Good for Basketball

Steph Curry & Sabrina Ionescu competing in an NBA Competition. Photo from SportingNews.

The Battle of the Sexes is over. That is, we have reached the point where women and men might compete against each other and both be taken seriously. Where a woman might break a man’s record, a man might beat a woman only by the skin of his teeth, where everyone might watch the contest and come away thinking–that was fun! that was competitive! That was No Joke.

Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu went head to head in a 3 point basketball contest last night as part of the NBA All-Star weekend. Steph won. Steph “edged” Sabrina, as some headlines carefully point out. But NBA fans were “in awe” of both shooters, which is where this ought to be.

Sabrina imitated Steph after beating his record.

Who Are These People?

In case you don’t follow basketball, let me fill in a few of the blanks. Steph Curry is the greatest shooter in basketball history–at least according to Golden State Warriors announcers and fans like me. Steph already passed the NBA all-time 3-point leader (Ray Allen) years ago. He’s 25% ahead of that record. And he’s still playing.

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Too Much Games, Not Enough Sports

I hate to be a cranky ol’ lady, but I’m getting kind of tired of all the sports with so little sports. There’s too much talking about nothing, too much wagering on nothing, and too many things to watch, when there’s even professional tag.

Yappin’ Heads

I was at the gym, putting on my swimsuit, which is a bit time-consuming, so I had a good solid seven minutes to listen unwillingly to the pontificating talking head on the sports channel. He was talking about the poll of college football teams and commenting on the rankings and how they might change depending on who won which game.

Now, I gotta be honest. I don’t care. I went to Cal, whose football team’s goal is to beat Stanford, and that’s that. I went to Chicago, where they had no football team–I don’t even think we had a mascot, did we? (Actually, we did. It’s the phoenix. Of course, the Nobel Prize University would have a f’ing cerebral mascot! )

Still, suppose I did care. Suppose my team was one of those in those rankings or I followed college football. The guy went on for SEVEN MINUTES about these rankings in the following manner:

Now, this choice of ‘Bama being #7 is an interesting choice. Kind of a surprise there. I would have thought maybe higher. But here’s how, if ‘Bama doesn’t beat Oregon in the Viagra Big 13 Championship tomorrow, you’re going to wonder why they made this choice. On the other hand, maybe ‘Bama will win. It’s hard to say. It’s an interesting one. Now on this next one….

What the hell is he talking about? It is already stupid that there is a “ranking,” where numbers are chosen almost at random by an anonymous group of people, and it’s already stupid that they’re spending so much time talking about it. But if you’re going to analyze something, then analyze it.

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Happy Birthday Title IX! Keep on Fighting.

Donna deVarona, who had no college swim programs to attend after the Olympics.

They learned the hard way that even groundbreaking civil rights laws are not self-executing.

Kelly Belanger. Invisible Seasons

Considering that an earthquake of legislation was enacted on June 23, 1972, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the newspaper archives. Title IX isn’t mentioned in the NY Times story on June 24, which references Nixon signing the “School Aid Bill.” The president’s major gripe about the bill is the lack of restriction on school busing. A tiny note towards the bottom mentions that colleges would lose funding if they discriminated against women in admission policies.

Front page of the NYT when Title IX is signed; most of the discussion about the Higher Education bill is about busing.
Title IX, almost a footnote at the time. Photo from

On that day, Kissinger was in talks with “Peking.” The Hurricane Agnes flood was devastating Pennsylvania. The president held a press conference on Domestic Matters, whose first question was about what the administration knew about the break-in at the Democratic Headquarters the previous week. Nixon said, “I know nothing.”

Looking back now, you’d think there was a switch flipped somehow (by Nixon) and voila! Megan Rapinoe and the WNBA burst like fireworks on to the scene. But that’s misleading. Title IX was a slow burn. People at the time didn’t see the fire kindled and, when they did, tried various endeavors to stamp it out. Those pushing for it were political animals, jockeying for position. No one thought about women playing sports. Some of the best ideas come as unintended consequences.

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