This week has been anything but good in Washington. In addition to the news about John Wall and the late Rasual Butler, Emma Meesseman is out this season to rest and focus on the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup with the Belgian women’s national basketball team.
Last night, I was clear that this is bad news, perhaps even franchise changing for the Mystics. Few Mystics fans in the United States are happy about what this means in Washington. I’m not happy about her absence as a fan.
But there’s another side to this story. It’s how Belgians are reacting to the news. They’re very happy about it.
De Koninklijke Belgsiche Basketball Bond (or the Dutch name of the Royal Belgian Basketball Federation) released a tweet through the women’s team’s account this morning (or early afternoon in Brugge, where this tweet was apparently posted):
It's official ️ Happy to let you guys know that @EmmaMeesseman has decided to focus on preparations for our @FIBA World Championship this summer!— Belgian Cats (@TheBelgianCats) February 1, 2018
FR ➡️https://t.co/66IbudYkjw pic.twitter.com/Er8KJwvKJq
On a personal level, I’m happy to see Meesseman play for her country. Belgium is one of the best teams in the world now despite their misleading FIBA ranking. And the message just flat out trolls the Mystics and the WNBA. Not only did the tweet just say “Emma Meesseman chooses Belgian Cats over WNBA,” it tagged the WNBA AND the Mystics — the last two groups who want to read about it!
To be fair, the Belgians were just telling the truth. Meesseman decided to do this. There isn’t any other way around it.
There are two links that the KBBB provided, one in Dutch and one in French. The Dutch link led to Sporza, a Flemish sports site, which stated that Meesseman wanted to do as well as possible in the FIBA World Cup, so she decided to sit out the WNBA season. The French link led to La Dernière Heure, a Brussels based newspaper. Both links were more neutral.
We still haven’t seen any official statement from Meesseman yet, which is in part because the official statement from the Mystics didn’t have anything from her specifically. But to wrap this up, there’s always two sides to a major piece of news like this. Though Mystics fans are certainly not feeling good today, Belgians are probably just as excited about it.