Ladies… Links: Farewell, Andy Edition

Last Friday night, I sat on a plane to the West Coast and watched what turned out to be Andy Roddick’s penultimate career victory.  Had the weather cleared a bit faster Wednesday, I could have seen the end of his final match on the return flight, but the remains of Isaac lingered in New York just long enough to make sure the match restarted and ended in the time it took us to get home from the airport.  So my last true memory of Andy Roddick as a tennis player (because he is surely as destined for a commentating career as McEnroe) will be of him firing on all cylinders, reducing (with the partisan crowd’s help) his 19 year old opponent to near paralysis with his shot selection and wicked serve.  It’s a nice companion to my other key memory of Roddick, the legendary Wimbledon final he lost to Federer.

Continue reading

Pat Summitt: A Post-Title IX Baby’s Tribute

I have no particular attachment to Pat Summitt or Tennessee women’s basketball.  I came of age after Title IX, where women’s sports, if not always culturally or popularly supported, at least had an acknowledged right of existence.  The way I understood it during my childhood, Pat Summitt was like any other great coach in her chosen sport; famous, respected, and of course, the architect of teams you never wanted your favorite team to run into in the tournament.

I didn’t know back then, that she started coaching Tennessee before the NCAA Women’s Tournament even existed, for a salary of $250 a month.  I didn’t know that the women’s Olympic team she played on, in 1976, was the first ever women’s basketball event at the Olympics.  (Seriously, go read her Wikipedia page, it’s like a primer in women’s sports history.) For someone my age, she was just always there, glaring over the court from the sidelines.  The media fanfare over her retirement is remarkable because it’s not suprising, simply her due as a prominent figure in her field.

Best of luck, Pat. And thanks.

Are you a “Lady” or not?

I had a Twitter conversation with a few people last night over the use of “Lady” before a team mascot name to denote women’s sports versus men’s sports at the high school and college levels.

One person made the argument that by having the “Lady” qualifier, women’s sports are being separated and there’s an implication that they aren’t on the same level as men’s.

The other person felt that getting upset over the use of “Lady” was taking political correctness too far. They said they’d never even thought about the topic until someone else brought it up and felt that there was no underlying problem with differentiating between the two.

A quick internet search didn’t pull up any history in terms of the first use of “Lady,” but I hypothesized last night that the origin may have come from newspapers needing a way to distinguish between the teams when covering the sports.

It also likely had its origin in the early part of the 20th century, when being called a “Lady” would have been flattering and possibly used as a way to feminize sports and the athletes who played them.

One of the things I most hate about the use of the “Lady” qualifier is when it creates incongruous names. Here in Milwaukee there’s a Catholic high school who’s nickname is the Popes, meaning the girls teams are known as the Lady Popes.

There are a few cases where the “Lady” moniker has gone beyond use in recaps and has become an accepted part of the team’s name. The Tennessee women’s basketball team is known as the Lady Vols.

As someone who’s had to write recaps of four games at one school in one night, I appreciate the ability to have the “Lady” qualifier at my disposal to be able to help differentiate the articles and make sure the reader knew which sport was being discussed

I also admit to being annoyed when I go to my favorite college’s website and read a headline and am not sure which team is being discussed, so in that way I would appreciate the use of “Lady.”

But those are both opinions tempered by my background in journalism. I can see the need to have a way to distinguish between the men’s and women’s sides for clarity and that tends to outweigh my feminist instinct on the matter.

I find myself not particularly bothered by the use of “Lady,” but I feel like I should be more annoyed. Normally any sort of distinction that separates women from men would get my hackles up, so I’m not sure why I’m so unmoved by this issue.

What do you all think? Acceptable usage or inappropriate separation tactic? Does the very mention of a “Lady” team make your blood boil and you start yelling “Oh hell no!” or are you as ambivalent as I am?

Hit and Run: Football, Football, and more Football!!

The NFL regular season is over. With Alabama winning the BCS National Championship game, college football won’t be back until next fall. For those of you who play fantasy football, a winner has already been decided. (Congrats to THE Blonde Bomber for winning the ladies… fantasy football!) But don’t be too sad. There is still plenty going on in the football world. There’s coaching changes in college football. New coaches in the NFL. And mostly importantly there’s the NFL playoffs!! The Cowboys remembered how to win in January (which didn’t make me very happy). The Patriots got slaughtered by the Ravens (which did make me happy). This weekend is a new set of games that will hopefully be more entertaining than the Wild Card games. (Admit it, aside from the Cards/Packers game, all those games were pretty boring.)

Congrats to Bama for beating the Longhorns 37-21 in the BCS title game.

Continue reading

15 Yards for Fugliness: A Photographic Survey of Nike’s New Football Uniforms

Over the last few weekends, Nike has been previewing their latest attempt to “improve” athletic apparel on several premiere NCAA Division I (yeah, that’s what I still call it) football programs.  Now, perhaps these uniforms, designed to be ultra light and form fitting, are functionally a worthy advance, but from a sartorial viewpoint, well, my inner Tim Gunn was making this face. A lot.

A brief survey of some of Nike’s designs after the jump.

Continue reading