It’s been nine years since they first came to Oklahoma, but the OKC Thunder basketball team continues to gain and retain loyal fans. You can’t drive anywhere in the city without seeing at least one Thunder flag, painted window, or billboard. Tiny humans wearing Thunder jerseys sit in nearly every classroom. And a collection of gameday programs and ticket stubs fill the junk drawers of residents across the metro.
Does this sound familiar?
I’m talking to my fellow moms, especially. While there are hundreds of reasons why you should jump on the basketball bandwagon, here are the top 10 reasons moms should love the OKC Thunder.
10. Steven Adams
No explanation needed.
9. Dressing up (and down) is easier
Not only are orange and blue some really great statement colors to spice up your gameday wardrobe, but it’s never been easier to get away with dressing down. If your hair is a disaster, you can throw on a baseball cap and people will silently appreciate your Thunder support. Want to wear a T-shirt to that event you’ve got coming up? Make it a Thunder one, and no one will judge. (Disclaimer: if you’re going to Seattle for vacation, leave those shirts at home.)
8. Small talk is even easier
Ever been in a situation where awkward silence permeates the room? Break out some of that Thunder talk – it works like a charm. Consider these examples: In an elevator with strangers – “How about that game last night?” Waiting for the rest of your team to join a meeting and trapped with the guy from accounting you chewed out last week – “Westbrook is not a human, am I right?”
7. Coping with change isn’t so hard anymore
If you’re like me, change is difficult. But the truth is, it’s akin to death and taxes – unavoidable. When you become a Thunder fan, you inevitably select favorite players and cheer them on from your couch. You get attached, you buy a jersey, and then one day that dreaded thing happens: trade. Just like that, they’re gone. You didn’t even get to say goodbye. You shed a few tears, hang your jerseys in the closet, and get to know the new players. It’s a reminder that even though change is hard, it’s necessary and, sometimes, it’s for the better.
6. Date night options are endless
Have you been to Republic Gastropub? What about any of those hipster places downtown? Have you eaten the actual whiskey cake at Whiskey cake? Have you experienced all the dogs at Bleu Garten? Friends, these places (and many more like them) have two things in common: they are OKC gems, and they are great spots to watch Thunder games. If your significant other is a basketball fan and you become one too… just think of the date night possibilities you’ve added.
5. Important lessons on defeat can be learned
We’ve all experienced the pain of defeat. And when our kids lose at something, we see in their eyes how much it stings. There are plenty of active (read: heated) debates about the “trophy generation” we are apparently part of, but being a Thunder fan can help children understand that you don’t always win. And that’s okay. When OKC went to the national finals in 2012, they were only three games away from winning it all. That loss certainly stung. But, the team bounced back and the Chesapeake Arena continues to sell out for each and every game. It’s a lesson in determination and defeat you can feel proud to teach your kids.
4. They built this city
Okay so they didn’t technically build this city. It was first settled 128 years ago. But, you have to admit that this team has done a lot for Oklahoma. We’re no longer seen as a teepee-living, cow-riding pit in the middle of nowhere. We’re a city with potential, promise, and reasons to be proud. When things like tornadoes and other natural disasters tear us apart, we stick together, and we remain strong. I like to think this little basketball team has helped with that.
3. They give back
There are countless examples of how the Oklahoma City Thunder organization has given back to our community. Players spend time reading with children on the book bus or in schools, playing bingo at nursing homes, building basketball courts, shopping for families in need, and helping rebuild after storms. Even if you don’t like basketball (or sports at all), you have to respect all the team has done for the city we call home. As cheesy as it may seem, they represent hope for a lot of families.
2. Your kids can look up to them
In today’s world, it’s not easy to find role models for our children. At least, role models who wear appropriate clothing and carry themselves with decency. For as long as time has existed, sports figures have been icons for young children all over the globe, and the OKC Thunder players are no exception. Take Russell Westbrook for example. If your child has a poster of #0 in his room, that’s a win! He’s strong, determined, and he doesn’t give up. He encourages his teammates, he gets to practice early, and he embraces his quirks. I don’t know about you, but these are characteristics I’d love for my son to mimic.
1. Women deserve to be heard
As someone who also writes about the NBA, I can’t count the number of times I’ve jumped in on a water cooler conversation about basketball only to have men stop, stare, and walk away. Because women don’t know sports, right? Wrong! Why on earth would we be incapable of knowing the ins and outs of a sports team just because we lack a Y chromosome? The more women who love the Thunder – and speak about it! – the more we can prove that we know what we’re talking about. Moms, you’re allowed to talk about sports. You’re allowed to be right. And you’re allowed to tell the guys when they’re wrong. Because let’s face it – they usually are.
Are you an OKC Thunder fan? Share your reasons in the comments!