Sunday, August 06, 2006

Letter to the Editor

It is not like I am blowing my cover here. Internet screen names range the gamut, but mine is pretty simple...I go by first initial last name pretty much everywhere. I started on message boards when I was in middle school (ok I'm a geek, but hey geeks are kinda cool now) and I have had that handle since then...why go all MI6 and all?

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Seattle Times. It was way too long, about 3x the 200 word maximum, and I neglected to include the required information like home address to prove that I wasn't just a spammer of LOE's.

Fortunately, someone decided that what I had to say was worth the time to do a little editing, and, frankly, they did a dang fine job. While they may have cut the "heart" out by eliminating the story about the young girl, they got right to the point in the allotted number of words by cutting the extraneous. You have to love a good editor. I might actually be able to be a writer (a long gurgitating dream of mine) if I had a good editor roaming around in my mind. I can edit others work just fine, but I am too tied to my own brain to touch my own work. My brain just does rewrites, which is simply not the same as a good edit.

Since I have digressed once more...I will get back to the point and drop the full text of my letter to the times for your perusal, with the polite but urgent request that more people take the opportunity to express yourself to the publication of choice in your locality regarding this issue. It is important for all our voices to be heard...take advantage of the open invitation from these respected publications. I guess I should subscribe to the Times again...I keep killing my subscription because of the massive amount of paper production...which part of my ethos do I listen to on this issue?

I am disappointed in the earlier comments on the cultural value of basketball in Seattle made by Seattle City Council president Nick Licata. His follow-up "apology" and subsequent interviews on radio have only led to further disappointment. It is a shame that a person who has "maybe" been to one basketball game believes that he has enough information to make informed decisions regarding the value that professional basketball brings to our community.

I am a season ticket holder to the Seattle Sonics and to the Seattle Storm. I have seen first hand how energized the community is when the teams are winning. I was at the playoffs when the Sonics took the Spurs to a game six two years ago. I was at the WNBA finals when the Storm won the first professional sports championship this city has seen since the Sonics won the NBA title in the 1970's. Basketball is the only sport to bring a title to this city, and it has done it twice, once with each team.

The real impact was crystalized for me at a recent home loss the Storm suffered at the hands of the LA Sparks. An eleven or twelve year old girl was sitting next to me at this particular game. She didn't seem to know much about basketball, as she asked me a number of questions. Despite this lack of information, she was completely enthralled by the spectacle in front of her. She cheered and screamed in joy when the Storm were making a push, she was dejected when the Sparks pushed back. As the Storm brought the game to the final seconds with a chance to tie, she was so excited that she could barely contain herself. She was jumping up and down in place, hands clenched to her chest and teeth clenched…finally screaming, "This is the BEST!" This girl may never play basketball at any level. The game, however, gave her the opportunity to see grown women, professionals, doing something they love and being adored for it. The joy the moment gave her was sweet, but realizing the spark of an idea, of a dream for her future that was likely spawned as she watched these women fight for a victory, that was immeasurable. Excitement, hope and unforseen opportunities appear in the minds and hearts of our youth as they see others achieving what some said would never be possible. This is something we as a community can never put a price tag on.

I agree with Mr. Licata on one point only. Basketball alone does not make Seattle a world class city. The amazing diversity of our region and the opportunities it offers all of us to experience is what makes it a world class city. Professional basketball is one of those elements. There are only 14 cities in this country that offer young women a chance to see professional women's basketball. Seattle offers among the top five of those in terms of revenue and attendance. Our high schools and Universities are starting to produce some of the best basketball players in the country. This is the result of the opportunities shown to children in our region by having professional teams in our city.

Mr. Licata and every public or private individual responsible for deciding whether there is cultural value brought to our region is failing in their civic duty if they do not attend a game of the Seattle Storm this year to see what it means to the children who attend these games. Studies of economic impacts on paper mean far less than seeing the spark of an idea in the eyes of one 12 year old girl.

I am still waiting for word for the mystical sages of Drive Savers Data Recovery, Inc. who have my dead hard drive. They restored every bit of my last failure, so I am hoping for good news tomorrow. Someday my lack of backup discipline won't require me to fork out the funds required to recover lost data every couple of years.

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