Ask any Chicagoan, and they’ll tell you summertime Chi is the season of Wrigleyville debauchery and long afternoons at Sox Park.
But let’s be honest: those get pricey. You’ve got room in your heart for one more Chicago sports team this summer, I just know you do. And friends: It’s gotta be the Sky.
With the recent move of Chicago’s WNBA team from the ‘burbs to downtown, there’s no longer an excuse for deferring fandom. While the Sky played its first 11 seasons at Allstate Arena—a veritable pain in the ass for carless urbanites to get to—they’re now a month into their residency at Wintrust Arena in South Loop. That’s a stone’s throw from downtown, Museum Campus, and two major train lines. And as your fellow lazy sports fan who mostly just likes drinking at games, I think it’s about time we all got into the Sky.
Your first incentive: watching live hoops without breaking the bank. Sky games are an accessible option for those who feel going to Wrigley or the United Center is too much of a “thing.” Last-minute tickets for Sky games start at $13 (compared to $37 for the next Cubs game), and that’s for an arena less than half the size of the United Center—meaning you’re up close and personal with the action. Plus, it’s a five-minute walk from the Green Line and ten from the Red and Orange Lines. Boom! Easy.
Secondly: How fun are the WNBA team names? The Sky, the Sun, the Storm, the Sparks, the Dream. They’re broad, worldly concepts, all-powerful in their vastness. (Never mind the Minnesota Lynx.)
Poetry aside, the WNBA’s relative newness makes for team names and brands that aren’t wracked with offensive slights. There’s no Chief Wahoo, no Washington Redskins, no tomahawk chop—just larger-than-life concepts.
Speaking of America’s least problematic league: The WNBA is, like, super gay. Which rules! It’s Pride Month, after all.
Are the Sky crushing it this season? No. Ten games in, the team is second to last in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve lost four of their five latest games.
But honestly, who cares? Without naming names, Chicago is used to rooting for losing teams.
Why? Because being a fan is fun. We mortal non-athletes long to admire those whose physical talents so wildly exceed our own. Fandom, I’d argue, is rooted in the fantasy of overcoming our own deficits. And in case there are any men out there who think they’re by default superior athletes to WNBA players: No.
This Gabby Williams bounce pass is amazing! pic.twitter.com/UkRfydLak5— SB Nation (@SBNation) June 13, 2018
I hopefully don’t need to make an argument as to why women’s sports are worth your time. Basketball is objectively fun to watch—fast, sweaty, easy to understand, and the only place you’ll find 72-point-font humans traversing a court in three steps. There is quite literally no reason for fans to discount a league based on its players’ gender other than straight-up sexism. And let’s be honest: That old rote, dishonest argument against women’s sports—“the games are boring”—is made overwhelmingly by men without a shred of the athletic prowess WNBA players possess. If you can’t get past that, well, gross. That’s on you.
I’ve written about my reservations with the Cubs these days, but no one’s asking you to ditch baseball for the WNBA altogether. All I’m suggesting is that with another home team in the city—playing in a nice, brand-new stadium—our summertime sports options have expanded. Let’s take advantage and get onboard with—wait for it—Summertime Sky.