A lot of work happens behind the scenes to make Minnesota Lynx games happen.
As the Minnesota Lynx claimed a win against the Chicago Sky on Wednesday, Jusly 6, the early morning effort of the behind-the-scenes operations team also resulted in a triumph.
Basketball communications coordinator Laura Topp had been working since 6 a.m. to prepare for the early game, knowing the noon tip-off shifts everything about the schedule earlier in the day.
The earlier time made it harder to prepare, but Topp knew that the younger crowd of kids would amp up their players. Head coach Cheryl Reeve knew the early start would affect both night owls and morning birds alike.
“What’s a little bit different from routine, they’ll find their way,” Reeve said. “And they found it as they prepared for the game.”
Topp was not the only person up and running in the early morning hours. Carley Knox, the president of the Lynx business operations, had been working the morning rush, from making sure the kids arrived at the stadium to preparing a Timberwolves press conference to reviewing reports from the sales and service team.
“I make sure everything runs smoothly upstairs, and make sure all the kids get in on time for the game and are safe and seated,” Knox said.
Throughout the game, the kids in the stadium were ecstatic. The crowd exceeded the standard attendance levels, with roughly 11,000 people at the Wednesday game. From appearing on the big screen to screaming at the top of their lungs, the kids brought the party with them.
The pregame efforts were geared toward a light-hearted experience for the kids, but they also paid off in more meaningful ways. Knox believes it’s important that younger generations get to experience the impact of equality in sports.
“We’re helping to raise the next generation of enlightened girls and boys, and those kids are going to go and be our future leaders and really impact change.”
This encouraging attitude was also present in the coach and the Lynx team.
Reeve said, “Understanding that women are equal to men and that this opportunity is the same when playing a professional sport normalizes what you see in your lives at such a young age.”
Though the early gameday start adjusted preparations, the process wasn’t anything the Lynx couldn’t handle. The morning rush, the night owls, the shifted schedules, it all paid off in the end.
The energy in the stadium was outstanding and uplifted everyone who made the experience possible. The hope is to continue impacting and inspiring kids.
This story was produced in partnership with the Minnesota Lynx and Star Tribune Junior Reporter program, which brought five ThreeSixty Journalism students attending the Sports Reporting Workshop students courtside on gameday.