Believe it: pro sports just got more inclusive. Laura Ricketts is now an owner of the Chicago Cubs. She is also an out lesbian who serves on the board of Lambda Legal, which is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and people living with HIV/AIDS.
This means that the Cubs have the first openly gay owner in Major League Baseball's 140-year history. What's more: Ricketts is the first openly gay owner of any professional sports team in the United States--football, basketball, hockey, and soccer included.
I get quite a bit of surprised responses when folks find out that I'm an avid sports fan. An incredulous "You really know your shit," says someone, or maybe, more derisively, "Where did that come from?" Or else, I get a well-meaning affirmation that I'll make some guy very lucky (presumably because the guy will get to share his presumed sports fandom with his girlfriend).
These are the reactions that come from folks who simply don't expect females to know much about sports. But there's another kind of surprised response that I get from progressive friends who don't buy into sports and, especially, sports culture. They will point out that the sports world is saturated with macho posturing. It frequently excuses the bad behavior of its heroes; it celebrates brute force; it's history is poisoned by cheating and drug-use; and it is often actively and explicitly hostile to women.How, these friends wonder, can I get into it? How could I possibly reconcile my feminism with it?Well, folks, I do, and quite passionately so. (Though of course I have my eyes wide open; it is because of my love of sports that I intend to not ever justify the worst of it).Why that love? Consider ...
Meet Majka Burhardt. She is a professional climber and writer who is especially committed to seeking out "first ascents and cultural connection." A guide for nearly a decade, Burhardt has led a range of climbing disciplines, from high-altitude mountaineering expeditions to multi-pitch alpine rock climbs. She lives (most of the time) in Boulder, Colorado.
I admit it: I thought the cacophony following the rape charges against NFL star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was going to be louder. You could say I "Steeler-ed" myself for it, actually. Last summer's charges that Big Ben raped a woman at a Lake Tahoe casino-hotel cued a throwdown that's typical when a high-profile athlete is accused of such a crime--victim-blaming and chest-puffing defenses of Roethlisberger were the least of it. Feminists and others with common sense spoke up loudly when ESPN issued an absurd "do not report" memo to its staff, and when the Lake Tahoe hotel was charged with covering up the rape. Whatever the results of the charges, no one was going to get away with propping up the architecture of rape culture.
It looks like the Detroit Shock, three-time WNBA champions, may be going the way of the Seattle Sonics ... that is, to Oklahoma. Why can't ESPN or Sports Illustrated be bothered to cover it? Or anything to do with pro women ballers, for that matter?
It's ironic because he's such an old school Mexican man. He grew up in Mexico and immigrated here when he was a teen. He didn't think it was proper for me to hang out with my friends who were boys when I had a boyfriend. He's actually pretty conservative and I think became more so after I moved out of the house.
OK, so before addressing the controversy surrounding the use of the word "lame" in my earlier post (that one's gonna take some time), allow me to share some videos I stumbled upon while gathering my thoughts on the WNBA. They're all of women who can dunk. And, while I'm partially of the mind that women dunking might actually diminish what makes women's hoops special, it's still pretty cool to behold. So check it out (sorry—some of the footage is a little grainy):