Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who's playing tennis?

Well I am. I played last night for the time in a couple of weeks. Not too badly considering.
But according to a recent article in The Boston Globe, women over 30 are taking up in the game. Women, apparently, who are looking for a way to combat the ennui of stay-at-home momdom?? The article certainly makes that implication by highlighting a woman who took up the game decades ago when her kids went to school and her husband was at work.
The heteronormativity just keeps on flowing throughout the whole thing. Writer Matt Porter does address though that not every woman playing tennis is a wife and mother who stays at home. He discusses working women's leagues. Of course the way he puts working women in quotation marks certainly has multiple connotations. Because it seems like women who work are always going to just a little less...something (moral, nice, sweet, feminine--pick an adjective) than women who stay at home meeting the needs of others without getting paid for it.
What's interesting is that the women I know who play in working women's leagues don't have kids or have kids who are older and thus independent. What this means, and what the article does not address, is that women who do work and who do have families, are less likely to be able to engage in tennis or any other organized sport. One of the tennis clubs I used to belong to had child care but it is the only one I have ever seen that does. (Unlike health clubs which almost all have child care.)
And of course there's the (related) issue of class. Tennis costs money. Not as much money as other sports depending on where you play--public courts are free. And it takes time. I was surprised at how many of us on my new team do not have conventional 9-5 schedules: writers, artists, students. It's a privilege to be able to schedule tennis in the afternoon (when it's also easier and cheaper to get court time usually). And none of that is acknowledged in the article.
I think it's great that more women are playing the sport. The benefits of lifelong movement and physical activity are great combined with the benefits of organized sport. I just wish the writer would have acknowledged some of these issues.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not so enlightened yoga

I went to yoga for the first time in a long while on Saturday. I have been through various phases in my fitness life some of which have included a lot of yoga. For example, when I was in school in Iowa I would go several times a week. In part because I liked building flexible strength and in part because I really needed those last five minutes of class in corpse pose where I imagined the faces of my advisors on apples that gently fell to the ground and rolled away. But that was pretty much as meditative as I ever got. No offense to all the yogis out there, but I just never got into all the Eastern philosophy. So I seek out classes that do not include this as a huge component.
The class on Saturday fit this particular bill. It lacked a little bit of the athleticism I am used to, but my calves didn't care because they have been tight on the verge of snapping and thus anything was going to help improve that situation.
Unfortunately my instructor probably wasn't as concerned about my calves because I am a woman, and, as she said in class, men's calves are usually quite tight. And then she gave instructions for modifications. She did this several others times with various body parts.
And then to make it worse, during one of these essentialist comparisons she said "Girls are more blah, blah, blah and men are more blah blah blah." Yep girls and men. This is in a room where there were men and women of all ages.
And of course there was the ubiquitous "you guys" throughout class. (Because she talked a lot--more than any other yoga instructor and not always about helpful things.)
It is very hard for me to be zen when I am being called, at various points, a girl and a guy.
So the search for the perfect yoga class continues.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Sometimes bad behavior is rewarded"

So said my tv-watching companion the other night when a car rental commercial featuring John McEnroe aired.
The National worker was explaining to tennis's bad boy all the perks of choosing National. Guesses as to the punchline?
Yep. "You cannot be serious!!"
How much money has this man made off of that line? And his bad behavior generally?
Can you imagine a female athlete benefiting to such an extent--and so long after her playing career was over--if she was marketing bad behavior? Are female athletes even able to capitalize on bad behavior? Can you imagine a black female athlete being able to? A gay female athlete?
Note that this is not a call for equity in successfully marketing unsportspersonlike behavior. It's more disgust at how unquestionably accepting we are of it. And not just accepting but supportive. Because you know if companies thought McEnroe's bad boy history would negatively affect their products, they wouldn't use him and they certainly would not highlight his obnoxiousness.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What's going on?

I have seen about five different articles about the Gap's recent acquirement. The company is buying Athleta, a women's sports apparel company that I have never heard of. Has anyone else heard of them?

Gap and Old Navy do have some sports-type clothes but Athleta is sport-specific. Haven't been able to figure out whether there will be Athleta stores like there are Banana Republics and Old Navys. But they allegedly carry cycling gear so that makes me happy.

Women's Sports Foundation just released a report authored by a University of Arizona professor that tracks the spending of athletic programs over ten years. Titled Who's Playing College Sports, John Cheslock, the study's author, reports many things, including that the increase in spending on women's sports has been less than that on men's sports. Not surprising but still disturbing when you consider that women's participation in the same time has increased by 20 percent whereas men's has only increased by 6 percent. Cheslock said that schools are trying to achieve Title IX compliance by increasing women's participation numbers and not decreasing men's opportunities. The College Sports Council who claims they did the same study last year--but with accuracy--has already spoken out against the findings basically calling them hogwash.

In some sad news from earlier in the week, sports journalist Mary Garber died. Garber covered sports during WWII when teh mens went off to war, was kicked out of her position (as so many women were) and forced to cover issues for the society page. But she soon got back to covering sports though she had a lot of issues to contend with among all her male peers (who did not always like having a female peer). She was known for her coverage of black athletes and teams at a time when they received very little attention from the white press.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hockey goods and bads

It's the first full day of fall, people. You know what that means for sports fans.
No, not football.
Hockey! It's right around the corner. My Wildcats take the ice soon soon soon.
That's the good.
But I have come across some not-so-good regarding hockey in the past few days.
First, I was listening to an old episode of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me in the car on Sunday and in the segment in which a caller has to tell truth from fiction there was a story about a hockey school that teaches kids--kids!--how to fight. I know hockey is pretty violent, but that was not the story I picked. I was wrong. It's true. A former NHLer has a one-day camp in Canada that teaches pee-wee hockey players how to fight on the ice. Lovely.
Also lovely is the continued practice of the University of Kentucky men's hockey team that promotes itself with posters featuring models or actresses posed in only a hockey jersey. Former models include Ashley Judd, who was the first and wanted to do something to help out her alma mater, and Rebecca Gayheart a Kentucky native. This year it's Miss Kentucky. What I don't think I realized was that this team is a club sport! Which actually, as I think about it, may be why they get away with this. An intercollegiate team might have to answer for such outright sexism. The posters raise a lot of money for the team, which is not supported like intercollegiate teams are--not that this is a good reason for exploiting women. Also disturbing is that other schools have tried their own versions of the poster campaign. They haven't had the same success though. I could say something here about the state of Kentucky but I will refrain because I am sure there are people in Kentucky who find this abhorrent as well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Why I hate all things FOX

Because of columns like this. It sounds innocuous enough with the title "WPS commissioner knows what challenges lie ahead." But writer Jamie Trecker, the soccer guy for FOX Sports online, proceeds to engage in snarkiness (I know, I know, pot calling the kettle black and all) about the prospects of not just a professional soccer league but a professional women's soccer league--in the United States. He implies that the WUSA failed because of general hubris among players such as Julie Foudy and women's soccer supporters like journalist Christine Brennan. That they were naive to think that the 1999 World Cup would fuel a league. Of course he fails to engage in any kind of discussion of sexism, not even a liberal examination of what, say, would have happened to the popularity of soccer in the US if the men's national team had even the modicum of success the women's team has had over the years. Yet, despite this lack of a strong national team, we have what, three, professional leagues which feature men.
Also annoying was that both Trecker and current commissioner Tonya Antonucci accused fairly unabashedly, the WUSA of bad financial decisions. I know next to nothing about the financial issues related to running/owning a professional sport franchise. But it kind of came off as a most women just don't have a clue about these kind of things sentiment.
They also both dissed the WUSA for taking as its major marketing pitch a role-model/inspirational model. Sure, it was annoying at times, especially as an audience member who does not want to grow up to be a soccer player (I just want to date one!) It was a liberal, equal opportunity discourse at work. But it's not as if Antonucci is planning something radical or queer with WPS. In fact she's going back to the old standby: sex sells. Though she doesn't say exactly how she plans to put that concept into practice. My guess is she won't be marketing Natasha Kai's sexy post-goal dance to dykes like me. (Not that it matters because we'll show up for it anyway!) And I'll be curious as to how she deals with the hetero moms in the league, of which there are several. Is there going to be a MILF-ification campaign??
You know, stuff like this just brings me down after my initial excitement last week. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am getting season tickets and that they come with a nifty seat cushion. That should hold me for a little while.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Paralympic tennis

This article/feature highlights the dominant Dutch Paralympic tennis team and provides some very convincing reasons as to why the team is so successful. The long of the short of it: they get a lot of support from the Dutch tennis federation, which does not distinguish between wheelchair tennis and able-bodied tennis. Also a factor: tennis the second biggest sport in the country with most towns have more than one club. (This does seem curious to me given the comparative lack of Dutch able-bodied tennis players.) It also seems that the Netherlands are much better than say, here, getting newly-disabled people into sports. (I do wonder though if that may change here given the high numbers of disabled soldiers returning from war.) But apparently disabled people there are highly encouraged to participate in sports and are given sport wheelchairs.
Sounds like the Netherlands could provide a solid model for other countries to emulate.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bike ride for charity

If you have ever been stuck in traffic in Boston--specifically on (or because of) Storrow Drive, you may be interested in this bike ride on Sunday (21st) morning called HUb on Wheels. Storrow Drive is shut down and you ride your bike on it. It's ten miles on Storrow but there is a 30-mile and 50-mile option that takes you around the city but in such a way that there is reduced car traffic. (There's a link to the route map on the left-hand side of the page linked above.)
Registration is still open. At least it was as of last night when I signed up; and is only $50. (It';s $55 for same day registration on Sunday morning.) The money (you can give or fundraise more) goes to bringing more technology to the Boston Public Schools.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

All about women in sports...

...is USA Today today.
There's an article on the new audience demographics in sports that marketers are clamoring for: women. Women are watching more men's professional sports, which has lead specific products for the female fan like better-fitting t-shirts (unfortunately they often come in pink). But marketers are even paying attention to women's sports, like professional basketball, which are starting to be seen as viable advertising venues. And, of course, the Olympics have always attracted more women. Of course the advertisers seem to think all women are the same and want to see the same thing. So when it became clear (like 4 years ago in Athens) that Michael Phelps--a man--was going to be the biggest story in Beijing, the powers-that-be started to put the female spin on it. They introduced his mother. So if you started to get a little annoyed at all the shots of Debbie Phelps, know that they were all for you women. And this woman was indeed over Debbie Phelps by the third or fourth gold medal.
But it looks like the fame many Olympic athletes receive--at least female athletes--will not last. Gymnasts Nastia Luikin and Shawn Johnson are hot now but even I can see their popularity waning. Gymnastics may be a major ratings getter during the games but we rarely hear about it in the interim. And while Luikin and Johnson have some sweet deals and gigs right now--no one expects those to lead to long-term fame. The article highlights the retirement (at age 20) blues of many gymnasts.
Another article cites and lauds the many accomplishments of female athletes but notes the lack of women in coaching, ownership and management. It has many stats on (the lack of) female leadership in intercollegiate athletics and the football effect. The bigger the football program, the less likely there will be a female athletic director.
Similar theme: women in sports broadcasting. They're on the sidelines but not in the booth doing play-by-play.
And finally, Saturday marks the anniversary of Billie Jean King's win over Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. This article has a recount of the event, its long-lasting effects, and stats from the match. Make sure to check out the BJK picture gallery that is linked to the left of the article.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Some news from professional sports

Things are getting exciting if you're a fan of women's soccer. Women's Professional Soccer announced yesterday which national teams are heading where in 2009 when the league launches. I was surprised to see Kristine Lilly on the Boston Breakers roster. That's her former team, of course, but I had thought she might be hanging up the cleats. Guess not. Fine with me. I'll be there to see her and Angela Hucles and Heather Mitts. Wonder if Bri Scurry will be back in goal for Boston???
Abby Wambach is headed back to the Washington Freedom. I was kind of surprised by this. I thought she might be going to the NY/NJ team as she is from NY (Rochester though--not the city). That team though will not be hurting for star power though with Olympic standout Natasha Kai along with Heather O'Reilly and veteran Christie Rampone. Article linked above says Wambach is in rehab right now trying to gain back the 15-20 pounds of muscle she lost post surgery. Yikes! Abby, if you need a lifting partner, let me know. I seem to be working out alone a lot these days. Grrr...
Full list of players and teams is here. The international draft begins next week and will continue into October. WPS website where you can find links to all the teams is here.

And in good news from the WNBA which is heading into its playoffs, numbers are up. Higher attendance, higher TV ratings, and more internet traffic. This could be due to the outstanding performances of many WNBAers last month at the Olympics but hopefully it will be a lingering (and growing) effect. The article attributes the growth to more non-NBA owners and sees this as a positive thing for the league as well as an ever-growing committed fan base. NBA commissioner David Stern predicts that the WNBA will turn a profit next year and that more teams will be added by 2011. Yeah!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A nothing to do with sport entry

If you look over to your left, you will see a banner asking you to save BITCH Magazine. BITCH is an independent magazine that is described as a "feminist response to pop culture." And it rocks. Sure there isn't a whole lot about sport in there--ok I have never seen anything about sport in there but maybe if it stays in business, we can suggest a sport/physical activity issue.
But they won't be in business much longer unless they get some cash fast. The magazine needs $40,000 by October 15. So if you can--donate! And if you're not a subscriber--do it. At least purchase a subscription for someone in your life--magazines make great gifts!--if you're not interested. Though I don't know why you wouldn't be.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Things from Friday...

...that I meant to post on this weekend but didn't quite get around to.
I was buoyed from my usual cynical position by three things that happened Friday evening, which was a very good thing because I had being having a crappy day until then.
Anyway, the first thing (only because I am talking about it first--all three happened within about an hour of each other) is that NPR covered the Paralympics. It was a segment on, I believe, All Things Considered. The stars of the games including US swimmer Erin Popovich. The disqualification of an Irish soccer player because he was too able-bodied, and the doping scandals(there were four athletes sent home for steroid abuse).
Then I heard on that same NPR station--not sure if it was local or national news--that the Basketball Hall of Fame has formed a committee to look into basketball at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, particularly during segregation. It will review records of teams, players and coaches who have historically been overlooked by the Hall of Fame. My understanding is that the same criteria will be used to determine if someone meets Hall of Fame standards, which could be problematic given that those are standards largely established by white guys that fail to consider things like historical and systemic discriminatory practices and barriers. We will just have to wait (about a year) to see what the HoF comes up with.
And lastly, a boy (a big boy, probably in his late 20s) asked ME to spot HIM at the gym--on the bench press--on which he had a lot of weight. A lot. Sure I was the default because I was the only one in the weight area Friday evening except for a middle age guy who looked very into his own workout. But I have been the only one in a weight room before and have seen guys go out to look for spots elsewhere. I like to think this time was because I clearly looked like I knew what I was doing as I went about my own workout. I was also looking particularly buff and serious in my tank top. (I think the accumulation of sweat from taking spin class also helped.) He was a little condescending, however, making sure to tell me that I didn't need to do anything unless he got stuck. Yeah, dude, I got it down. I spotted him twice, he didn't do a lot of grunting, which I appreciated, and he didn't hit on me or try to obviously impress me. So it was good all around.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Did you find what you were looking for?

It's been months and months since I have done a "find what you're looking for?" column. Largely because I got exasperated with all the hits I get from that freakin' Family Guy episode that disses the WNBA. Seriously, sometimes I think half my hits come from people searching for something related to that episode. Also, I don't feel the need to acknowledge how many people come here looking for "naked pics of (fill in female athlete of choice)" or "(fill in female athlete of choice) lesbian." But there appear to be some new ones so I thought I would share.

1. Nancy Lieberman seems to be a hot topic right now. Sure I always got the occasional "Nancy Lieberman gay" search, but since her oh-so-brief stint in the WNBA this past July there seems to be some renewed interest. One has to do with her training. There was a little montage about it during the Detroit Shock versus the Phoenix Sun game the other night. Okay, yes, it's impressive that a 50-year old underwent a pretty intense training regimen for months in order to play for a few minutes. But really all I am taking from that montage is are a few exercises to add to my own regimen.

2. Also on the Nancy Lieberman front a search for her son's name. Really? You don't know it by heart already? Because she says it ALL THE TIME. She even mentioned it while being interviewed after the montage aired. "My son, D.J. this" and "my son D.J. that." We get it, Nancy. You had a child, with a man no less. It's not always a convincing indicia of heterosexuality. Stop trying to pass!!

3. Can't ignore the tennis fashion search by someone apparently looking to find out which tennis players are wearing Under Armour. There are not that many that I have seen. Robbie Ginepri is probably the most well-known player who is sporting Under Armour. On the women's side the only player I can recall is Jill Craybas. This could be because the Under Armour tennis line isn't that interesting. It might be selling itself on its performance but I have an Under Armour strappy tank that I wear playing tennis and I don't find it any better than other athletic clothes I have. Tennis really does not seem to be their focus and the line reflects that. They do seem to be offering more options, though. You can check out their stuff at their website. Here's the men's line. And here's the women's. But wait, if you click on the link you'll see there are no active products in the line. Strange. There's some stuff at Tennis Warehouse. (Look but don't buy--remember Tennis Warehouse still retains Justin Gimelstob as a spokesperon.) I kind of like that one of their women's shorts is called the "women's basic aggressive short."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I wanna go to camp

I'll let you in on a little secret: I really want to learn how to surf. Several years ago when surfing reality shows seemed to be their own little subset of reality television I tuned in every week. I have my own copy of Blue Crush. The lifestyle is attractive though I am far too much of a creature of habit (to put it somewhat euphemistically) to ever be able to be so casual about things. And I happen to think surfer girls are cute, cute, cute. And so if I can become a surfer girl maybe I could be cute, cute, cute too.
So listen up any women out there who feel similarly--or don't feel similarly and just want to learn how to surf--there are camps out there for women who want to become surfers. A company called Northwest Women's Surfing Camps offers two-day camps for beginners of all ages in Oregon, where the founder lives. (There will be a week-long retreat in Hawaii in April of next year.) And it's really comprehensive with yoga sessions, lessons in surf etiquette and how to read surf charts. This article describes the experiences of one camper.
I have been wanting to head back to the Pacific Northwest for a trip. This may just be the incentive I need!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The statement

Here's an excerpt from the statement from LPGA commissioner Carol Bivens about the now rescinded language policy:
The LPGA has received valuable feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the recently announced penalties attached to our effective communications policy. We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions.
After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every Tour player. In that spirit, we will continue communicating with our diverse Tour players to develop a better alternative. The LPGA will announce a revised approach, absent playing penalties, by the end of 2008.

Hmmm..."valuable feedback from a variety of constituents." Carol Bivens, have you been reading my blog??
More likely State Farm called her up and said they were not too pleased to be associated with such a xenophobic, reactionary organization.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Olympian wins Paralympic gold

South African Natalie Du Toit,who competed in the open water swim in the Olympics a few weeks ago, just earned her first gold medal of Paralympic Games. She is expected to win a few more by the time the games are over. The medal came in the 100M butterfly. She set a world record with her time.
The above link also recaps other events at the Paralympic Games which began this past weekend.
The US Paralympic team seems to be just as dominant as the US Olympic swimming team. The US won four gold medals in the first day of the meet.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 Paralympics begin today

And it what you know about paralympic sports consists of having watched the documentary Murderball and some awareness of wheelchair basketball and/or wheelchair tennis, then you should (like I did) check out this article in The Telegraph that goes though all the medal sports in the Paralympics providing their history, the events offered, which disabilities are accommodated, and how. What I find impressive is the organization of all the events and how they meet the needs of so many athletes. Too bad we won't get to actually see much of it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Before I could even start the office pool...

...the LPGA "backed off" it's English-only policy. (Not that I really would have started an office pool in part because I don't have an office.) But it would have been interesting. 'Cause I was wondering how long this new policy would last especially as people who have a little more invested in the tour, like number 1 Lorena Ochoa and sponsor State Farm, started speaking out--albeit somewhat tentatively--against aspects of the policy.
So now they will go back to the drawing board and come up with a new policy by the end of the year, according to tour commissioner Carol Bivens, who made the announcement this afternoon. The news came just before a scheduled press conference by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in which they were going to demand the tour rescind the policy. The center still believes the LPGA owes its players and its fans a huge apology though.
No kidding.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Amazon, you don't know me at all!

So if you've ever ordered anything from Amazon.com you have probably received emails like this "(NAME), we think that customers who ordered (this title) might be interested in the new release (new release's title)."
Amazon is always trying to figure out what you want. And given the inter/multidisciplinarity of my field, I present a particular challenge to Amazon's computer-generated recommendations.
The other day I got one stating that if I liked Feminism and the Female Body: Liberating the Amazon Within, that I might now like the new release, GameFace: The Kickass Guide for Women Who Love Pro Sports.
They couldn't be more wrong. And the fact that Amazon believes that these two books are similar is astounding. The simple tag: women and sports does not make these books similarly appealing.
Feminism and the Female Body is about the potential for social change and empowerment through physical activity. It invokes radical feminist theory, addresses issues of race, age, sexuality, gender, ability, and presents the failings and possibilities of sport and physical activity for women.
I haven't read GameFace (and I don't plan to) but I don't think they are comparable books. Here is a description from Amazon's site:
Here at last is a book for women who love professional sports that is at once smart and saucy, deep and dishy. It’s not a book for women who want to impress their husbands or boyfriends. It’s not a book that gets all worked up over Title IX or Mia Hamm or the virtues of the WNBA. And it’s not a book with a pink cover.
Well thank goodness for that last point anyway. But the description contradicts itself later:
GameFace will inspire female fans everywhere to regale stat-spewing guys at water coolers and sports bars with mesmerizing tales of thrilling victories, agonizing defeats, and the magical (and sometimes hilarious) moments that only pro sports can deliver.
So, in the end, it's still all about impressing guys.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

She speaks

LPGA commissioner Carol Bivens has spoken--just when people were starting to question her silence. Perhaps this was part of the impetus.
Bivens today issued a memo/letter to "LPGA Constituents" of which I am apparently one because I receive the LPGA e-newsletter. But you too can read it in its entirety here before you check out what everyone has to say about it.
I can't imagine it will alter anyone's current opinion (pro or con) of the policy. There is no new information. There are no changes. There are no new explanations of the organization's rationale behind the policy.
Bivens does feel the need to point out that it is "something most players want and fully support." When you are the only game in town--at least the most profitable one--and you control an athlete's ability to earn money in her sport, and the athletes don't seem to have much power in your organization (for whatever reason), one cannot really expect they are going to come out publicly against such a contentious policy.

Something else to consider

I was reading Fat Louie's post about the LPGA policy and then the link to a post at Racewire where a commenter felt that part of the impetus behind the policy was complaints by male amateurs that their pro-am partners could not speak English well enough and thus were not entertaining.
Commenter notes the sexism inherent in such a belief. Women are there for entertainment, including female athletes. But the racism is also incredibly scary. Everyone knows the policy is directed at the Asian golfers. And most are familiar with the stereotypes about Asian women as compliant and entertaining. And some, though probably fewer, know about the various histories of Asian women serving the needs of foreign men including as comfort women in World War II, as prostitutes--throughout time, as mail order brides, etc.

LPGA update

Here's the update: The LPGA is getting a lot of crap about their new language policy that threatens suspension to any player who cannot pass an oral English competency test.
Other sporting organizations are taking the opportunity to boost their reputations noting that they don't have language requirements. That they provide translators. That their athletes will often learn English of their own accord; without pressure. Here's an example from the tennis world.
This NYT piece discusses the business side of the decision and quotes a confused Libba Galloway, the tour's deputy commissioner, who is "puzzled" by all the attention the new policy is receiving. But it also notes that Commissioner Carol Bivens hasn't spoken up publicly in support of it. Methinks she is throwing Galloway, who has been the public mouthpiece for the policy, under teh bus.
I had some concern when the story first broke about all the players rushing to show their (nearly) unequivocal support. Luckily others have taken up the fight against the discriminatory practice. Korean-Americans in California are ticked and have been able to influence members of the state legislature to look into the policy. (There are a lot of tournaments in CA and a lot of CA companies that are LPGA sponsors.)
The majors are over but there is still golf to be played on the LPGA tour this year. I would love to see some protests. (Any suggestions for good slogans? "Discrimination hurts in any language"??) And I am curious, though I think I can predict, how commentators are going to discuss the controversy.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Profile of Jordanian Paralympian

Okay so I didn't realize that the current dearth of coverage of the Paralympic Games was because they haven't actually started yet. I had thought that the Paralympic Games occurred immediately after the Olympic Games and I do believe this has happened in the past (Salt Lake City, for example). But not this time. The Games don't start until September 6.
In the meantime, check out this article about the first Jordanian, Maha Barghouti, to win Paralympic gold. She did so in table tennis in Sydney, 2000.
She is headed to Beijing to compete.
Barghouti was named Arab athlete of the year in 2001 and Jordanian sportsperson of the year in 2002. I think those awards are pretty interesting in lights of a few things. First, we seem to think the (dis)abled athletes need categories of their own. Second, when there are not separate categories (I'm not going to get into the whole separate but equal debate here) sometimes it appears that the inclusion of (dis)abled athletes smacks a little bit of tokenism. [Fat Louie at Women's Sports Blog mentions this briefly in regards to the Women's Sports Foundations annual Sportswomen of the Year Awards). And finally, many people think that the Middle East is a pretty backwards place for women, for female athletes, and for (dis)abled female athletes. Yet that hasn't seemed to affect the positive attention Barghouti has received.