Sky had just won her first WNBA title on Sunday afternoon, scraps were flying at the Wintrust Arena and the TV presenter was furious with excitement.
“Give me these two!” ESPN’s Holly Rowe cheerfully yelled into her microphone. “Where’s the couple?”
She was talking, of course, about Sky’s dynamic rear-area duo of Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot. They have been married in Seattle for nearly two years and own a home in Deerfield, with two dogs and a pool. Team members come for barbecue and recreation. Vandersloot keeps the yard, and life is quiet and natural.
In many ways, they are old-fashioned suburban Americans, married, hard-working, trying to avoid stress, succeed in their jobs, and take advantage of all the freedoms and opportunities this country claims to believe in.
But the simple fact of being two professional athletes married to one another, with all the societal, political, and practical issues it can raise, is an elephant in the room that will just sit there silently until it drifts away from understanding and, finally, irrelevant.
Roe looked at Quigley.
“You’re getting passes from your wife! I shouted.
In all honesty. Quigley scored 26 points in Sky’s 80-74 victory in Game 4, and Vandersloot scored 15 assists. Often they worked synchronously, with the elusive Vandersloot setting Quigley and his other teammates for triples by penetrating and drawing in two or more defenders for just a moment. Her basketball IQ is a genius level.
Deadeye Quigley shooter led Team Sky in scoring in the Finals, averaging 18 points. Vandersloot has had the most assists in WNBA post-season history (102) and Finals (50). She is the first person to have a double-digit assist in four consecutive Finals. She was directly involved in 46.4% of Sky’s goals in the Finals.
Why it wasn’t chosen – or perhaps Quigley – Finals MVP is a mystery to this observer.
Did not matter. In a divided America, where personal choice and freedom in relationships and lifestyles are nominally welcomed, there is also a feeling that this freedom should be summed up in the old, hard-line morals: “Freedom, yes. But we don’t mean that. ”
It’s a fact that the starting guard group on the top US women’s basketball team is gay, out of the house and married. A generation or so ago, this was shameful, if not impossible. It is very likely that it is out of the question.
currently? If you draw the boundaries of sexual and gender progressive norms, you cannot, for example, be a fan of the WNBA.
The league is full of lesbian players, many of whom are superstars.
Mercury’s Britney Greiner and Diana Torassi, perhaps the greatest statistical player in women’s history, are gay and married to women. Greiner was briefly married to co-star Glory Johnson and is now married to Cheryl Watson.
Torassi is married to former teammate and current Mercury team manager Penny Taylor. Taylor gave birth to the couple’s second child, a girl, just as the finals began. They already have a 3-year-old son, Leo Taurasi Taylor.
Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner is married to former co-star Candice Dupree. They had twin daughters. Then there’s the TV game analyst who handled the series, the gorgeous and still active Sue Bird, who addresses soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Between them, they won seven Olympic gold medals.
So this is the new world. A generation ago, a politician who supported same-sex marriage could not be elected. Now the filter is much needed.
However, the evolving issue of sexual and gender freedom is riddled with booby traps. For example, interesting comedian Dave Chappelle, a black man who was able to hilariously joke about everything and everyone, may have met his match when he was stalking the transgender community in his latest special on Netflix, ‘The Closer’. It originated from LGBTQ activists and media monitoring group GLAAD.
People comment on gender and sexual preferences at their own risk. It was very nice to ask Roe, who has cancer and is a single mother with an adult son, about the Sky duo. She has credentials that ask, quite frankly, what a random male sports writer might not be able to do.
The equation is simple, really: you love the sky, you love the players. You love change.
After all, it is the dancers who make the beautiful dance.