Tuesday, March 31, 2009
[And so did Pat Griffin who offers a much more extensive analysis than mine below so...]
We know how Primetime and similar shows like to go undercover, hire some actors, and put hidden cameras everywhere. Usually they are trying to catch pedophiles, this time they were publicly shaming homophobes.
The article and the accompanying clip (the full thing aired on the show) set up a scenario where two gay men patronize a sports bar and engage in public displays of affection. The gay men are actors (but a couple in real life) as are an instigator and a heterosexual couple. The cameras were there most of the day and the gay couple encountered, it seemed (the clip seemed to get cut off) various situations. In one the instigator was supported in his complaints by two men, in another he was shut down by a male patron who told him to leave and told the couple they were beautiful. And in another instance a female bar-goer confronted the couple and told them they were making her very uncomfortable, that no one else in the bar was making her so uncomfortable, and then she proceeded to leave.
Nothing conclusive--obviously. It is a Primetime experiment after all. Not especially nuanced. But interesting nonetheless.
Monday, March 30, 2009
[PS of sorts: Rogge has said the women should email him to tell him why they should be included.]
So I finally got my ski jumping pics loaded! And am taking this post as an opportunity to share them. I hope you get a sense of just how crazy it is to shoot down an icy slope on two very long sticks, get some air, and then land on those two sticks. Plus you have to look good doing it! Your score is style plus distance.
The people above decide how stylish you are.
Did I mention that it was really, really muddy?
Sunday, March 29, 2009
There was a little blurb in a Philly media outlet that frankly did not convey the excitement I am seeking (even given that Philly is getting its own team next year):
A previous league, the Women's United Soccer Association which also had a team in Philadelphia, folded in 2003 after losing $100 million in three years.
Yeah, thanks for the reminder. We're well aware of what happened. Grrr...
I also cannot figure out what time the game is being played and if it is being aired. I assume Fox Soccer Channel will broadcast it--at least on the west coast.
I should have gotten my friend who is attending to send me updates. Maybe she'll take pics!
Saturday, March 28, 2009
So it took Christine Brennan on NPR yesterday morning (and in her column) to tell me what I should have already picked up on: he didn't do a women's bracket!!
Not a very good example. I hope the women's team that wins and gets invited to the White House gives him a little grief over that!
Friday, March 27, 2009
But I was never on board with saying, at men's hockey games, "you suck" (or at least not after my naive undergraduate mind was enlightened a little) and its derivatives like "Hey goalie, your boyfriend called and he says..." You get the idea.
But what's happening at Duke (another school I am not fond of but for different reasons--recall that whole lacrosse fiasco a couple of years ago) is getting extreme.
Haters of Duke men's basketball are launching all sorts of homophobic words, chants, videos and even Wikipedia entries at players. Seriously, people go into players' Wikipedia entries and alter them to say they are gay. (Let this also be a lesson to all you undergrads out there about the reliability of Wikipedia!!)
YouTube videos abound that mock players' sexuality. (I haven't looked at the them yet--I'm somewhat hesitant to actually. But the links can be found in the above-linked article.)
As I mentioned, I went to the Sport, Sexuality and Culture conference last week and I don't recall there being discussions on homophobia among fans. It should be a discussion we're having, including how schools can and should deal with this.
[h/t to EBuz for sending the story my way.]
Thursday, March 26, 2009
That's right, folks. Kim Clijsters is back. I was going to go back to my posts about Clijsters's retirement where I am sure I made a prediction about a potential comeback. But I think I don't want to know what I said.
I am pleased she is making a comeback. She has asked for a wild card into the US Open (and a few other tournaments) this year. I predict that she will get them. A Clijsters return will be a big draw and no tournament organizer these days is going to turn that down.
I'm not shedding any tears. I was never that impressed with Scott despite his brokering of the Sony Ericson sponsorship. And that someone actually thought he brought credibility to the women's tour is a little suspect. I did not realize it lacked credibility in the pre-Scott era. I actually think it was Billie Jean King who brought said credibility to the women's tour--you know by starting it and promoting it and all!
Scott wasn't the search committee's first choice, though. In fact they tried for Condoleezza Rice (among others) before they found a willing Scott. But Stanford's Bob Bowlsby is making the best of it by saying that the committee is impressed by Scott's negotiation of television contracts--something the Pac-10 is lacking right now.
And hey, the Pac-10's (questionable) gain is a great opportunity for the WTA.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
But still, it gives me a little bit hope (which one usually needs mid-week, or if one is a Duke fan--how about those Michigan State women last night, eh?) when people in sport realize that things just are not right, even if the consciousness is motivated by money.
South Carolina continues to fly the confederate flag--at its state house. And so the NCAA will not choose any SC location for post-season/tourney play. Rightly so, of course. And because of it the state, particularly the city of Columbia where the other USC is located, loses out on lots 'o money. Like millions, according to this columnist who is doing his due diligence in printing what is probably an annual column about the situation. And for his efforts he has been called a "pansy douche bag." I found that lovely phrase in just one of the over 350 comments (at the time of this posting) that the column has generated.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Former LSU superstar Sylvia Fowles will not be there to root on her alma mater. She's in Russia. Moscow specifically playing for Spartak along with UConn alums Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Actually most of the stars of the WNBA (well not Parker because she's pregnant and on the cover of ESPN Magazine and all that) are overseas playing this time of year.
It's a good gig for most. Better than the one they have here playing for the WNBA. I've talked about this before. But the feature on Fowles reminded me just how lucrative it is there and how...well...not...it is here. (Note the irony--former communist country there, adamant capitalists here...) No one will say how much she is making playing for Spartak but rumors say something around $700,000. She makes $44,000 with the Chicago Sky just as a point of reference.
Also in Russia and with Spartak is Pokey Chatman. She is serving as an associate head coach. No word on how much she is making either. I do hope she is allowed someday to come out of exile and coach in the US.
What kind of bothered me (besides the obvious salary issue) is that Fowles is so blase about playing in Russia. She very purposely does not go out and experience the culture. It seems a big waste to live in such a great city as Moscow and not bother to check it out.
[h/t to JB for sending me the link]
Monday, March 23, 2009
First, did you know that the national cricket team made it to the finals of the World Cup? Me neither. But I don't live in England so I feel I have an excuse. Unfortunately it appears not that many people in England knew either. And that's because it's the women's World Cup. Apparently sport is "the last bastion of sexism" in England where token coverage has been provided during the current event and past World Cups which the national team has won. This is in contrast to the men's team, which has not been doing so well on the international stage. There's an interesting comparison of the male and female captains of both the national cricket and football teams. (HINT: it's about salaries.)
Second, Andy Murray, who beat Roger Federer this past week at Indian Wells (yes, I know that's not what the tournament is called any longer--but that is how I know it), is being called by some manager type guy a role model for the women's game. Eeks!
Well, I guess it's not too too bad given that the rationale behind the statement is that Murray's game looks different than the other guys'; that he's a little more creative, has some touch to his shots, etc. And said manager-like guy feels that everyone on the women's side now (with the retirement and/or decline of more nuanced players) just hits hard. It's interesting to consider. I think the women's game has been far more interesting the past few years and I wonder now if the pendulum is swinging back to the men's side. I do continue to believe that there are more women who are contending for the top spots in the game--that there is more movement into and out of the top ten whereas it seems the top men are pretty consistently there.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I don't know much more than that. The team name will be revealed in April.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This means a few things:
I suspect my internet access will be limited and thus posting will be as well.
When I do post maybe I will have something profound to say about sport and sexuality.
It may mean I actually get all those pics I took of ski jumping loaded and posted. They'll make good, entertaining filler.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Especially good if you're UConn and you're going into the tournament (starts this week!!) undefeated and with the number 1 overall seed.
But also many kudos to the 14 teams in this year's tournament who have perfect graduation rates. Connecticut is actually included in this group and is the only number 1 seed to be so.
The other schools are: DePaul, Evansville, Florida, Lehigh, Marist, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Sacred Heart, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Vanderbilt and Villanova.
Only two of the 64 teams had graduation rates of less than 60 percent. In the men's tournament less than half of the field has grad rates higher than 60 percent.
Friday, March 13, 2009
A movie I have talked about several times--and also seen several times, now--Kick Like a Girl--is part of the festival line-up. A complement to Kick is a documentary about Patsy Mink, the Hawaiian senator after whom Title IX was renamed a few years ago. (I took a little exception to the description of Mink as "the driving force behind Title IX," but I still think the documentary, which is about her life in politics, is probably still worth seeing.)
The movie, though, that really looks good is Thin Ice, a documentary about a group of girls in India who form an ice hockey team. Ice hockey! (Note that I still have not seen the movie about field hockey in India. Note to self: get on that!)
Plus there are movies not about sports that look great, too!
Thursday, March 12, 2009
After noting the good: a profile of Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long; blogger Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says this:
Danica Patrick also will be featured, presumably to show how women athletes have been empowered to sprawl across a sports car in a bikini for a magazine photo shoot even after winning an event at their sport's highest level.
So, yes, ESPN is engaging in some special programming for women's history month. We could say, yeah, they're not going to sit back on the fact that they cover women's March Madness. Or we could say--hey--what about the other 11 months of the year, guys? Pick your level of cynicism.
I had been tuning into Sports Center in the mornings in an attempt to get some clue about how to fill out my brackets this year. I never saw a story about women in the line-up. (This was before the conference tournaments started.)
Anyway what the network has planned includes an hour-long documentary called Her Story which is being narrated by Hannah Storm. There will also be shorter "vignettes" interspersed throughout programming during the month that features female athletes. I believe the special OTL on concussions in women has already aired. (Missed it, though I would have liked to see how they treated the subject.)
The website will have a dedicated page--just for the month, of course--that includes a collection of various content from other sites. And it will provide fan forums and opportunities for female athletes to share their stories.
Also of note is the upcoming cover of ESPN the magazine that feature a pregnant Candace Parker. She was always slated to be on the cover but the pics were done before her pregnancy was revealed and so they scrapped those photos and did the shots of her in a white dress cradling her pregnant belly. ESPN peeps are all "we don't know this is going to go over. Women on our covers are rare. They don't do well." They are worse than SI! But they took a risk because, after all, it's women's sports month, they say. Umm...not quite guys.
My immediate reaction to the cover was "oh it's another Sheryl Swoopes moment" intended to display the femininity of one of the top players in the game. To make her less threatening. (After all Parker was at the center of one of the most infamous WNBA brawls to date!)
I am surprised though that ESPN did it given that their readership is young men. This is not quite praise. It's more like a "to be continued..."
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This isn't a new issue certainly. There has been a lot of reporting on various WNBA teams and the level of attention (or inattention) they pay to their lesbian fans--of which there are many.
But this article addresses the lack of marketing to lesbians by basketball conferences. This is despite that fact that there are marketing strategies in place that target other fan groups like youth and families.
At this point, such a denial of a lesbian fan base is just bad business. Especially given the money lesbians spend when they travel to sporting events, including the conference tourneys and the NCAA games. Other entities recognize this: bars and restaurants hold lesbian-friendly events when tournaments are in town.
Unfortunately, the basketball conferences probably do not see a lot of incentive. After all, it's not as if we're not going to these games because they won't recognize us. We accept our blatant invisibility (to them) and get satisfaction in our visibility to one another when we attend such events.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I have put off and put off posting about all the news in the world of ski jumping (including the worlds--world championships that is) because I kept hoping--hoping--that my laptop would come back to me all fixed and I could finally upload all those pics I took of my adventures in ski jumping in Vermont. But five weeks have passed and resignation has set in--hard, harder than a jumper missing the landing.
So here it is. The skinny of what's been going on in ski jumping.
The first ever Women's World Championships were held last month and American Lindsey Van (not to be confused--as I have been from time to time--with American downhiller Lindsey Vonn) won the event held in the Czech Republic. Van said the women's performances at this first world championships proves they deserve to be in Sochi in 2014 (interesting that she didn't say Vancouver next year, no?). Also worth noting is that Van holds the record on the normal hill in Salt Lake City (the one that was used in the 2004 Games) for both men and women.
It's especially interesting that after her win Van only referenced Sochi given that this article says she is all about getting into the games next year because by 2014 the current 24-year old says she will be too old. She certainly would be among the older participants given that 9 of the 31 starters in this year's worlds were under 15. Van is part of the ongoing lawsuit.
Regarding the lawsuit, five more jumpers have joined the original 10. All are Canadians which should help with the issue of standing (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is of standing) because no current Canadian jumpers had been involved in the lawsuit until this point.
This editorial speaks more to this recent event and reminds us that the trial is scheduled for April 20.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Anyway the scandal at Florida State was one of the biggest (known) cases of academic cheating (within an athletic department) to date. It involved 61 student-athletes in 10 sports and included cheating on an online exam, getting answers from tutors and professors on exams, and plagiarized (written by others) papers.
So the punishment, as determined by the NCAA: 4-year probation; adjustment to the win-loss records; and loss of grants-in-aid.
In my humble opinion, this is nothing. Nothing! It's so nothing that Florida State imposed further sanctions on itself. For example, the NCAA mandated the loss of one scholarship in football over the next three years (that's one out of 85!); Florida State imposed another five--again over three years (in other words they won't be down 6 scholarships for the next three years--they will be spread out and the university gets to decide how).
It seems the biggest concern is the forfeiture of games. Florida State is considering appealing this particular NCAA sanction. It already suspended players who were confirmed cheaters during the 2007 and 2008 season. Thus it feels that those athletes have already done their time so to speak--plus they didn't know the athletes were cheating at the time. Or so they say. Here's the thing--someone knew. Probably multiple someones knew. This is the one sanction that somewhat attacks the culture of the Florida State athletic department that perpetuated 61 cheating student-athletes and the adults that aided and abetted.
The NCAA argues that once cheating takes place, that student-athlete automatically becomes ineligible. Because they athlete knew about it--at the very least. In a program that valued academic honesty and academic success there would not be such rampant cheating.
It seems the forfeiture is really about how unfair it would be for football coach Bobby Bowden who is only one win behind Penn State's Joe Paterno in terms of career wins. Such thinking absolves Bowden from all responsibility regarding the academic status of his players.
I doubt that the sanctions will truly challenge the culture in which (it seems) coaches, administrators, professors, and professional support staff all helped students cheat in order to keep them eligible to play sports. There didn't seem to be a big house cleaning in the wake of this event. I believe some from academic support services lost their jobs, but you have to wonder to whom they were answering. In other words, what pressures were being placed on them to basically take complete responsibility for their tutees' academic success. This is not to suggest that they should not be punished--but there should be some investigation into whom they may be taking the wrap for!
Friday, March 06, 2009
This article constantly had me comparing the climate in Turkey to the one here. When a writer invokes Islam in the context of women playing sport, there seems to be an automatic response along the lines of "oh, yes, it's so bad there; they are so oppressed."
After all, what are things like here in a arguable socially conservative, predominantly Christian society?
This spring marks attempt number two at a women's professional soccer league in the United States. Women's soccer fans are crossing fingers, toes, and engaging in any other good luck practice in the hopes that the league will survive--that it will garner the interest (from fans and sponsors) that it could not last time.
The article notes that male hecklers have come by the practice fields in Turkey yelling that the women should be home cooking. This is not a regular occurrence here (or there as far as I can tell) but the sentiment certainly exists here. Remember a few years ago when a broadcaster for the Celtics, who had a problem with a female referee, said she should be cooking him bacon and eggs?
All this is to say that, yes, women in the United States have more opportunities to play sports and seemingly encounter less overt hostility when doing so; but don't kid yourself that the sentiments in Turkey do not exist here in some form as well.
Moving on to women's cricket. Fox Sports (oh the love-hate relationship here) has entered into an agreement with the International Cricket Council to broadcast the Women's World Cup this month. The tournament starts this weekend and is being held in Sydney, Australia.
And finally, the IOC (with whom I--and others--clearly have some issues) awarded Lydia Nsekera, who is president of the Burundi Football Federation, a Women and Sport Award this week at a ceremony in Switzerland. In addition to building the men's program, Nsekera has increased participation for girls and women and also started a program to get more women involved in refereeing.
The other winners of the award are discussed here.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
And they're ugly to boot. I believe they are being referred to as "wraps" that appear (see the pictures) to go over the shorts. I can't imagine players actually wearing them while playing which begs the question: why the heck are skorts part of the uniform?
Has soccer ever been played in a skort?
A few guesses that have everything to do with trying to enhance the femininity of soccer players who play a sport that is seen as a little more masculine than people are comfortable with.
You know what I am uncomfortable with? Soccer players in skorts.
P.S. Another story about the problematic timing (because of the depression and all) of the WPS's debut; this one's from WaPo.
[h/t to Because I Played Sports where I found this story!]
The deadline for abstracts has been extended to March 15 (though the website notes abstracts will be accepted after this date if there is room). The conference's themes this year focus on "performance, learning, location, and the role of risk" in leisure experiences.
More details here.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Registration deadline is not until May.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Oh well, I frequently get around to things in a not necessarily timely manner, myself.
Anyway, the coverage of Serena's and Venus's absence from the list has engendered some discussion about standards of beauty and racism. Good!
Unfortunately some of the articles fail to actually condemn the presence of the list in the first place. This one by Jewel Wood at the Huffington Post is very good but doesn't ask why women's tennis has such a list in the first place. Why do people have such a difficult time understanding the intersections of racism and sexism??
The website The Root did their own slideshow (and accompanying article) of Venus and Serena, which was intended to exemplify the sisters' beauty. I say intended not because I think that it did not, but because just showing pictures of black women in evening gowns is not going to create a paradigm shift in people who will not see anyone who is black as beautiful. (Then of course there is also the other-side-of-the-spectrum problem of eroticizing women of color.) But of course Root is correct that European standards of beauty are still ubiquitous and often unconsciously reified through overt (like the slideshow) and more subtle displays of feminine beauty.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Germany in June--could be nice. Here are the details:
First International Sport Science Congress
Facing new Challenges: Education, Health, Promotion and Integration in Gymnastics and Sports
Frankfurt, Germany, 4th 5th of June 2009 during the International German Gymnastics Festival.
The deadline for the abstract submission has been prolonged until the 1st of April 2009
The Congress is a groundbreaking component of the International German Gymnastics Festival. In cooperation with international sports and science federations (DTB, TAFISA, ISCA, DOSB, dvs) and under the patronage of the International Council of Sport Science and
Physical Education (ICSSPE) the Congress will build a bridge between praxis and theory.
An international pool of speakers invites you to discuss topics like integration and migration, health promotion and education of children and youth in sports. There will also be open sessions.
Already participants from 13 different nations have registered.
For more information and the submission of your abstracts see www.turnfest-congress.de.