Why Can't Indianapolis Support the Indiana Fever?

What do you want, Indiana? What's it going to take for our state, or at least our city, to support a professional women's basketball team? I've taken my family to four different games this year, thanks to some free ticket love from my new BFF Julie Graue, the VP of Business Operations of the Fever.

My family are Fever fans through and through. As the father of two little girls, I want them to have athletes they can look up to as role models. Hell, as the father of three kids, I want my kids to have positive role models regardless of gender and sports.

We love the Fever because they play clean, they don't get arrested, and they don't start brawls with fans in the stands, unlike some local Men-B-A teams I could name.

And unlike our Pacers, they're actually in the finals this year. I haven't seen the Pacers in the finals since Shaq and Kobe were still on speaking terms.

Tonight, the stands are full, so I brought my family to the local Buffalo Wild Wings just a mile from our house to watch the game. We're in Indianapolis (well, Fishers), it's game three of the WNBA finals, and with just a few minutes to go in the game, you'd think we'd be listening to the audio of the game, right?


We're listening to the Dallas-Denver game, a game between two teams that, if I got in my car now, would take me two days to reach.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a football freak and I would watch this game mostly because I don't like Dallas, and would love to see anyone stomp them. But we're missing a local professional team in their championship only because they're women?

I won't go into why I think Buffalo Wild Wing should support their local teams, but I do think it's pretty poor community relations on the part of the Buffalo Wild Wings, especially if they expect to be supported by their local community.

And I'm actually not surprised by this either. This is the same kind of attitude I've seen in the city. We expect the Simons to pay for a sports team and yet we don't come out and support them. We're proud of the Fever as a city, and yet it took Larry Bird buying the entire upper balcony of seats and giving them away for free to get people to come out for Game 3 of the Division Championships.

Are we that apathetic as a city about anyone who doesn't play football or men's basketball that we can't support them? Even the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians (another personal favorite) gets more publicity and community respect than the Fever.

There has been talk that the Fever may not even be here next season. And if that happens, I hope the Fever can go out on top, with a WNBA Championship and rub it in the faces of the city that turned their backs on them.

I've been to games where the entire upper level was nearly empty, where there were more empty seats in the lower section than there were people. We need people to get excited about the team, and to actually sink just a few bucks into a game. Hell, you can get $4 tickets on some nights, $8 on other nights. Twelve bucks will get you on the lower section if you go on the right nights.

If the Simons are able to keep the team in the city next year, take one night — just one night — and go to a game. Don't ignore them, thinking they'll never shut them down or sell them. Don't stay home, thinking someone else will fill your seat. We can't even get our local restaurants to support them during the finals, so it's going to be up to the rest of us to do it.

And I'll continue to support local restaurants who support their local teams. All their local teams.

UPDATE: The Fever just won their game, 86-85, and the entire crowd cheered for the results. So I asked the manager about it, to see if he realized that he might have made a small error in judgment. He said that while he "supports the local team," he felt he had to bow to the wishes of the Cowboys and Broncos fan who were sitting in the bar and wanted to watch that game. He was worried that the Cowboys and Broncos fans would be upset that they switched the game over to the basketball game, yet there were more people sitting in the restaurant area, and we were all cheering for the Fever.

Whatever, dude. You might have the game on on Tuesday Wednesday night, since there are no football games on, but that seems a bit fair-weather-fannish.

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