If you’ve been to a Chicago Sky game, you’ve probably heard her.
If you’re a regular at Chicago Sky games, you expect to hear her.
And if you’re a Chicago Sky player, you know her as Pam Allen.
She’s the woman at every home game screaming, cheering and heckling from sideline.
“I call myself PA – Pam Allen. That’s why my voice is so loud and vocal.”
Allen has been a season ticket holder since 2014. She sits just to the left side behind the hoop, close enough for refs, players and coaches to hear her.
Allen was brought on by her friend, coworker and tag team cheerleader Beverly Asford. Asford has been a “Sky Rider”–the name given to Sky season ticket holders–for seven years now.
They’re at almost every home game. But, on occasion, when they’re not:
“[The players] look for us,” Asford said. “And when we get here, they’re coming to say hi. Even the refs.”
Season ticket holders are beneficiaries of invitations to multiple events throughout the season. Through these events, they get to know the players and the players’ families in person. Allen’s favorite player she’s met is Elena Delle Donne because they both came to the Sky the same year; Asford’s is Cheyenne Parker for the growth she’s seen in her.
Before the start of the last home game at Allstate, referee Amy Bonner approached Allen.
“I figured I’d introduce myself if we’re going to be interacting during the game so much anyways,” Bonner said.
Allen laughed, introduced herself. But as soon as Bonner makes the wrong call (lucky for her it didn’t happen in that game), no doubt Allen will be there to call her out. She screamed plenty at the two other refs that night with phrases like “Do you need to borrow my glasses, ref?” and “Glad you finally got some air in that whistle, ref.”
Allen and Asford see themselves as part of the team, and they are strategic as such.
“I let them know where players are,” Allen said. “Especially now. In the second half, the Sky will be on the far end on offense and the away team will be with us. I’m able to affect them because I believe my vocal chords can knock off their game.”
During every single free throw shot by the Washington Mystics in last Friday’s game, Allen tormented the players. She and Asford got personal with Ivory Latta, Washington’s MVP.
“Let me see those eyes, Latta,” they screamed during her free throw.
Latta does have some pretty distinctly big eyes. “You know she’s coming for you when you see those eyes” as Asford put it.
“It’s all in good fun, though. As long as we don’t get kicked out of the game, we’ll have fun,” Asford said.
For the record, Latta made both free throws, laughing and nodding at Allen in between.
For two middle-aged friends, holding season tickets means getting out of the house and being a part of something bigger than their office jobs in the Northwest suburbs. Allen used to play basketball in high school, said she was voted most athletic. But a back injury a few years ago put her out of physical activity for longer than she hoped.
Watching the Sky has helped her recover.
“I’m playing through them and that’s what gives me a little strength to keep on going,” Allen said. “It gave me the encouragement to work out a lot harder.”
Allen says she’s never been told to stop cheering, and in fact, has been encouraged by Sky players to keep up the good work.
“They hear me, they laugh at me,” Allen said. “I usually get the whole audience involved as well. I just like to have fun. That’s why I’m here and I’ll be here until I can’t anymore.”