Our View: Inspire area youths with Lynx tickets
More than half of the seats in the Mayo Civic Center have been sold for Sunday's Minnesota Lynx exhibition game against the Washington Mystics. Aside from a smattering of individual seats on the lower level, balcony tickets are what's left, which is a good sign for those of us paying attention to the fact that the Timberwolves organization is watching Rochester's response to this game closely.
While Rochester gets closer to meeting Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve's challenge of selling out the Civic Center's 5,000 seats, we want to remind people that Sunday's game is more than a chance for Rochester to prove its ability to pack an arena. It's a moment with emulation-worthy female athletes at the center of attention — a way to help inspire our community's young ladies to move through every aspect of the world with as much confidence as their male counterparts.
Lilly Meister, a sixth-grade player with the Rochester Community Youth Basketball Association's John Marshall Rockets team, hopes to show up with her entire team. "It's really cool because usually guys are more noticed," she said of the Lynx squad, which moves through the world collecting championships and Olympic gold medals.
Normally a Timberwolves fan, Meister has been watching YouTube videos of gold-medal Olympian and five-time WNBA All-Star and Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen for a while now. In 2013, she became the WNBA's second player to ever rack up 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds.
Another of Meister's favorites is Lynx forward Maya Moore, who was drafted in the first round to the Lynx in 2011 and became the first female basketball player to sign with Jordan Brand that same year. In 2012, she helped the U.S. women's basketball team secure an Olympic gold medal.
"I just like how she plays," said Meister, an offensive player herself.
Both Moore and Whalen will join fellow Lynx players Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles on the 2016 US Olympic women's basketball team roster.
Locally, the opportunities for inspiration start Saturday; a basketball clinic with Lynx players will give boys and girls in grades 3 to 8 a chance to learn from the best. Later, a coaches clinic will provide information about nutrition and strategy. The coaching clinic is free, but the youth clinic basketball clinic, which includes a ticket to see the Lynx in action, costs $60 for those who haven't already registered.
"It's kind of cool that they come to Rochester because not a lot of stuff happens here," Meister said.
While we would argue that there are many activities available in the city and region, we also must agree with Meister that the Lynx's visit is cool. Other things may happen here, but this is a unique opportunity to see some inspiring role models in action, while also demonstrating support of new, family-friendly entertainment opportunities.
Upper row seats go for just $11 to $15 — a trivial price to inspire someone young.
We encourage anyone to snatch up the remaining tickets and pass them out to someone who might find inspiration from the accomplished women playing their hearts out on the hardwood below.