Sunday, May 17, 2009

Show Us Your Hooves

In honor of Rachel Alexandra, the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness Stakes, some stories from the world of sports:

New Woman's Soccer League: After the WUSA discovered that Mia Hamm and the 1999 World Cup weren't enough to sustain insane management mistakes, it looked like there wasn't room for a woman's professional soccer league (and given the generally parlous state of the WNBA, women's professional sports in general are threatened.) Today, though, the New York Daily News had an article about the WPS, a new women's soccer league.

Teams travel on commercial airlines, in coach seats; they take buses for shorter trips. They carry their own bags, and stay in reasonably priced hotels. And at every stop, the players completely embrace their core fans - the legions of pony-tailed, soccer-playing girls whose clubs and leagues WPS officials are relentlessly courting.

"I think we have to be very smart in making these connections to the community," says Chastain, whose FC Gold Pride visited New Jersey recently, tying Sky Blue, 1-1. "Not in a lip-service way, but in a very tangible, very hands-on way."

Starting up a new sports league is an investment idea of comparable wisdom to hiring Bernie Madoff to do your books, but I hope they succeed, and they seem to have some modest goals.

Besides, you just want them to succeed, if for no other reason than because of this:

When Yael Averbuch was a fifth-grader at Hillside Elementary in Montclair, her teacher went around the class one day and asked each child what he or she wanted to be when they grew up. When it was her turn, Yael stood up at her desk. She didn't have to stop and think.

"I want to be a professional soccer player," she said. The teacher looked back at her, with some exasperation.

"No, you need to pick a real profession," the teacher said.

Rock on, Yael.

Of course, it can't all be good:

Let us introduce you to the New York Majesty of the Lingerie Football League!

"Let's be honest, sex sells," quarterback and captain Krystal Gray said. We couldn't have said it any better.

The League will kick off this fall, with the Majesty playing its home games at Nassau Coliseum. Last week in Freeport, a band of lovelys stripped down to their bare necessities for a chance to make the team, each sprinting, primping and strutting their way to the top. The Majesty will play seven-on-seven, tackle football wearing sports bras and volleyball shorts -in addition to helmets, shoulder pads and knee pads.

Way to move the goalposts, ladies. Wait....

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