Mister Women’s Sports: 2010 Engagement Calendar

23 01 2010

One of my regular customers is a youth soccer coach. When the stars align and he isn’t on the phone, we get in some soccer talk before he’s back on the road, beer in tow. Yesterday was a “stars aligning” moment and he asked in passing if I saw the “USA Women”. Um, which USA women? The U-20 team beat Jamaica and he was very impressed with the team.

“But,” he said with an air of despondency, “you probably don’t care about women’s soccer anyway.”

What!

The stars aligned alright… I had just plunked down the cash for Saint Louis Athletica season tickets. I say often that I’m not made of money and I really have a tight budget, so when the opportunity window opened I got the tickets now as next payday would have been out of the question. I’ll only be able to make it to one game this season (at best), but I’m adamant about supporting Women’s Professional Soccer any way I can, even in my limited capacity.

Just the same, I do have a bandwidth limit. I had no idea about the U-20 game because I haven’t been watching Fox Soccer Channel lately (Hull City is too damn depressing). I had no idea that the Australian Open was going on, but once I tuned in I have been suffering through the massive time zone difference but enjoying the tournament and especially Martina Navratilova’s commentary. Seriously, if the Tennis Channel is available in your area, or maybe their online streaming contains her commentary as well, check it out. What Brandi Chastain was to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Martina Navratilova is to the 2010 Australian Open.

I haven’t been able to catch very many NCAA Women’s Basketball games because they’re either not available through Verizon FiOS (boo), or I’m wrapped up in other engagements. I don’t think I have seen a Tennessee game yet this season. Or Stanford. I did see a few Michigan State games and don’t think Allyssa DeHaan is WNBA material, sorry. UConn/Duke was interesting right around the end of the first half, then I left the room and came back later in the second half and I think Duke has since dismantled its Women’s Basketball program. UConn did most of the work, if so.

I noticed a blurb flash by on the NHL Network that Women’s College Hockey was going to be televised earlier this month, and I raced to set the DVR. The game was a doubleheader called “Frozen Fenway“. Since the NHL Winter Classic was held at Fenway Park, I assumed the playing surface was for that event only and was removed immediately after the game. No. I wonder if there are no ice rinks in Boston because the announcers said that the playing surface was used by anyone and everyone immediately after the game. After my “discovery” of women’s hockey I felt like a flaming idiot for not knowing the scope and breadth of female involvement in the sport, but new feel somewhat better after hearing players on the college teams say that guys at the school have no idea that they have a women’s hockey team on campus. “Oh, you mean field hockey?” No, ice hockey.

One interesting stat that came out of that event was that back in the days of the 1990 Olympics (if I recall the stat correctly), there were about 500 registered female hockey players in the US. Now that number is over 40,000.

While cruising around the internet looking for things to do in Dallas, I “discovered” the Dallas Diamonds women’s pro football team. I wrote about the Women’s Football Alliance earlier, but the Diamonds hail from a different league. They play at a high school football stadium.

It’s only January, but my women’s sports calendar is filling up quickly.

  • RWHL Hockey: January 31 (part of my personal “Hockey Weekend Across America” activities)
  • NCAAW Basketball (whenever I can catch some games on TV, no on-site visits planned this season)
  • 2010 Vancouver Olympics (Women’s Hockey for sure): February
  • 2010 Australian Open (In progress)
  • Women’s Professional Soccer: Starts in April
  • WFTDA Roller Derby: Starts in April(?)
  • WNBA: Starts in May(?)
  • IWFL Dallas Diamonds: Starts April 3 against the Houston Energy (Confidential to Petrel: Your home team is the Atlanta Explosion.)
  • NCAAW Volleyball: Fall
  • NCAAW Soccer: Fall

I’m wrapped up in men’s sports as well:

  • CHL Allen Americans Hockey (in progress – I am going to buy a 5-game miniplan tonight)
  • NHL Dallas Stars hockey (in progress)
  • 2010 Australian Open (in progress)
  • ESPN Winter X Games: Late January (I’m not usually into “extreme” sports but for some dumb reason I get hooked every time on the X Games)
  • 2010 NFL Super Bowl: February (Geaux Saints)
  • 2010 Vancouver Olympics (Various): February
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup: June
  • 2010 Tour de France: Fall
  • NCAA College Football: Fall (On U Northwestern…)
  • NFL New Orleans Saints football: Fall

I have “retired” from Major League Soccer. I don’t have the bandwidth or interest to continue my active support.

Add to this my new subscription to ICE Magazine and I’m pretty well booked into the coming century with sporting events.

Note: These are just the events I know about as of today.

The above information isn’t solely for the benefit of puffing up my own ego, and breaking my arm patting myself on the back about how much women’s sports cred I might have. (Not much, truth be told.) Take a moment to mull over the above list, knowing that it is just a smattering of what is going on out there right now. Viewed through the lens of a single league, team, coach, owner, or player, it can seem like the end is nigh for women’s athletics. And I don’t deny that battles over Title IX are still being waged to this day. But more and more opportunities for female involvement in sports are being created. Opportunities that did not exist 10 years ago. To me, that’s a big deal.

To you ladies, if you’re interested in participating in sports or are responsible for a child who is, I hope that’s encouraging.

See you at the games.

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