Maternal instincts overheat when the media criticizes Thunder

Here's a sampling of how basketball players connect with the public, particularly some women who might not be die-hard sports fans, but become die-hard fans of Kevin, Russell, James and “our boys.”
by Berry Tramel Published: July 2, 2012
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Another female reader, Carole: “I loved your 'our boys' column - it is SO TRUE! Exactly what I've been thinking and feeling. Russell, James, Kevin, Serge - those are my kids! I totally love them and think of them like they are MINE. Perk, Nick (my favorite in the player category) and Derek (whom I liked for years and hope somehow will stay), those are the guys/men of the Thunder. And Thabo, well, Thabo…him I just lust after. Yesterday morning at work we were having our weekly team meeting and the guys were sitting there talking about trades to 'enhance' the Thunder. I was like 'HOW can you guys talk like this? This is our family, they are each other's family.' It truly broke my heart. The guys were like 'so?'”

Wait ‘til the payroll cap starts forcing people's hands.

Tom: “I'm thinking you sportswriters never thought about a bunch of women getting mad at you for writing tough critiques on the Thunder and the team. Coach Brooks better not let these women hear him in the locker room after a loss. Or him and the other coaches when they review game film and every play of a game that a Thunder player messed up. I'm sure they don't use 'snot' but rather another word that begins and ends with the same letters.”

Interesting point. Scotty Brooks doesn't do much railing on his troops. What if the Thunder had a yeller as coach? Might not go over too well.

Katy: “After reading your column, I have a few observations. As a woman who grew up with all brothers and then raised all boys, I have been a sports fan all of my life. I had my own subscription to Sport Illustrated as a single girl out of college and read every issue. Now, my kids are grown and moved out. I still read the sports page, watch Sports Center & PTI.

“Most of my female friends (1) have no interest in sports, (2) have a casual interest in sports, often dictated by what the husband/boyfriend is following, or (3) have interest only in what their children are involved in. It is more than extremely rare to find a female who actually enjoys watching a college or pro football game just because it's football. Even more rare to find a female who knows offsides from a false start. These rare qualities apply to basketball, baseball, golf, or just about any sport dominated by male participation.

“So, just like a woman, I'm finally getting to the point. My guess is that most of the motherly Thunder fans you are hearing from are new to NBA basketball. They are in it for the personal attachments to specific players. They probably have no interest in matchups nor recognize zone or man-to-man. They are not truly sports fans. They are personality fans. They do not read Sports Illustrated but would read an NBA version of People Magazine. And that percentage might surprise us both.”

Let me clear the air a little. What Katy says is true, about new-to-the-game Thunder fans. But not all of them are women. There are some new Thunder male fans that are slow to figuring out this NBA stuff. The difference is, there's little maternal instinct there. The maternal side - the “our boys” - is a female phenomenon.

Carol: “What a fun article. You nailed it. Those are our boys. Most of us 'Thunder Grans' didn't care anything about the NBA. In fact, we thought they were all a bunch of thugs until Chris Paul arrived in town. Now, we want to have them all over for Sunday dinner! You covered the subject very well. The only thing you forgot to mention is how much we would like to be represented at the exit interviews.

“You know, kind of like sending our boys off to summer camp. We need an opportunity to remind them to stay out of night clubs, read a good book, go to church, get lots of rest, and ignore those 'groupie' girls who, well, you know.”

Uh, Carol, the Thunder does have a decent group of guys. But your illusions will be shattered if you really want them to stay out of clubs and stay away from girls.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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