Well I'm all about NPR every morning, but this was a particularly good morning. Frank Deford's commentary focused on women's team sports versus individual sports. He discusses the way in which women's teams sports are (barely) tolerated and how those women who play with racquets or wear figure skates or put on a bathing suit are more revered in this culture. He has some interesting takes on this phenomenon:
And it's not so simple as the old glass-ceiling analogy. No, it's more emotional: teams represent our city, our college. They represent us –– the old team spirit. So, for many gentlemen, having a team of girls representing us is too much to bear.
And to be frank, female fans have themselves miserably failed their sisters; they've not yet come to support women's teams as men do their own athletes.
But, he notes, the UConn women's basketball team is changing that.
The Huskies force people –– men and women alike –– to at least think about women's teams. The idea. Little girls see UConn and they realize they don't have to pick up a tennis racket or a pair of figure skates. By being so good, UConn has not just transcended its sport, but it's doing a number on tradition. On sexism, too.
I don't know if little girls are so unaware of team sports. I think a lot of little girls play sports like soccer and ice hockey and basketball and baseball and softball. I think the issue comes as they get older and they realize their participation in these sports is--at best--not highly valued and, more nefariously, creates questions about their femininity and sexuality.
But on to the second NPR moment of the morning: a feature on professional women's ice hockey. I was quite pleased to find out, earlier this fall, that Boston now has a team. I almost made it to a game in November, but my car conked out. But definitely in the new year I plan to see the Boston Blades, the team that was featured on Morning Edition. The Blades play at various New England sports including Harvard, where Blades defense person Angela Ruggiero is an alum. And also at UNH where defense person Kacey Bellamy, forwards Sam Faber, Michaela Long, and Shannon Sisk (and me!!) are alums. Also, they have a game schedule at Wesleyan next month. Check out the story that aired this morning. And then check out the Canadian Women's Hockey League.