(From the FanPosts)
I was recently sent a link to a well written post from Sarah Tolcser about the annual event that many of us flock to - Fans from across the country come together each year to decide who should reign, who should hold the sacred title - the NBA Dance Bracket. I first of all want to say that I am an opinionated gal and avid voter so yes, I have, am, and will participate in the 2010 voting process. But according to this post, I am helping the demise of professional basketball, promoting chauvinism and sealing the glass ceiling firmly in place (all in one swift click of the mouse...and a spam checkpoint).
The post had some great stats boasting that nearly 40% of NBA fans are female, and yes, I am one of the proud.(Sorry WNBA - maybe when Brittney Griner gets there...) Quite honestly, it's hard to find a good American who hates basketball, gender aside. I am all for equal opportunities and I'm a bandwagon feminist at best, but I love lipstick, push-up bras and hairspray.
I am a woman. I am a dancer. I am an athlete. I am a performer. I've worked hard to get where I am and my dance background is a large part of that. I've studied, smiled and networked myself into a great job and nice paycheck. I think it's great that the NBA is giving the ladies some time in the spotlight. Did you know that the women who grace those pictures are lawyers, mothers, graduate students and therapists? Do you know the level of athleticism it takes to dunk off a trampoline or nail the perfect fouette? These women have succeeded in a fiercely competitive industry and whether you can appreciate it or not, dancing at the professional level is a goal, if not a dream, of many. They work out daily (sometimes twice a day), promote healthy lifestyles, volunteer in the community, read to your children, put on dance clinics, sign autographs and take pictures. They put in hours of practice, work full time jobs, take care of their own children, and attend college.
If you scan the branches of social media, you'll find more links urging you to vote in this year's dance bracket than not. Many of these links posted directly from the dancers themselves! Why, you ask? Because they are proud of themselves and what they do! They are intelligent, talented, beautiful, sexy women and are not afraid to sport hot pants and a bra top. How can we scream equal rights and in the same sentence demand that these amazing women fade into the background?! How dare you even insinuate that they are not worth America's time. I am proud of my fellow dancers and how far they've brought the business. Congratulations on taking pride in your talents and body; eyelashes, rollers, nails and all.
(Note: I fully understand that one's view of professional dance teams may be skewed if they've seen some of the D-League dance teams, but we'll leave that to another post...I don't have the energy to tell you how bad I feel for some of them.)
I do want to commend the League in how far they've come in making the games an "experience". Yes, we go to see some great basketball, but as everyone's wallets get tighter, families and groups of friends are looking for a fun night out and the NBA (and D-League) is a perfect place for that. By incorporating entertainment squads such as dance teams (not cheerleaders), dunk squads, inflatable mascots, promotional games and squads like, a personal favorite, the Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs, the League is ingeniously creating a new fan base. It's no longer so narrow as just basketball. Pervy or not, see how many views an NBA Dance Team YouTube video has....
It's good to know your team/arena has surveyed its fans to see if you like the hot dogs, but c'mon, you are given a survey as a FAN; a fan who eats, drinks, consumes and watches basketball. Are you asking for another page of questions regarding gender, ethnicity, age, medical history, height and weight? My uncle doesn't fit into the arena seats, but he's not blogging about it.
Along those lines, the people in charge of this multi-million dollar industry know a thing or two and pink sells, baby. It started with one pink jersey, then two, then hats, etc... Obviously someone's buying them. Is your game day experience threatened because I wear my pink jersey and heads turn?
I work in the sports industry. I know the trends. I know who my demographic is and I cater to them. I know who is on the fringe and I work to entice them. I know there are more people willing to drop a few bucks on a cute pink top then the few who will drop big for an authentic jersey. I know I am marketing to families, men, women and groups. I know that people who complain about the great entertainment during the breaks in the game aren't as important as the people who can't stop smiling and laughing from the time the doors open to the the time the confetti falls as our guys hit the game winning three. So you're right, maybe I'm not marketing to you.
America, vote. Vote I say.