Happy One Week-iversary, Team TOH!
It’s fitting that today, one week since The Other Half opened its virtual doors, is also International Women’s Day. Not only am I pretty pumped to go back through the site today and look over all the awesome articles that have been posted so far, but I’m also proud to celebrate all the amazing women from around the world who have contributed to making our first week a success, either through writing and editing, through sharing TOH with their friends, or through doing something spectacular in the sporting world to inspire us. (Congrats to the Boston Blades on winning the Clarkson Cup!)
International Women’s Day was originally International Working Women’s Day – a celebration of working-class women from around the world who labored to make conditions better for their families. These women, not incidentally, were instrumental in beginning women’s sport during the Industrial Revolution and throughout the Early 20th Century, and their legacy to women’s sport has been largely overlooked. In fact, those of us who are looking forward to cheering on the USWNT (or, you know, other women’s teams who are going to lose to the USWNT) at the upcoming 2015 World Cup owe a debt of gratitude, though we may not realize it, to the women who played for the Munitionette’s Cup in their spare time while working in the factories that built munitions during the First World War. (Congrats to the Blythe Spartans on winning the first Munitionette’s Cup!) One group of women from the Dick, Kerr & Co factory went on to draw 53,000 fans in their match against St. Helen’s Ladies at Goodison Park in December 1921. The popularity of Dick Kerr’s Ladies – often drawing more fans than men’s matches played the same day – led to the English FA banning women’s matches on all member grounds, a ban which would last for 50 years before being withdrawn in 1971.
The history of early women’s sport is often written as largely white and upper class – women with the resources to attend college in the 1800s, for instance, starting a women’s basketball team even as their instructors worried that they might become too fatigued. Still, on today of all days, let’s not forget the women who worked their fingers to the bone for their families and then left it all on the field – or the ice – for their teams. The history of women’s hockey may begin in colleges in Ontario, but it flourished with teams formed by working women like Eaton’s Red Wings (a personal favorite of mine) from Moncton, teams from factories and phone exchanges across Canada who, as athletes do today, viewed unladylike bruises as badges of honor. This International Women’s Day, let’s honor these women, even if their stories are largely unsung.
We’ve got some fantastic articles coming up this next week, and I can’t wait for you to read them. And if you haven’t had time to click around and see what all our writers have covered this week, here’s a brief selection:
- Vicky Davis wrote “The Queer History of Tennis” discussing the difficulties that LGBT athletes still face in tennis even as more and more athletes are coming out.
- Terri King wrote “Rock Climbing Myths – And Why They’re Wrong” which took down some of the reasons women talk themselves out of getting involved in rock climbing as a sport.
- Janice Rochford wrote “Let’s Get Electric” and introduced us to Formula E, the relatively new little sister of Formula One racing.
- Alexandra Corhan wrote “Personal Foul” dealing with her disillusionment – shared by many women – with the NFL in the wake of several scandals over the past year.
- Beth Boyle Machlan wrote “Losing Zucc” about her beloved Rangers and the stages of grief that may (or – spoiler alert – may not) occur when a fan becomes attached to a player.
- Elizabeth Lipes wrote her debut Equipment Manager column on what to do – and what not to do – when attending a game as an away fan.
Thanks to you, readers, for sticking with us this week, and continuing to help us grow. As always – if you have something to say, the comments are open, or you can tweet us at @OtherHalfSports. And if you’re interested in writing for us, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.