So, I was tooling around the Interwebs the other day trying to find some old-school ladies’ sports footage for that last blog piece, and I stumbled upon some pretty sweet YouTubery—the site is loaded with tons of amazing bits of video that relates to women and sports. I ended up spending the last two days hovered over my laptop trolling through dozens of old newsreels, current news bits, interviews, play-by-play excerpts, and pretty much everything else you could think of, and I found plenty of stuff to pass on, some of it inspiring, some of it totally depressing, but all of it fascinating.
So, kicking things off is the old newsreel obituary for the great Babe Didrikson, who may be the best female athlete to ever live. She died of cancer at the age of 42, after basically kicking ass her entire life. Here’s how ESPN describes her:
The first to prove a girl could be a stud athlete, Babe Didrikson began as a muscular phenom who mastered many sports and ended as a brilliant golfer. An exuberant tomboy whose life was athletics, she was accomplished in just about every sport - basketball, track, golf, baseball, tennis, swimming, diving, boxing, volleyball, handball, bowling, billiards, skating and cycling. When asked if there was anything she didn’t play, she said, “Yeah, dolls.”
(You can read whole ESPN article here.)
The Didrikson footage kicks off with Hurricane Flossy news, and the Didrikson bit comes in about the 1 minute mark:
Next, I don’t even know what to make of this play-by-play footage of 1940s-’50s era roller derby. Is it even real? It seems like something the hipsters would have concocted to promote the sport nowadays. Check it out:
OK, this one is awesome. It’s a 12-minute long Al-Jazeera English piece about Muslim women and sports. The first part focuses on Nada Zeidan, the first female rally driver from the Persian Gulf (she also is an archer). At first when I started watching this, it looked like a cheesy puff piece on what amounts to a Muslim Danica Patrick—talented, but noted mainly because of her looks and the novelty surrounding her. But stick with it—there’s much more going on, especially when Zeidan says “I like challenge, I like to suffer, I like to feel tired.”
The second part is about a women’s soccer team in Egypt. Note when, in an odd echoing of Sedan’s comments, the women’s coach (a dude) notes, “Women can endure more.” Duh.
Finally, here’s the Women’s Sports Foundation’s “Why Do You Play,” a compilation of interview clips from a number of high-level female athletes, explaining their love of sports, and why it’s important to them. This one might be my favorite.