Mercury Left it All on the Floor in 2013

By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: September 29, 2013

I thought for sure I'd be more upset.

Down in the dumps. Grumpy.

But I wasn't.

I realized, almost immediately, there isn't anything to be disappointed in.

Obviously, we, as fans, want the Mercury to win the WNBA Championship every year. We never want them to lose, never want them to miss a shot.

But more importantly, we watch and support the team because they are the best in the world at their craft. We watch to see these women play their hearts out and give everything they have on the floor each game.

And that's exactly what the Phoenix Mercury did this season.

What more could I possibly ask from them?

In fact, the Phoenix Mercury taught me a few things this year.

They always do.

Admittedly, some are more profound than others.

With each year that passes, I learn increasingly more about the definition of hard work, dedication, character and integrity than anywhere else I"ve ever been.

This year, however, there was one thing I learned that I'll never forget in all aspects of my life: if you're going to try for something " I mean really try " go all the way.

Don't look back.

Make the decision and go for it.

Oh, sure, it could mean sacrificing a few things you originally thought were important. It could lead to an enormous target on your back. It could mean you'd get mocked or ridiculed along the way.

It could even mean people dislike you.

But, in the end, it shows what you're made of. Do it, then, in spite of the odds and adversity that's stacked against you.

Put everything you have into making it work; it makes the end so much more meaningful.

The Mercury did, and that's why I'm writing this article with my head up in spite of the Mercury not advancing to the 2013 WNBA Finals.

From the time Brittney Griner was drafted in April, the Mercury went all-in in every way possible. I love that about the team and organization. Gargantuan expectations were immediately bestowed upon the team, and they never shied away from them.

Rather than run from it or make excuses, the team embraced the challenge and proceeded full-steam ahead.

Having that attitude and mentality makes the journey " no matter how it ends " all the more worthwhile.

Each season, teams will inevitably go through a number of storms. Sometimes the storms come in the form of an injury, coaching change, or in the Mercury's case, both.

The storm will eventually pass, at least for a while. And when it does, each team will be different than they were when they first walked in.

They'll be better, both as players and people.

Writing about a loss is never fun, much less the end to a season. Certainly, the end result is one that I, and many others, certainly didn't see coming.

But that shouldn't take away from how far the Mercury came as a team this year.

In August, when Russ Pennell was brought on as Interim Head Coach, nobody knew what to expect. The season was already in flux, and the ship was off course.

But instead of giving up or complaining, the Mercury dug their heels in and worked even harder. Work, in this case, is when you confront problems or issues that previously would have been easy to avoid.

"I'm proud of our group," Diana Taurasi said following the Game 2 loss. "It was a strange year. It was a little weird. The story didn't end the way we wanted it to but I'm proud of everyone in that locker room, they fought hard. When things were not going our way through the season we worked through it. Everyone was always upbeat and ready to go.

"When they made the coaching change, it could have easily just been a foregone season but we stood with it and I'm happy with the way we fought throughout the season."

There's always next year.

That's the expression, right?

It's a saying you never truly want to use, but ultimately, does provide some comfort no matter how small or insignificant at the time.

In regards to the 2014 Phoenix Mercury, I can't wait.

There is always next year.