October 2013 will resonate deeply with Minnesota Lynx fans, who will remember the month for the journey to reach a second WNBA championship.
Sweeping the Atlanta Dream in three games to win back the trophy, Minnesota's festivities included a team picture with Governor Mark Dayton, but the most energetic function was the parade and rally held in downtown Minneapolis.
The parade followed the same route as two years ago, with the entry list starting at 12th Street and Nicollet Mall. Team personnel were escorted to the garage entrance of Target Center, located on 7th Street, where they disengaged from their cars and prepared for their last salute in the building where they won 15 of their 26 regular season victories.
The method of transportation was far more stylish than 2011. Most participants got rides in vintage convertibles. Head coach Cheryl Reeve waved to fans in a classic blue and white Buick, while a pink Cadillac was the manufacturer of choice for Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville, as well as Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore, who rode the back of the field with the championship trophy.
Cosmetic upgrades were also installed for the Target Center portion of the ceremony. Two years ago, Lynx players got on stage behind a curtain on the right exit. In this instance, the coaches and players walked through the north tunnel and traveled a walkway that led to the staging area. Visually, the backdrop leveled up from a standard Lynx wallpaper in 2011 to a massive projection screen, where everyone in attendance could see a short highlight video set to Katy Perry's number-one hit, "Roar."
Players added a few highlights of their own during the ceremony. Lindsay Whalen introduced herself with a 15-second impersonation of Shaquille O'Neal's "Can you dig it?" line, and Seimone Augustus repeated her famous pump-up, "This is what we do!" a quote players quickly borrowed for the 2013 playoffs.
In every measure, the Lynx built upon lessons they learned from the 2011 ceremony. No longer overwhelmed by the hoopla and chaos from transforming a perennial doormat to raging powerhouse, Minnesota's staff employed the "dynasty" motif to symbolize the growing chemistry among the team and its supporters. Reeve repeatedly gestured to the crowd in her final speech of the season, referencing the muted panic of 2012 whenever the Lynx could not blow opponents away. Reeve complimented followers for their more patient attitude in 2013, but jokingly ordered them not to discuss another repeat bid until the start of the 2014 calendar year.
Gauging the integrity of Minnesota's chemistry may have to wait until a new league collective bargaining agreement is finalized, but a team that was ignored by the majority of the Twin Cities is now being revered for developing a system other local teams have longed for.