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and only $660 to go before Jo Lannin reaches her Kickstarter goal of $2500 to support the publishing of “Finding a Way to Play.”

Check out her updates for news, including comments from “Only a Game’s” Bill Littlefield:

Joanne Lannin’s passion for basketball and determination to honor and celebrate the women who’ve played it a various levels — most of them marvelously obscure — energizes Finding a Way to Play. Her book is a labor of love if ever there was one, and a testament to the pursuit of joy in sports.”

and ESPN/Boston Globe writer Jackie MacMullan:

“Joanne Lannin has played and covered the game of basketball with great fervor and passion, and in her new book Finding a Way to Play, she captures the spirit of the women who pioneered the sport she treasures. Their stories are inspiring, heartbreaking and infuriating, and they spring to life with Lannin’s steady voice guiding the way. If you love the game, you’ll love this book.” 

Why Kickstart for Women’s Basketball History? From Jo’s blog:

People have asked how much it will cost, overall to self-publish my book. The answer is: it depends on how many copies I want to print and how widely I want it distributed. Like many self-publishers today, I could send the book to a local printer and take care of all the promotions, library and bookstore distribution myself, but I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help me pay for a first-class effort. With the extra $2,500 I’m raising, I will be able to choose a printer with a solid track record of providing a full package of marketing and promotional help. I’ll also be able to have many more copies printed than I could have on my own. My goal is to get the book into the hands of as many fans of women’s basketball that I possibly can. So if you are willing to help me, check out this link. Every reward level includes a signed copy of my book, so you might just think of it as a pre-order. My goal is to deliver the books to those who’ve asked for one by the middle of July.

Oh, and if you want a sneak preview of the book, just browse through my blog posts over the last couple of years.  Several are “rough drafts” of the chapters I’ve added to the book.

Thanks for any and all help with my project. Women’s Basketball Rules!  And I want the world to know it!

Think about this: If everyone who looked at this blog today donated $15, not only would they get a signed copy of the book, but they’d help blow Jo’s goal out of the water….

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In case you missed this Kickstarter for Finding a Way to Play by Joanne Lannin

I’m asking for your help in order to self-publish my latest book, Finding a Way to Play: The Pioneering Spirit of Women in Basketball, this spring.

My book is full of stories that reflect the pioneering spirit of women from many different social strata and many different eras. Chapter one brings  Senda Berenson, the mother of women’s basketball, who carefully modified the rules (and enhanced the teamwork necessary) to keep her sport from being banned by physical educators and medical professionals in the 1890s to life.

A later chapter includes the career of Hazel Walker, whose team of women mostly from Arkansas, carried a gun to ensure their safety as they drove their station wagon across the country in the 1950s looking for a good game. That’s Hazel and her team in my cover photo, designed by graphics artist extraordinare, Sue Schenning of South Portland, Maine.

This book draws from an earlier book I wrote 15 years ago, A History of Basketball for Girls and Women, which is now out of print. In that book, I wrote very little about the rich history of black women and Native American women who endured racist taunts and slurs, and unequal treatment as they traveled great distances seeking opportunities to play.

My new book rectifies that omission and also includes heartbreaking stories of lesbian players who have had to hide their identities to protect themselves and preserve their places on the court. Another chapter profiles some of the senior women in their 60s, 70s and 80s who ignore their bodies’ aches and pains – and sometimes, doctors’ admonitions – to continue playing a game they may have been denied the opportunity to play when they were young.

My book is written. It is in the final stages of layout and design and should be ready to publish by the middle of June. I have secured the rights to all photos, chosen a cover design, and created an index and a photo credits page. I need to obtain an ISBN, choose the best printer for the project, and begin marketing efforts.

Joanne is halfway to her goal – skip a couple of coffee’s this week and help move her towards completion!

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There have been some concern that, with Kim closing her womensbasketballonline.com site (and it is just that – closed) that the Women’s Basketball Timeline she hosted (and I put together in a fever induced summer of googling) would disappear.

Kim and I have chatted, and she sent over the files. I’ve turned them in to a new page (see here) on the blog.

It was fun reviewing the Timeline (and it’s cool that, because the site is searchable, so is the Timeline), but I shudder to think how many of the links are broken and/or missing. And, of course, there are odd gaps in the contemporary history because neither Kim nor I had the time or brain space to keep it up these last few years. Now? Well, I guess I know what my summer 2012 project is…

I invite any and all of you to peruse the beast. Send me links. Make corrections. Suggest additions. Forward it to your Athletic Directors! On my way back from Kentucky, I ran into the very personable AD of a DIII college — he was on his way to Denver to talk alcohol and drug abuse policy. We got to speaking about what he’s finding on his campus — women team athlete’s dropping from teams, if they’re not playing during games (and occasionally becoming superb solo athletes). I brought up the history of female athletes being pushed away from team sports in to solo sports — using Gertrude, Sonja and Babe as examples, and contrasting it with women’s basketball…No surprise, he had NO idea of the history of women’s basketball, much less the “one step forward, two…maybe three steps backward” process its been simply to offer women the same right to play basketball as men do. Consider this little gem from 1919:

Tennessee: Dr. Mary Douglas Ayres Ewell, graduate of Sophie Newcomb College for Women in 1917, played under Clara Baer. Mary Ayres returned to Knoxville in 1919 and was named coach for the University of Tennessee girls’ basketball team. In March 1920, UT women students, with Ayres’ approval, requested “equal rights and privileges” with male athletes including team travel to other colleges for athletic events, increased funding for the women’s program, and representation on the Athletic Council.

Happy birthday, Title IX.

By the way, I’ve asked Kim if I can host some of her fabulous resources: the women’s basketball library and Media Tips in particular. If there’s anything else you’re going to miss, holler (womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com) and I’ll see what can be done to fill the void.

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From Twin Cities/Pioneer Press: Bob Sansevere: Hall and fame find All American Red Heads, women’s basketball pioneers

Ever hear of the All American Red Heads? If you have, you know a bit more basketball history than most. (Why yes, Bob, readers of the WHB are quite informed! :-))

“This wasn’t a big outfit. This was a mom-and-pop outfit,” said former Red Heads player Diane Martinson, who lives in Lonsdale, Minn. “Ole Olson started it in 1936 and had it for 10 years. It was called the Red Heads because his wife had a beauty parlor and they were promoting the beauty parlor and the team. Back then, it was all marketing. We always wore makeup, always wore dress clothes. If you went on a date, it always was a double date.”

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comes to the NBA All-Star Game.

No reason you should have caught the news out of the FIBA women’s game commission where, amongst their recommendations, was the following:

3. They’re recommending to continue research on creating uniforms that emphasize femininity of the participants of FIBA tournaments. Australian and German unitards and Belorussian dresses were used as reference.

Now it seems that the NBA men get a chance to attract male viewers with snug, masculizing uniforms. This allows Paul Lukas to wax loquacious about some women’s basketball history: Snug NBA All-Star jerseys aren’t a first

The NBA All-Star Game is this Sunday, and this year there’s a new wrinkle: Players have the option of wearing snug-fitting compression jerseys instead of the usual loose-fitting jerseys. The idea is that most players already wear compression tank tops under their jerseys, so why not eliminate the extra layer? It’s too soon to say for sure, but it could be the first step toward the next generation of basketball uniforms.

Or maybe it isn’t such a new wrinkle after all. Because 20 years ago — almost to the day — a different set of basketball all-stars took the court in compression uniforms. Their game took place in an NBA arena and was nationally televised by ESPN. But this wasn’t an NBA game — it was the world premiere of a new league that had big plans and high hopes. It also turned out to be the only game that league ever played.

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‘Hoosiers All’ revealed surprising facts

In writing a book about the history of Hoosier basketball, Emerson Houck stumbled upon an interesting phenomenon.

Prior to 1933, girl’s basketball was quite popular in Indiana. Maybe the female side of the sport fell victim to cutbacks caused by the economy of the Great Depression. But even after the nation recovered and women filled the workplace vacancies created by World War II, girl’s basketball did not rebound to its pre-1933 status.

Anyone interested in some of the other reasons women’s basketball fell from its status might want to check out Kim’s  History of Women’s Basketball page or read some of the books written on women’s basketball history. Then they’d know why Lou Hoover makes me cranky.

You might also want to read about Chuck Offenburger: writer, teacher, mentor, friend

That winter Offenburger made me a fan of Iowa girls basketball — an anomaly back in those pre-Title IX days when most schools didn’t have girls sports. I followed his coverage of the Farragut Admiralettes as they won their first (and only) state championship. (Yeah, Iowa small towns were progressive enough to enjoy girls athletics back then, but not enough to avoid saddling the teams with diminutive names.)

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He writes about Anne, Donna and Blaze: Women’s Basketball Pioneers Shepherd the Game Still

Today they are suits — pro basketball executives — but once upon a time they were kids, looking for a game.

They played their sport at the highest level of its time. Now their game keeps inching toward the rim, and they preside over it.

Donna Orender borrowed her father’s car in suburban Long Island. Didn’t tell him she was heading into the city for a game. Drove down a one-way street and lived to tell the tale. Now she is the president of the Women’s National Basketball Association

Thank you, sir Vecsey, for your appreciation of and advocacy for women’s sports.

If you enjoy his work, drop him a note an tell him so: geovec@nytimes.com

P.S. Ya wanna know more about that AAU game? Check out this article.

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