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Archive for the ‘Sports Journalism’ Category

On November 4, for the first time in American major motocross publication history, a female rider will be  featured in action on the cover or a major magazine.

Ashley Fiolek, the 2008 WMA Women’s Motocross Champion, will be featured on the cover of TransWorld Motocross Magazine.

Fiolek, a 17-year-old rider, is the leader in the only women’s professional motorsport series in the U.S. this season. All this – and it was only her first pro season, she’s deaf, and she suffered a midseason broken wrist.

That’s right – Fiolek is a deaf rider. EXPN reported that in addition to her WMA win, Ashley also was a contributor to a monthly column called “Silence” in TransWorld Motocross Magazine.

“Though their numbers are few, women’s racing is an important part of our sport,” said Transworld Motocross’ Editor-in-Chief Donn Maeda.

“Amazing not only because she’s deaf, but also for her talent on a bike, Ashley Fiolek will help take women’s motocross to the next level. I am proud to have her on our cover.”

Transworld is, in fact, making an investment in girls as riders. For example, on Thursday, October 23rd, they held their first ever TWMX Girl’s Learn to Ride day at the Honda Rider Education Center in Colton, CA. Girls from every part of the motocross industry came out to get dirty and learn how to ride a dirt bike like a pro.

This is a great accomplishment for both Fiolek and Transworld Motocross magazine. I should expect to see many more women’s faces appearing on that publication.

Because Donn Maeda mentioned that it’s an important part of their sport, I should expect that importance reflected in the editorial content of the publication (and all other motocross publications for that matter).

For more information on Ashley, check out AshleyFiolek.com.

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Viral video campaigns could be the much-needed answer to bringing deserved attention to women’s baketball.

Of the sports-related viral videos that I’ve seen, Gonzaga takes the lead – by far – with their newly-launched Inspired Season campaign to sell season tickets.

Stay with me here, this is fun.

By definition, a viral video is a video clip that gains popularity through the process of Internet sharing, typically through email or IM messages, blogs or other media sharing websites. [Think funny YouTube videos such as The Evolution of Dance or “I Got a Crush… on Obama.”]

As you can imagine, my attention was caught when I came across a viral video for women’s basketball. After reading a posting by Adrants (a site that evaluates advertisiments) which said Gonzaga’s efforts to sell season tickets were “well-executed,” I was thrilled – and very, very eager to check it out.

Essentially, Gonzaga University created a microsite (a URL that is separate from the University) called Inspired Season, which is dedicated toward a goal of selling season tickets for only $75. The main feature of this site is its viral video which is interactive through Web AND mobile technology.

The video features Gonzaga’s coach, Kelly Graves, who motivates you to buy tickets and inspires his team to take the court.

Adrants blogger Angela Natividad said,

“To sell tickets for its women’s basketball games, Gonzaga University produced a well-executed online campaign that makes your attendance feel vital.”

This campaign is so good – in fact – that Dan Heath, author of Made to Stick, claims he wanted to buy a pack after engaging the campaign, even though he’s, like, 2,600 miles from Spokane.

It’s important to note that coach Graves, 20 years ago, left a job with a finance company to commit his future to coaching women’s basketball. In 2007, he told Spokesmanreview that he “loved” coaching women’s basketball and never was entised to take a men’s job.

So here he is, leading Gonzaga’s program into his eighth season as the school’s winningest coach and leading women’s basketball into a new age of interactive video awareness campaigns.

To see the campaign, visit Inspired Season.

Did it make you want to buy season tickets? $75 is pretty cheap!

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The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) held the 2008 Annual Salute to Women in Sports last night in New York City.

I would have loved to have gone to this, but unfortunately, I’m not exactly “financially inclined” enough to afford the $1200 seat at the table.

Regardless, this is a great event that supports an incredibly important cause, and I’m so glad it was a success. Thank you, WSF, for all that you do.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation,

“More than 70 of the planet’s top athletes and a handful of celebrities — including award-winning CNN reporter, Christiane Amanpour and Jill Hennessey, star of the television series “Crossing Jordan” — gathered at the Waldorf=Astoria to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports. The event raised more than $1 million that will be turned into grants and educational and advocacy-related programming.”

Click here to see a photo show of the event.

Below are those who went home last night with awards:

– Sportswoman of the Year (Individual): Nastia Liukin

Sportswoman of the Year (Team): Jessica Mendoza

– Wilma Rudolph Courage Award: Patience Knight

– Billie Jean King Contribution Award: Women’s Tennis Association

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I read something interesting today on a popular male sports blog, With Leather.

This news certainly caught my attention, but this blogger’s opinion left me a bit less than thrilled. (Check out the picture to the right for example A)

According to the Wall Street Journal, because fewer and fewer men are going hunting, the sport has started to target women.

Apparently, they’re trying everything from “pink guns to gender-specific hunting courses.” Also, they’re looking for hunting spokeswomen, creating specially-tailored weapons, such as lighter crossbows and apparel makers such as SHE Safari and Foxy Huntress LLC are marketing camouflage expressly to women.

With Leather mentioned that womenhunters.com offers support.

Now, of course, since With Leather is so deeply involved in casting opinion on some of the world’s greatest athletes, you’d expect him to make an intelligent comment from all of this, right?

Wrong. Think again.

Here’s what With Leather had to say:

“First of all, do NOT waste your time at WomenHunters.com.  I went there expecting tips on hunting women, and it left a lot to be desired.  Why can’t I get a little support here?  I’ve been targeting women for years, and the Wall Street Journal hasn’t written dick about me.  I can’t even get a license.  Apparently hunting women is only legal in Ohio and Texas.”

Ah, how refreshed and inspired I feel from reading that.

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I must say – it’s exciting when you browse through the NCAA’s student-athlete blogs and come across an NCAA Division III blog from an athlete at your former college. I’m so glad to see Laura Delaney, the captain of the women’s soccer team at The College of New Jersey posting her thoughts on this season on NCAA.com.

You may not be as excited as I am, but I think this is a leap forward for both TCNJ and the NCAA, as least as far as editorial coverage of female sports is concerned. Providing student-athlete blogs across divisions of sport is a stellar idea. Each individual athlete has a personal idea and story and perspective to share with the world.

Newspapers  — if they’re smart — can draw content from these blogs and frame stories around them. Athletes — if they’re smart — will be completely honest. Athletic departments — if they’re smart — will not put heavy restrictions on what the athletes write.

Even though Laura has only written about four posts, the idea of this option for her is novel.

This is a great opportunity for Laura to find her own perspective on the season. Her blog can act as a personal diary – a measure of success in terms of attitude and outlook. She can push herself through the goals she sets and writes about and she can measure success based upon whether or not these goals were met.

Right now, TCNJ women’s soccer is 7-3-1 on the season. The three losses were to Smarthmore, Montclair State and Steven’s Tech.

In her October 10 post, just two days after her teams’ loss to Steven’s Tech, she provides some great commentary of what it’s like to be a captain in the face of adversity:

“It is hard to convince thirty girls that despite numerous setbacks, there is a chance to succeed and push beyond the limits of expectations. It was even harder to convince myself. I do not doubt for a second that my team is a group of talented, hardworking girls and together, as a group we can be successful. In both our wins and our losses of the season we have proven to be ample competitors but an underlying sense of restlessness and fear reside in our team mentality.”

Those words serve as a message to her team – she’s saying that she still believes in them and they need to get past their fears to become winners.

I hope this blog develops to be useful for her. I’m so happy to see she was chosen to write for NCAA, and I wish her and the rest of the women’s soccer program at TCNJ the best of success.

I just wish she’d post a few more blogs to keep us, her team and the rest of the NCAA in the loop with how she’s doing.

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Yesterday’s WNBA action was certainly exciting for both the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. The Detroit Shock beat NY Liberty 64-55, and LA Sparks were eliminated by San Antonio Silver stars, 76-72.

The two heroes of the day were Deanna Nolan of the Detroit Shock (pictured on the right) and Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Stars.

Deanna Nolan scored 22 points to lead the Shock in their victory over the Liberty in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday. They play again tonight at 7pm EST on ESPN2.

In the West, Becky Hammon led the Silver Stars in their Western Conference Championship by scoring 35 points and making four free throws in the final 36 seconds.

It was definately an exciting day for the WNBA. Tonight’s matchup will be equally exciting; I just wish we wasn’t so overpowered by all of the football coverage going on right now.

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The Big Lead, one of the most-read, popular sports blogs on the Web posted today about lesbian relationships in college basketball.

His source: The Dallas Morning News (great pick! <insert sarcasm here>). This story discusses a female basketball player named Jennifer Colli at SMU who is suing the school and its head coach basketball Rhonda Rompola for revoking her scholarship.

This all happened after Colli complained to the athletic director about “inappropriate questions and comments” regarding her sex life and other gay relationships on the team.

Now, of course The Big Lead will have something intelligent to say about this, since they’re so familiar…

“In football, we could see Urban Meyer shouting at Tim Tebow on the sideline, “What’s the matter, man, you get so much ass last night that you can’t focus?” and teammates laughing. But for a coach to say, ‘hey Sally, did you spend all night gettin’ busy with Suzie?’ and both Sally and Suzie were in the huddle, well, that’s pretty messed up.”

Actually, dude, BOTH of those situations are wrong… for multiple reasons.

First, college sports is a job. And nobody should be discussing anyone else’s relationships OR sex life. It’s something that needs to remain private, because (obviously) too many people have differing opinions.

Second, college coaches have no right to pry or ask their players about things going on in their personal lives, no matter what the nature.

Third, these things should NEVER be discussed in front of other players, if at all.

As for Urban Meyer shouting to Tim Tebow, that’s ridiculous, incredibly degrading, sexist and also inappropriate.

I have to say, with the WNBA FINALS happening over the weekend, don’t you think The Big Lead could find something slightly more interesting in women’s sports to talk about?

If you really want to be disgusted, check out the comments.

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