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Archive for the ‘tennis’ Category

According to the NCAA, on Sunday, Kelcy McKenna of Arizona State defeated  Auburn’s Fani Chifchieva to become the ITA All-American Champion for women’s tennis. McKenna beat Chifchieva 6-4, 6-3 in a straight-set win.

This is McKenna’s second season with the Sun Devils. The 5-9 sophomore from North Bend, Oregon had a stellar first season with the Sun Devils… was ranked #27 this season… recorded a total of 33 wins in singles play, most on the team.

McKenna is ASU’s third ITA All-American in two years.

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In today’s issue of USA Today, we earned an entire section of the paper. Its title: “Women in Sports.”

I almost jumped out of my chair when I started reading. Seven complete pages of content and photos of women who have completed milestones in sport.

The cover article is particularly interesting.

Heather Tucker published a groudbreaking article in the world of women’s sports. She discussed the heroines of milestones of the past, heroines of the present and obstacles that lie ahead for the future of female sports. If you haven’t done so already, please go check it out here.

She discussed Billie Jean King’s defeat of Bobby Riggs in 1973 in the “Battle of the Sexes,” a day after Title IX was passed.

She said, “King, who accepted Riggs’ challenge to play a televised match at the Houston Astrodome, soundly defeated him in three sets and put a damper on critics’ voices that women could not compete with men.”

Awesome. Totally awesome. I wish I were alive for that moment. Even though I wasn’t I know that what she did affected my ability to compete and succeed in sports twenty years later.

Tucker then pointed to Candace Parker, calling her a hero of today’s image of women’s sports due to her ability to beat five male competitors in the 2004 McDonald’s All-American Game, including Josh Smith, who won the NBA dunk contest the nest year.

She also mentioned Danica Patrick’s milestone in her “breakthrough” Indy-car race in Japan in April, when she became the first woman to triumph in a national oval-track touring circuit (Indy Racing League or NASCAR).

Then, Tucker talked about perceptions, and how the above milestones have inspired and influenced young women to compete on the playing fields today.

She said, “Perceptions of what women are capable of and what they can offer have been elevated thanks in part to these stars.”

Then, she wrapped up by highlighting the challenges that lie ahead, such as coaching, managing and team ownership, areas of influence that women have yet to solidly break through in terms of a “glass ceiling” in sports.

This is an incredibly crafted article. In my opinion, it’s too short. A lot of names are missing from this list of heroines. It takes much more than three influencers to break barriers. It takes an army, and decades of time and struggle.

Hopefully one day we’ll get there. Until then, articles like these will help keep the spirit alive. Thanks USA Today.

Other stories include player profiles on Jackie Joyner Kersee, Pat Summit, Mary Lou Retton, Janet Guthrie, Anny Meyers Drysdale, Nancy Lopez, Leslie Visser, Dot Richardson, and Brandi Chastian.

A separate article discussed sports marketers and how their altering their pitches as more female fans tune into sports. That particular article along warrants another post from me. I’ll be back in just a moment with more. (so excited!)

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Tennis is one of the women’s sports (along with women’s golf) which has been able to attract a large amount of journalistic attention. Part of that, in my opinion, is due to the Williams’ sisters ability to perform, and perform well against each other. Wednesday night’s match between Serena and Venus did just that.

According to The New York Times, last night’s quarterfinal match at the U.S. Open went to Serena, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7), giving her a 9-8 lead in this series. However, Venus’s 125-mile-an-hour serve is definately something to watch. Can you imagine trying to hit that?

Do the sisters like playing against each other? The NY Times says,

Serena, a few weeks shy of 27, was on record as saying that it stinks to have to play Venus, just turned 28, so early, but the competition itself seems to have become business as usual, as the sisters play for themselves.

Because the Williams sisters played on the court named for Billie Jean-King, they discussed her opinion of the sisters, as well as her new book, Pressure Is a Privilege: Lessons I’ve Learned From Life and the Battle of Sexes (LifeTime Media, Inc).

In the book, says the NY Times, King describes the thrill of watching Venus accept the champion’s check of $1.4 million at Wimbledon in 2007, and how Venus said live on the BBC, “No one loves tennis more than Billie Jean King.” And then Venus addressed King: “I love you. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.”

Whether the sports ability to draw attention is due to icons of the past like Billie Jean King or phenoms of the present like Serena and Venus, or the Open’s decision to hold a subsequent match between Nadal and Fish immediately after the Williams’ show, we’ll never know.

It should also be noted that another possible reason W.T.A. (Women’s Tennis Association) is able to draw so much attention is due to their innovative marketing skills and strategy. For instance, WTA just announced a new revenue sharing plan for players and a revamped ranking system to emphasize the important tournaments. Plus, the W.T.A. officially approved on-court coaching for next year – they’ll be wearing microphones to bring fans “closer to the game”.

But having bloggers from The New York Times following every serve, volley and replay of the U.S. Open, discussing women’s competition regularly and fairly, is truly an accomplishment for us in general. I hope other sports can soon follow in their footsteps.

To follow the action of the tournament, check out the U.S. Open site.

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For nearly two hours on Saturday, the Williams family rocked the tennis world’s grandest stage as they battled at Wimbledon. Unfortunately for Serena, Venus has the best standing record at the All England Club; her 7-5, 6-4 victory gave her a fifth singles title, leaving Serena with just two.

According to the New York Times, Serena explained to reporters that “there’s nothing to be satisfied about.”

However, it seemed she cheered up later in the night as she and her sister joined forces to win their third women’s doubles title, beating Lisa Raymond of the United States and Samantha Stosur of Australia, 6-2, 6-2.

But for many, the singles match was the highlight of the day. Two sisters with similar background and genetic makeup, battling for one of the most prestigious titles in the sport.

Many tennis enthusiasts say the one thing Venus has that makes her so incredibly hard to beat is her height: she’s 6 feet 1 inches tall (compared to her sister, who stands at 5 feet 10 inches tall), allowing her to cover a lot of ground at the net.

Also, her serves are incredibly fast. In the first game of the second set, Venus hit the fastest serve ever recorded by a woman at Wimbledon, 129 miles per hour.

I think this proves one thing and one thing only: Venus was giving it everything she had, and she came out on top, making history. I think it’s safe to say that Saturday’s match served as another thrilling moment in women’s sports.

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If you’re just out of college and you’re trying to get in shape but can’t seem to motivate yourself to get to the gym every day, I’ve got an answer for you. Try rec sports.

As a former athlete, I didn’t really know what to do with myself when I realized it was all over. I took a few months off to recuperate, but soon got bored. So in an effort to get active and meet some people, I joined Head First Sports Leagues, in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area.

Through Head First, I’ve met a great group of friends who I hang out with often. Through a contact, I even got involved in coaching. Playing rec sports is a great way to meet people and have fun. After our games, we often go out in Georgetown and have a beer or two and watch some sports games (which is very common).

I’m involved in women’s basketball (competitive), coed basketball (competitive) and coed soccer. I also try and play for my work’s softball team, if I can make any of the games. The kids on these teams are just like me. They’re looking for an outlet other than the expensive booze during happy hour. I don’t know about other cities, but in this one, rec sports is extremely popular.

In Washington, DC, on a beautiful weekday night, if you go to the National Mall, you will see about a hundred different sports games going on at one time. From kickball to Rugby, flag football and softball (and other creative games), young professionals are gearing up and getting active. And it’s a really cool thing.

For more information on collegiate sports, check out the National As. You can also check out Recleagues.com

If you’re in a specific city, just Google “rec sports” and your city see what you find in your area. I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Don’t be shy. Get out there and play. It’s

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