Have you filled out your March Madness bracket yet? I’m not asking about the men’s bracket. That’s a no brainer. It’s going to be a UNC Tarheels – Duke Blue Devils matchup in Phoenix. It’s the WOMEN’S BRACKET you need to fill out and follow. Our sons and daughters need to understand women play basketball too. Their games are awesome, exciting and affordable. Tickets for women’s basketball are manageable, even on a librarian’s salary. Men’s basketball tickets, not so much. I know because I organized a mother/daughter excursion to watch the UNC – NC State Women’s basketball game. There were twenty-three of us. Half UNC fans. Half NC State fans. All the mom’s agreed we should make it a yearly tradition.
Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map by Sue Macy and illustrated by Matt Collins chronicles the first women’s intercollegiate basketball game in 1896. Stanford and Berkeley played at a neutral site. In celebration of this historic event, I’ve picked Stanford and Berkeley to be the last teams standing in the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Game. Stanford will win the game as they did in 1896. Rules and uniforms have changed these past 121 years. The thrill of watching scrappy women fight it out is the same.
As most things in history, opportunities for men developed sooner than women. The Olympics hosted the first men’s game in 1936. Forty years later, women were given the opportunity to play at the Olympics. In 1946, the first NBA game was played. It wasn’t until 1997 the WNBA began. That’s 51 years. I’m thankful ML is being raised in a time where women have more choices for athletic opportunities. Playing basketball is not her thing; and that’s ok. But it’s some of her friends’ favorite activity. I’m glad they can have Olympic dreams like ML does for gymnastics.