Women Athletes

What do you think of when you think of women in sports? Or perhaps, I should ask: who do you think of?

Of course there are the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. And the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx basketball teams. And…gosh, I almost forgot…the beach babes who play volleyball! Do not criticize my vocabulary! When I searched the computer for “women’s professional volleyball”, all I got were photos of bikini-clad women. A similar search for “men’s pro teams” produced loads of photos of men in modest knee-length shorts and t-shirts.

My original question was to identify women sportscasters. I found a list of the top ten or twenty — complete with photos of smiling faces framed with curly blond hair, barely visible atop half-exposed breasts. The clincher were the profiles. Almost every one had been a cheerleader for a men’s pro team.

Still, names of famous women in sports continue to show up. Women like Billie Jean King who trounced an audacious outspoken Bobby Riggs in a widely heralded tennis match. Or the talented Sonja Henie who dressed up movies in the 1930s with her exquisite dimpled smile; hardly anyone realizes Ms. Henie was an three-time Olympic champion, winning three gold medals before becoming a movie star.

Or the great-great Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrickson Zaharias, voted the outstanding woman athlete of the 20th century. She was an all-around champion in golf, track and field, baseball, basketball, and anything she took a hand to. While playing baseball with her brothers in the 1920s, she hit five home runs in one game. In the 1930s, she pitched an inning for the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game with the Philadelphia Athletics. She broke world track records in Olympic competition, and in 1949 co-founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association with Patty Berg.

These are just three of the women on whose shoulders Serena and Venus stand. Other shoulders include those of Gertrude Ederle, Fay Fuller, Helen Wills Moody, Althea Gibson, Tenley Albright, Wilma Rudolph, Diane Crump, Mary Decker, Janet Guthrie, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Debi Thomas, Martina Navratilova, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Lizzie Murphy, and Jackie Mitchell… and oh-so-many more. These are the women who cleared the way for today’s women to excel in all fields of sports.

I just published a book titled Pandora’s Hunnert Januarys: Watching 20th Century Women Fly Out of the Box, which includes many women “firsts” and record-setters — women who discovered their skills and shared them. The story of Pandora Whaley’s fictional life is told by the decade, a fiction/nonfiction account of the status of women throughout the last century. The book includes actual accomplishments of more than 500 real women — from athletes, writers, and artists to generals and senators.

Oh, you didn’t recognize Lizzie Murphy and Jackie Mitchell? They played professional baseball with all-male minor league teams in the late ’20s and ’30s — one a  crackerjack at first base and one  a 17-year-old pitcher who struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in 1931. These two women alone make great stories.

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Women Athletes

What do you think of when you think of women in sports? Or perhaps, I should ask: who do you think of?

Of course there are the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena. And the Seattle Storm and Minnesota Lynx basketball teams. And…gosh, I almost forgot…the beach babes who play volleyball! Do not criticize my vocabulary! When I searched the computer for “women’s professional volleyball”, all I got were photos of bikini-clad women. A similar search for “men’s pro teams” produced loads of photos of men in modest knee-length shorts and t-shirts.

My original question was to identify women sportscasters. I found a list of the top ten or twenty — complete with photos of smiling faces framed with curly blond hair, barely visible atop half-exposed breasts. The clincher were the profiles. Almost every one had been a cheerleader for a men’s pro team.

Still, names of famous women in sports continue to show up. Women like Billie Jean King who trounced an audacious outspoken Bobby Riggs in a widely heralded tennis match. Or the talented Sonja Henie who dressed up movies in the 1930s with her exquisite dimpled smile; hardly anyone realizes Ms. Henie was an three-time Olympic champion, winning three gold medals before becoming a movie star.

Or the great-great Mildred Ella “Babe” Didrickson Zaharias, voted the outstanding woman athlete of the 20th century. She was an all-around champion in golf, track and field, baseball, basketball, and anything she took a hand to. While playing baseball with her brothers in the 1920s, she hit five home runs in one game. In the 1930s, she pitched an inning for the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game with the Philadelphia Athletics. She broke world track records in Olympic competition, and in 1949 co-founded the Ladies Professional Golf Association with Patty Berg.

These are just three of the women on whose shoulders Serena and Venus stand. Other shoulders include those of Gertrude Ederle, Fay Fuller, Helen Wills Moody, Althea Gibson, Tenley Albright, Wilma Rudolph, Diane Crump, Mary Decker, Janet Guthrie, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Debi Thomas, Martina Navratilova, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Lizzie Murphy, and Jackie Mitchell… and oh-so-many more.

I just published a book titled Pandora’s Hunnert Januarys: Watching 20th Century Women Fly Out of the Box, which includes many women “firsts” and record-setters — women who discovered their skills and shared them. The story of Pandora Whaley’s fictional life is told by the decade. It covers the status of women throughout the last century and  includes actual accomplishments of more than 500 real women — from athletes, writers, and artists to generals and senators.

Oh, you didn’t recognize Lizzie Murphy and Jackie Mitchell? They played professional baseball with all-male minor league teams in the late ’20s and ’30s — one of them a 17-year-old pitcher who struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in 1931. These two women alone make great stories.

 

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Grammar For Grownups Quiz 94

Choosing the verb to match the subject in number (singular or plural) can get tricky. Try these and check “My Answers” to see how we agree (or not).

  1. Four out of five (enjoy, enjoys) movies.
  2. Some of the class (like, likes) to read.
  3. Much of the time procrastinating (are, is) lost.
  4. Each girl and boy (learn, learns) at an individual speed.
  5. Twelve dollars or 12 cents (are, is) too much.
  6. The choir (sing, sings) like angels.
  7. As the jury returns, the results (are, is) all too apparent.
  8. There (are, is) several good reasons for leaving you.
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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 93

Choosing the verb to match the subject in number (singular or plural) can get tricky. Try these and check “My Answers” to see how we agree (or not).

  1. Four out of five (enjoy, enjoys) movies.
  2. Some of the class (like, likes) to read.
  3. Much of the time procrastinating (are, is) lost.
  4. Each girl and boy (learn, learns) at an individual speed.
  5. Twelve dollars or 12 cents (are, is) too much.
  6. The choir (sing, sings) like angels.
  7. As the jury returns, the results (are, is) all too apparent.
  8. There (are, is) several good reasons for leaving you.
show answers

 

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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 92

The Irresistible Plural-S

Give us an “s” – or and “ies” – or something else! Cheers! Change the words in the parentheses to plurals.

  1. Back to school means shopping for (T-shirt), (jeans), and new (shoe).
  2. The (peony) and (gladiolus) wave their gorgeous heads in the breeze.
  3. Are the (Johnson) and (Adams) back from their vacations yet?
  4. The Johnson and Adams (wife) got a break from cooking.
  5. During my vacation we sat on three different (beach).
  6. We saw many (moose) and (deer) as we drove through Wyoming.
  7. The (child) said they had the time of their (life).
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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 91

Precious Pronouns

Can we start a movement to reduce the number of pronouns – particularly the possessive kind – that are needlessly scattered throughout the things we write?

Ownership seems to rate highly with writers. At the rate I see them used, we may run out of possessive pronouns very soon. See how many of the following pronouns you can save for the next generation.

  1. I tumbled out of my bed, raced to my messy desk, and turned on my sleeping computer before my head was even awake.
  2. Would you please tell your students that their use of their punctuation may affect their grades they’ll receive at the end of their semester.
  3. Buddy danced at his prom with his partner June until both his feet were almost worn out of his shoes; then his partner June went to her home with her crushed toes.
  4. He jumped into his car, grabbed his steering wheel and turned on his ignition before he tore out of his parking space and down his street.
  5. I’m sure that my warnings will miss your ears and that you’ll still fill your writing with all manner of your pronoun possessives.
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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 90

Just for Fun

I’ll give you a letter. Add that letter to another to form a second word, then add another letter… and so forth to reach the target word shown.

Example: a – treat (a, an, art, tart, treat).

Your answer may differ, but your Scrabble scores will soar!

  1. U – super
  2. O – honor
  3. A – flames
  4. E – hamper
  5. I – detail
  6. U – undress
  7. O – erosion
  8. I – elation
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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 89

Are You Redundant?

The following sentences include some redundant words – the kind that repeat a meaning in different words. Like: I truly honestly mean it! Erase one of them. Now, don’t you feel better?

  1. The daffodils waved their lemony yellow heads in the breeze.
  2. What a gloriously gorgeous day for a walk in the park.
  3. The leisurely stroll made its way slowly along the path.
  4. Suddenly, with a quick moment, a figure jumped from the bushes.
  5. “Give me all you got stuffed in your full pockets!”
  6. “Go stuff your silly stupid dopey dim-witted brainless head in a deep bottomless yawning cavernous hole!”
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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 88

What do you capitalize? Place capital letters in the sentences below, where you think they belong, then record your choices in Your Style Manual.

  1. i now have a pet frog named ribette.
  2. she came from around steilacoom pond, although i cannot see her.
  3. when i drive to the safeway or the post office, i cannot take her with me.
  4. i often wonder if frogs, like ribette, sneeze, or do i imagine i hear it?
  5. Send ribette a greeting during national leap year, something like, “‘ribet, ribet,’ my dear ribette, happy leap year.”
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Grammar for Grownups Quiz 87

Some verbs are just plain irregular!

The following sentences include the infinitive form of verbs. Choose the correct present or past tense for each one.

  1. She (to bring) her beau a Valentine gift. (past tense)
  2. He (to think) she is trying to surprise him. (present tense)
  3. She yelled at him, “I (to go) out of my way to be nice.” (past tense)
  4. “You’re (to drive) me crazy,” he yelled back. (present tense)
  5. He said he hadn’t (to lead) her on. (past tense)
  6. “Okay, so you (to catch) me!” she said, smiling. (past tense)
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