re already doing a good job of?
Ever the optimist (okay, not really), that’s how I’m choosing to end this piece.
2021 will be my sixth year writing about women’s basketball. While it’s tough to express what exactly the WNBA means to me (I tried my best in this article for Swish Appeal, but even that is just scratching the surface), writing is my way of expressing my passion for women’s hoops, in an indirect way. I honestly have no clue where I’d be without the game of basketball, specifically the women’s side of things; it’s become such a big part of my life and my identity and I can’t imagine who I’d be had I never been introduced to it.
Like I said, it’s hard to explain. I’m not a journalist, I’m just a fan with a keyboard who knows people nice enough to let him ramble about his obsession on their platforms.
So, in 2021, Sports Are From Venus will be the next stop in my journey. I’m thrilled to be here and sincerely hope you’ll enjoy reading my work – and my passion.
“Let’s go exploring!”
Eric Nemchock is a season ticket holder for the Chicago Sky. For more thoughts and opinions from Eric, check out his Twitter, his blog, his author page here, or visit Swish Appeal or Hashtag Basketball.
Image courtesy of the Associated Press.