Thumbs up! I have found my tribe and let me tell you it’s a bold, powerful group of people who love to watch, play, read, and write about girls in sports. My tribe is diverse and fit. My tribe is not just girls and women, but boys and men who recognize and support our passion. So, it is with a flutter of excitement—similar to inching toward a 10K start line or adjusting my goggles prior to a mass swim start—that I join the bloggers of Sporty Girl Books.
My library, publishing, and editorial experience along with interest in the drama of athletic competition has steered me toward sports fiction and non-fiction. I’ve always been intrigued by the lives of athletes featured on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, such as Billie Jean King (tennis), Julie Moss (triathlon), Lynn Hill (rock climbing), and Jeannie Longo (cycling) to name a few. More recently, I’ve been inspired by Olympic and Paralympic athletes such as Gabrielle Douglas (gymnastics), Missy Franklin (swimming), Mia Hamm (soccer), Greta Neimanas (Paralympic cycling), Melissa Stockwell (Paratriathlon), and Brenda Villa (water polo). I’m fascinated by what makes an athlete leap back up after they fall and drive on through the finish line.
When I was young, my favorite books included HARRIET THE SPY and the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. Fast forward to today and my bookshelves include sporty girl books like, GIRLS GOT GAME and WHEELS OF CHANGE (Sue Macy), PLAYING TO WIN (Karen Deans), and LET ME PLAY (Karen Blumenthal).
While reviewing grant applications for a sports organization a few years ago, I was shocked to see a recommended reading list for girls with outdated titles. Surely there had to be more sports books where girls could see athletes like themselves? There is a need for more books on this topic plus titles that reflect the diversity girls see on the playing field and titles from diverse authors as well. I’m excited to contribute to this blog and look forward to bringing my perspective and experience to the conversation.
August is my birthday month, and I was curious to see who else is a Leo in the sporty girl world.
August 4, 1958 - Mary Decker Slaney
Athletics. Four-time Olympian
Fun Facts: Mary is the only athlete to hold every American record from 800 to 10,000 meters. A double-decker is an iconic bus in the United Kingdom, but in track & field it is also a reference to the 1983 World Championships where Mary Decker did a "Double-Decker" when she won the 1,500 and 3000 meter races.
August 8, 1973 – Meg Galliard
Sailing. 2004 Summer Olympian
Fun Fact: Playing one sport in college is demanding, but Meg competed in two sports during her years at Connecticut College and is inducted in the school’s hall of fame for sailing and soccer.
August 10, 1985 – Stephanie Nesbitt
Synchronized swimming. 2004 Summer Olympic Games bronze medal
Fun Fact: Before Stephanie swims a program she has a ritual - she yawns to calm herself down.
August 23, 1982 – Natalie Coughlin
Swimming. Three-time Olympian
Fun Facts: She became the first woman to swim the 100m back in less than one minute.
August 25, 1927 - Althea Gibson
Fun Facts: Not only did Althea Gibson break racial barriers in tennis with her historic Wimbledon and French Open wins, but she was also the first African-American to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association circuit.
Photo credit: TriDuo.com
Do you know of any other athletes or sporty girl authors who have a birthday this month?