WOOOOOOOO! Or, a US Open Finals Recap

If I knew how to Googlebomb, I’d make sure this image appeared anytime someone Googled “fierce.”

How excited am I about this year’s US Open champions? Well, I’m posting two days early, for one thing. But I also had to engage in a serious internal debate about whether to post Serena’s picture or Andy’s first. Ultimately, I decided on Serena because …well, look at that picture. That woman had a life-threatening pulmonary embolism last year, and this year she won two Grand Slams and two Olympic gold medals. (Her victory celebration reportedly included a karaoke rendition of “I Will Survive.”)
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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.

Laura Vikmanis: One Hot Mama!

It’s not often that we here at Ladies… will recognize the efforts of a pro cheerleader.  But after seeing all of the recent buzz around Laura Vikmanis and learning that she is the cousin of a friend in the OH circle, it was pretty hard not to admire her moxie and help share her story with the sports world.  Who is Laura Vikmanis?  More after the jump.

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Ladies’ Linkups: Midterm Eve Edition

Hey peeps! No, I’m not a week late with the election references – it’s just that I have a calculus midterm tomorrow so I’m phoning in it with some required reading from around the interwebs.

So that has started… *sigh* [LoHud Yankees Blog] Oh and this news made me think of you, Maggiesox. [ESPN]

We’ve written about the topic a number of times here at Ladies… in one way or another, but I particularly enjoyed this take. The comments are just as entertaining (and yes, as a Leafs fan, I sympathize) [jezebel]

Craig at Flip Flop Fly Ball recently asked what this past season’s MLB standings would look like if payrolls decided the outcomes of ball games. The answers…probably won’t surprise you in some ways (and then again, the Cubs?)

“We get it, Bee! You miss baseball!” Fine. Could you use a primer on booing etiquette in the NHL? Of course you could! Take it away, Down Goes Brown!

Uh-oh, what’s going on here? (side note: Mr. Bee has taken to calling the Cowboys’ coach WAD Phillips.) [ESPN]

Finally, you may recall our excitement upon hearing that Angela James and Cammi Granato would be part of the 2010 class headed to the Hockey Hall of Fame. They will be officially enshrined tonight. The Globe and Mail has profiles of these fabulous athletes here and here.

(FYI – The Induction Ceremony will be carried on TSN2 tonight at 10 PM Eastern, past my bedtime but chances are I’ll be up studying anyway. Stupid derivatives.)

Five Ways To Spend Labor Day

Twins

Yes, some people have to work today.

Happy last weekend of summer as we know it! For those of you not spending it at work, or moving to your dorm, or counting down the hours until you can put the kids on the school bus, we bring you five ways to spend that (hopefully) least of laborious days. Continue reading

Girls in the Dugout

Chelsea Baker and Joe Niekro in 2006

The last year my brothers played Coach Pitch in Little League, their team was assigned two girls.  This was no big sweat for the head coach (my dad) — not only had he begun his long and varied youth sports coaching career with a stint as my soccer coach, he’d also coached kindergarten teeball, which in our area was co-ed.  What did surprise him, though, was that only one girl showed up to practice. After a week or two,  Dad mentioned to this girl’s mother that she wasn’t supposed to be the only one on the team.

“Oh, I know,” the mom said, “she didn’t want to come after what happened last year.”  Apparently the girls had also been assigned to the same team the year before  – only that head coach had done everything he could to make it clear he did not want girls on his team, from making them go last in every single drill to only playing them the minimum amount of innings required by Little League rules.  Both girls (who, I remind you, were eight years old at the time) stuck it out the full season, but now the other girl couldn’t bear to even try again.

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It’s about time!

Angela James

It’s been a big week for firsts involving women, and you can be forgiven if the first one that comes to mind involves Australia’s new prime minister. This hockey fan, however, was thrilled to learn that the Hockey Hall of Fame has selected two outstanding female players: Cammi Granato and Angela James.

We at Ladies… say “It’s about damn time!” Continue reading

Forget Own The Podium. They Own Our Hearts.

Olympics

Hayley Wickenheiser: OWNS IT!

Canada’s much-ballyhooed “Own The Podium” program to support its Olympic athletes has weathered tremendous criticism for falling short of expectations.

I can’t help but roll my eyes at all of this. You can’t build a development program overnight, and let’s face it: these athletes are obviously doing something right. Much was made of the fact that we had never won gold in Montreal or Calgary. Today, we have eight gold medals. And we still have curling and mens’ hockey to go!

Look, I never expect Canada to be overly dominant at any Olympics. The U.S. and various EU countries regularly kick our asses in the medal count: fact of life. We accept it. Remember, this is a nation that lost its Expos and hasn’t seen the Stanley Cup travel down Yonge Street since 1967. We’re used to not having it all in the sports realm. And that’s OK. We have a rich hockey history and public health care and we can boast that Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot (NOT DEAD!) all hail from here.

What was the point of this post? Oh yeah: CANADIAN OLYMPIANS WE LOVE, EH?

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Ladies… Linkups: “It’s Friday morning and I’m tired” edition

Oh...FFS (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Oh...FFS (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

I’m still feeling the effects of two weeks of sleep deprivation, baseball-related and otherwise. Enjoy these links while I get my act together. Please send for coffee!

It’s from three days ago, but this had us gals in a lather. Many thanks to CuteSports. [ L.A. Times]

Is it too early in the morning for math? Here’s the most recent work of art from Mr. Robinson. [Flip Flop Fly Ball]

Er, um…wow. [Deadspin]

We also say good morning to Ladies… Emeritus The Starter Wife and thank her for the Pizza Dip love!! Now go plan your weekend around her divine French Dip and Blood Orange Bourbon.

And many thanks to Babes Love Baseball for introducing me to the Green Man. I am considerably disturbed now.

No gratutitous hottie this morning as I have a total soft spot for adorable children at baseball games, even if they are cheering for the wrong team.

awww... (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

awww... (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Thank you, Ted Kennedy, from the Ladies of Ladies…

We here at Ladies…don’t like getting into politics. The love of sports is supposed to bring people together. Politics, it seems, always drives people apart. We’re stepping away from that policy today for one reason and for one reason only. You see, we here at Ladies…are, well, ladies. We’re ladies who grew up after Title IX passed, and we have, in no small part, Sen. Ted Kennedy to thank for that.

Whether we competed as high school athletes or not (I ran track until the track season started running headlong into the school musical season, and who can resist greasepaint and the roar of the crowd?), it doesn’t matter. We like sports, and we like watching sports, and like knowing that women can excel at sports. Without Title IX, could we have watched Brandi Chastain tear off her shirt after the women’s World Cup championship in ecstatic glee? Without Title IX, could we have watched Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh dominate in two straight Olympic Games? Without Title IX, would we be able to see Venus and Serena mop up the court, match after match? Maybe. Probably not.

Frankly, it’s interesting that most people think of Title IX in terms only of athletics. (Understandably, since most of the challenges under the law have come in the field of athletics.) That’s not all Title IX did, though. In fact, the original statute never even mentioned athletics. It reads “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” It has been used to ensure equal access to education, and to prevent discrimination against either sex in the classroom. It applies to every aspect of academic life, from your college dorm to your ability to get care at the student health clinic. And ‘you’ means all of you, not just us ladies.

So thank you, Ted Kennedy. We may or may not have agreed with your stances on the issues. We may have voted for you, or we may have campaigned against you. But all of us grew up under Title IX, and for that, as ladies, we thank you.

You Go Girl: Abby Wambach scores 100th goal in hometown

52183_hpCongrats to U.S. Women’s National Team member Abby Wambach who scored her 100th international goal yesterday in a friendly against Canada in her hometown of Rochester, NY.

The achievement was made all the more impressive by the fact that Wambach was playing in just her second international game since breaking both her tibia and fibula just days before the national team began play in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Wambach tied fellow U.S. International Tiffeny Milbrett for the eighth most goals ever scored in women’s international soccer. She scored the 100th goal in just 129 international appearances, making her the second-fastest to the century mark in US women’s soccer history.

In which we yell YOU GO GIRL at Serena and congratulate the record-breaking Federer

The 2009 Wimbledon Winners!

While many things in sports occurred this fine holiday weekend including some tragedy (RIP McNair), obviously the record-breaking performance by Swiss gent Roger Federer at this year’s Wimbledon tourney, along with a vindicating answer back from last year’s loss to her sister by Serena Williams were the talk of the water coolers this morning.

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You go girl: Melanie Oudin

Having turned professional just 16 months ago, 17-year-old Melanie Oudin has advanced to the fourth round of Wimbeldon after defeating world #6 seed Jelena Jankovic in three sets.

Though she was pretty dominant in juniors – at one point she won 27 matches in a row – she has only advanced past the first round of a tournament once since turning pro.

She’s been the surprise of Wimbeldon – to everyone including herself. Turns out she and her coach had already purchased plane tickets home, apparently assuming she wouldn’t make it very far. But she joins Venus and Serena as the only Americans to advance to the fourth round.

From what I’ve read, American tennis fans are looking to her to be the next big American hope. It’s been 12 years since the Williams sisters came on to the scene and everyone has been looking for the next American sensation.

It’s the “big” part of that equation that are leaving people wondering if Oudin can be the new American tennis star. She’s just 5’6″ in a world of Amazonian women – Serena is 5’10″ and Venus is 6’1″.

I don’t know enough about tennis to tell you any more than that, but I’m always all about a girl kicking butt.