Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mother of a Day

Still marking time until the fall, and women’s college basketball starts (oh my gosh, two blogs in one week in the off-season, what is the world coming to?). Yes, C and R know there is the WNBA, and believe you me, we are big supporters, but it is not the same as our beloved Standard team. Probably the biggest impetus to us being bigger WNBA fans is the fact we don’t have a local team here in the Bay Area. C and R have to go all the way to Sacramento, and then they won’t let you take in back packs, and C has to get in an argument with the ushers, and boy does C run into a lot of people with bad tempers, or so it seems, but I digress.

Anyhoo, C and R opened the paper the other day and nearly fainted to see an article by Michelle Smith. She used to write about the Bay Area women’s teams for the San Francisco Chronicle until they booted her in a cost cutting measure. Glad to see she is still writing. Maybe they pay her by article now. She probably got a whole 12 cents (and where is the “cent” sign on my keyboard? Geez, I am in a mood). As I was saying, she wrote an article saying that the WNBA has trimmed its roster from 13 spots to 11, and with the Houston Comets folding, it is even harder to get on a team (you were wondering how I as going to tie it back in to the WNBA, didn’t you?). C and R were totally bummed our beloved Jillian Harmon of Stanford fame, didn’t get on a team. Michele Smith also noted that the WNBA training camps will start two weeks late to give all the WNBA players who play overseas (read: all of them) a chance to come back from their second teams. They make more money there. Now, why is that? Turkey has a women’s team, and they don’t strike C and R as a hotbed of women’s sports, if you know what we mean.

Speaking of playing overseas, C and R were just a little bit proud to see all these overseas championships this year won by former Stanford players. Candice Wiggins’ team, Ros Casares of Valencia, won its third straight Spanish League title. Cissy Pierce’s team, Rhein-Main Baskets, won the Southern Germany League championship. Kristen Newlin’s Turkish Team, Fenerbahce won the Turkish Women's Basketball League championship, and Kristen's teammate is Nicole Powell. Must be something in the water out west. And that is just the teams we know about (or read about in the Stanford Fast Break Club.) So, with May being Mother’s day and all, C and R saw Pretty Tough TV had a video from ESPN of Lisa Leslie talking about Mother’s Day. She says she is giving up her basketball career to concentrate on motherhood, saying she has accomplished all she could in basketball (C and R do like her. A lot!). She was very well spoken and made some interesting comments about women someday playing in the NBA.

And then we saw this interview with Candace Parker being pregnant. All so touching, as C being a mother always loves the mother angle. Oh, oh, we just found out Candace had a baby girl! Congratulations, and I wonder if she can dunk yet?

AND….Since our blog has joined Women Talk Sports Network, C and R have been reading some really fascinating and interesting blogs about women in sports. We saw this post from Sports, Media & Society, about the Lisa Leslie Mother’s Day interview. It is a brief post, so we are ripping it off here:

While the news peg for the story -- Mother's Day -- may have driven the focus, the problem with these kinds of features is that they ultimately weaken the image of female athletes in the sports context because these stories are often done to the exclusion of regular coverage of women's sports. We see far too many stories with this kind of angle -- female athlete outside sports. (Oftentimes, it's in a mode that presents athletes in sexualized images.) Although many female athletes are eager to be cast outside their athletic achievements, the more often they're shown off the court, the less credible they're deemed on it -- any day of the year.
So I call up R and read her the quote and ask…

C: Well, what do you think of that?

R: Excellent.

C: No! I mean, yes, it is excellent, well written and all, but I am bothered by “to the exclusion of” quote. This originally aired on ESPN. They have been pretty good to women’s sports. They show highlights of the WNBA, they dedicate a lot of time to Women’s March Madness Basketball, with shows, pre- and post-coverage and show the games.

R: Look at it this way, if a sports show like ESPN only allowed five minutes of coverage on women’s sports, would you want it to show women in their athletic greatness, or show them around motherhood.

C: *Sigh* Athletic greatness. But it is Mother’s Day.

R: But I do see your point, and if it were Father’s Day I am sure they would show some male athlete with his kids, doing the Dad thing.

C: Yes, exactly. Let’s not deny that athletes can be mothers and fathers.

R: Only if it is enhancing. My main point is that there in generally so little coverage of women’s sports that it feels like when they are focus on something other than the sport, the sport itself gets shortchanged because there is just so little coverage.

C: Whoa, good point.

R: And, yes, hat’s off to ESPN for their to fantastic coverage on March Madness this year. I feel coverage of women’s sports is going up.

C: Going up?! What about the San Francisco Chronicle cutting the one women reporter that covered women’s’ Bay Area basketball.

R: So now a man will cover it.

C: Oh no, no, no. The Chron will just cut and paste the AP wire story that someone else wrote. Then they won’t have to pay any report's salary, man or wo-man, or any reporter's expense account too, and we won’t get personalized coverage, and insiders views from someone who actually goes to all the women’s games.

R: What a shame. Chronicle, if you are listening, shame on you for abandoning women’s college basketball!

C: That’s tellin’ ‘em! More coverage for women’s sports! And not just on Mother's Day!

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