Thursday, January 31, 2008

Basketball news

I don't write about basketball a whole lot and I certainly am not even attempting to be as comprehensive in my coverage as a blog like Women's Hoops Blog, but there were a few stories that have caught my attention of late.

1. Dave Zirin has a good column on the Rutgers women's basketball team post-Imus. They're having a great season, ranked 5 in the nation. [UPDATE: Latest poll puts them in 4th.] Didn't know that? That's exactly Zirin's point. Despite the rhetoric and the belief a mere few years ago that women's basketball was showing signs of taking off, there hasn't been the attendant media coverage. Various powers in the media always say to us women's sports fans that if there was more interest, they would cover it. There's plenty of interest in women's basketball and still far too little coverage.

2. A few weeks ago news broke that the Seattle Storm has some new owners. Four local women have bought the franchise (not a done deal, though--needs to go through an NBA and WNBA vote) and received a lot of positive press and community support for their endeavors--especially because the women have promised to keep the team in Seattle even if their NBA counterpart, the Sonics, move out of state. Word is that season ticket sales have already exceeded those of last season.

3. A local sportswriter, Steve Cameron out in California, recently covered a championship girls' high school basketball game. He reported on the game and then wrote this comment on his coverage and career in sports journalism. While Zirin has written that women's basketball still isn't getting much coverage, Cameron contends that the coverage he is now providing illustrates the biggest change he has witnessed in sports: girls can play ball--just like the boys. Oh how I hate this statement. Cameron is not unique in his sentiment that once upon a time girls' basketball was boring and sloppy and now it's great. No thanks to people like you Steve Cameron who fell into, and continue to believe that women's sports are only worthy of attention when they resemble men's sports.

He also fails to acknowledge a concept even my sport soc undergrads have down (or will have down by the end of class tomorrow morning) that it isn't just the sports world that has changed--society has changed too; society has changed sports and sports have changed society. Women's basketball has gotten better because more girls are "allowed" access to sports and society has seen that women can and have a desire to play and this has altered how we view women.

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