Welcome to All In — a column dedicated to women and girls in sports.
All In will provide a guide to learning about and watching women athletes perform — locally, nationally and internationally — in person, on television and online.
We have a big year ahead on the local and national stage. It’s an Olympic year. In 2020, sports fans will cheer for women wearing Team USA jerseys competing July 24-Aug.9 in Japan. The U.S. women’s softball team will be back competing in the Olympics for the first time since 2008. Golf will be back for the second time in modern history. New Olympic sports — including karate, skateboarding and sports climbing — will show us a new generation of athletes.
Audiences are thrilled watching women during the Olympics. Why doesn’t that carry over in those sports beyond the Olympic years? Could it be because women’s sports receive just 4 percent of all sports media coverage?
Want to watch and cheer our nation’s best in the United States leading up to the Games? Opportunities close to Albany are available. The USA women’s basketball team will play an exhibition game against the UConn women’s basketball team on Monday, Jan 27. It’s a two-hour drive from Albany to the XL Center in Hartford. I’m making the trip — who is with me? Tickets are still available in the 16,000-seat venue.
USA Softball also plans regional events later this year nearby in Massachusetts and Connecticut with the schedule evolving. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s Olympic qualifying events in Texas will be televised in late January and look for a series of friendly matches to follow.
On a local level, the Eastern Synchonized Skating Regional Sectional Championships are coming to Times Union Center on Jan. 15-19. Albany will play host to the Women’s Tennis Association’s pro tennis tour in August. What a thrill that will be during an Olympic year.
The Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan Symetra Tour will return to Capital Hills in Albany for a 17th year this summer thanks to a two-year sponsorship commitment from CDPHP.
It’s essential for a column on women’s sports to cover inequalities that still exist. This column and my blog also will focus on sports being inclusive, hence the name All In. Fifty years ago Billie Jean King was part of the Original 9 who organized what would become the Women’s Tennis Association. This past year, on the heels of an intense and well-publicized effort by the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team for equal pay supported by their dedicated fan base and winning ways, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association has been formed. King has been actively involved in promoting women’s hockey and inclusion through a partnership with the NHL and the PWHPA’s “The Dream Gap Tour.” How long have we come in 50 years? Not far enough. We have plenty of work to do.
When I announced plans to write a column on women and sports on social media, a friend said: “There will be no shortage of great athletes for you to write about.”
She’s right. But I need your help. I need your story ideas. I need you to watch and attend games. I need you to support companies that sponsor women in athletics.
I also need you to join in networking events sponsored by the Times Union’s extensive women’s network and magazine, [email protected] We will be including sports-related events this year in conjunction with this column. Join our network.
And finally, buy a subscription to the Times Union for dedicating space to a column focusing on women and girls in sport. Support local journalism.
If you agree that women are worth watching, huddle up and join in to witness an exciting year ahead for women and girls in sports.