Individuals to follow – Resources for women interested in sport part 3

While I’m on a roll, let’s crack straight on with some of the individuals and the odd blog you should follow if you want to keep up with what’s happening in women’s sport.

But first, I need to make good another omission from my last blog,  To be honest, I just couldn’t decide whether to put them in as they cover men’s as well as women’s football, but on reflection I think that’s a bit churlish.  So, undoubtedly, the best podcast (and should be listed merely because it has the best name) is The Offside Rule (We Get it!). Although it has become (relatively) famous for its female-fronted podcast, the website also contains blogs, features, columns and a whole lot more.  Kate Borsay, Lynsey Hooper and Hayley McQueen are the brains behind the podcast although their team seems to be growing daily.  It’s erudite, knowledgeable and humorous and I urge you to give it a go.  It can become seriously addictive!

Right, on to individuals.  As you will know, there are so many incredible women out there trying to spread the gospel of women’s sport.  I can only cover a few, but they are some of my favourites.  Some have websites, but mostly I follow them on Twitter.  Despite its totally hideous, trolling side and its propensity to triviality, Twitter can be useful for information.  You’ve just got to follow the right people!

@ConnorCricket Clare Connor is Director of Women’s Cricket at the ECB.  News from the top of women’s cricket.  What more do you need to know?

@AlisonMitchell One of my favourite broadcasters, who has worked so hard to be “mainstream” in cricket.  Brilliant broadcasting about gymnastics too.

@Lottie2323  This is for fun.  England captain, Charlotte Edwards doesn’t usually impart great items of cricketing wisdom, but it is fun and gives you some idea of what it’s like to be a professional cricketer.

@ShelleyBBC One of the most influential women in sport in this country – Shelley Alexander is Editorial lead for women’s sport on the BBC.  She retweets an amazing amount of information on an incredible range of sports.  Very knowledgeable and crusades constantly for women’s sport.

@clarebalding Brilliant broadcaster and “national treasure”.  Always surprises me how much work she does so that she knows exactly what she’s talking about on whatever subject she’s been given.

@RuthHoldaway Chief Executive of Women in Sport.

@SallyHancock1 Chair of Women in Sport and expert in sports marketing and sponsorship.  A loud voice in the quest for equality in media coverage, sponsorship and pay in women’s sport.

@EllyOldroyd Another one of my favourite broadcasters.  Well-respected voice of Radio 5 Live.

@judmoo Judy Murray often tweets pictures of cake and desserts, but is the ambassador for tennis.  Contrary to popular belief, she’s not just Andy and Jamie Murray’s Mother….

@Tanni_GT Always erudite, and a tireless advocate for disability sports, Tanni Grey-Thompson is great to follow.  Gives a whole new perspective on sport and everything Welsh!

@annaedwards3 Anna Edwards is Producer of the Sportswomen programme on Sky.

@Anna_Kessel Writes for the Guardian and the Observer and is Co-Founder and Chair of Women In Football.  Always a pleasure to read, and always fighting for women’s sport.

Shameful to admit, but I don’t read many blogs.  If anyone out there can recommend any good women’s sports blogs, I’d be grateful.  The one I never miss, though, is womens-cricket.blogspot.co.uk.  Written beautifully by Martin Davies and a must for women’s cricket fans.

So there we are.  I could keep going for a while yet, but if you just try a few of these to start with you won’t regret it.

Glaring omission from last blog!!

Well it didn’t take long to prove me inadequate.  Thank you to Don Miles for sending me the details about his website Women’s cricket.net.  Not only is it an excellent site for anything to do with women’s cricket, but it’s probably one of the longest-running (unless, as they would say on That’s Life, you know different.) So thanks to Don for that.

Anyone else got their own site I should be promoting?

Can’t tell your WSUK from your WiSP? Part 2 – Women’s sports media you should follow and love

In part one I brought you organisations that can help you get into women’s sport, be it as a practitioner, administrator, official or whatever.  In part two I’d like to show you round some of my favourite women’s media sites.  The stories are out there – you may just have to work a bit harder to find them, because God knows you’re going to find precious little in the mainstream press!

So, firstly, and I know this may be slightly self-indulgent, but I’d like to put in a plug for the site that gave me my first writing break – Women’s Views on News.  It’s by no means a sports site, but it does feature sport and a whole lot else.  It’s the only site I know that covers news from all over the world that is about women or pertains to women’s lives.  There is so much that goes on that we never get to hear about – WVoN aims to reduce that imbalance.

Secondly, the place for all news, results and opinions is Women’s Sports UK.  Again I have to declare an interest as I’ve just started to write for this wonderful site.  It has recently been revamped and looks better than ever.  It covers an amazing range of sports and largely relies on volunteers (like me) to provide the match reports.  Really, check it out.  If you find they’re not covering something you think they should, get in touch with them as they are always receptive to new ideas!

Sportsister has been going a long time.  It’s a busy site, that used to have a lot of news and reports, but seems now to be concentrating on how to get into sport, sports kit, nutrition, etc.  it’s a bit of a crossover in my organisations/media sections, but well worth a look.

In a similar vein is Women’s Sport Report.  It has the product reviews and health and fitness sections, but also has a few more features and articles on women’s sport.

Sports Liberated is the brainchild of former gymnast Jo Gunston.  She describes it as
“A multi-media hub focusing on women and girls in sport.”
It consists of a website, a free monthly digital magazine and a weekly radio show.  Jo is also, apparently, looking into TV as an outlet.  It is a really professional job and beautiful to look at.  I would encourage you all to look at it now (or after you’ve finished this blog!).
Jo is of the opinion (and I think I’ve said something similar at the beginning of this blog) that
“A plethora of women in sport stories are just waiting to be unearthed and it is in the telling of these tales that Sports Liberated, in all its guises, focuses.”

One Twitter devotee you should follow is @WomenSportPress.  She basically spends her time calculating how much space national newspapers give to women’s sports.  She then tweets this, calling out the relevant sports editor at the same time.  Real dedication to the cause!  Chief offender seems to be the Metro, but all have been guilty at some point.  Must be a demoralising job, but it’s brilliant and I retweet her whenever I can.

Another one to follow on Twitter is @SportsFeminist who dedicates her feed to campaigning for equal media coverage for women’s sport.

The Women in Sport Podcast (WiSP), has been going since 2012, and is a firm favourite.  It was started in the States by Chris Stafford, but now they have correspondents in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  It has sections devoted to the latest news, athlete profiles and a “sport in focus”.  Well worth a listen and our support.

Women in Sport magazine was launched in a blaze of publicity in 2013.  However, I was never able to find a physical copy in any shop and now I only see their Twitter feed.  The Facebook page is closed.  I have messaged them to find out what is happening and if I get a reply I will update this blog.

Finally, and somewhat bizarrely, Glamour Magazine, not something I would usually have much truck with, started their “Say No to Sexism in Sport” campaign at the beginning of 2015.  It’s a publication with some clout and the campaign has been getting a lot of publicity.  Good to follow on Twitter @GlamourMagSport.

Besides these lovely general sports outlets there are many sport-specific publications and sites.  I can’t cover them all here, but here are a few of my favourites:

She Kicks is the site/twitter feed/publication to follow for women’s football. Jen O’Neill has been editing the bi-monthly magazine and website since 1998!  The paper magazine is a beautiful, professional product and is a fitting tribute the world of women’s football.  If I’d had this magazine when I was growing up, instead of Shoot, things would have been very different!

Scrum Queens performs a similar service for all things women’s rugby although is online only.  Essential reading for anyone interested in women’s rugby.

And last, but very much not least, Crickether.com.  The best for news, results, opinion and everything else to do with women’s cricket.  You may know I love cricket so I could be very vocal about this, but let’s just say if you have any slight interest in or curiosity about women’s cricket, you can’t afford to miss out on Raf Nicholson and Syd Egan.

I think that’s about enough to whet your appetites.  The main thing to know is that most of these publications are put together by volunteers and rely on donations to keep going.  There are some great writers out there, bringing the best of women’s sport to you.   Please read, follow, comment and love them all!

In the third, and last, part of this series I will be offering you some names of individuals and blogs you may like to follow.  If you have any other favourite women’s sports media, please get in touch!

Injury stops blog – now I know what it’s like for an athlete

IMG-20151014-00278Firstly, in no way would I call myself an athlete.  I would like to be – even at my advanced age – but my realistic side says it’s never going to happen.

That’s why, when I knew I was going to have to have foot surgery, I didn’t worry unduly.  I wasn’t that bothered that I wouldn’t be able to move properly for 6-8 weeks.  A legitimate chance to be lazy, I thought.

Wow.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Three weeks ago I had surgery – I’ll spare you the details – on my foot.  Enter crutches, pain, rattling from taking so many pills and seven days of self-administered injections.  For three days I wasn’t allowed to go further than the bathroom.  But as it happens, I didn’t really want to as I was in so much pain I couldn’t even put my heel down to walk with the crutches so I had to hop everywhere.  No-one at the hospital had said anything about hopping.

So I wasn’t prepared for hopping – causing my “well” leg to ache like hell.  Neither was I prepared for the strain on my shoulders hoisting myself upstairs on my bottom to get to bed.  My hands and arms also ache from the crutches.

But this is nothing to the boredom!  During the first week I read four books.  But after that, I wanted to get out and about and not being allowed to has driven me to distraction.

And, going back to my original point about being an athlete, I miss my thrice-weekly bout at the gym.  I miss my 12k steps a day.  I don’t drive, so I walk a lot, and not being able to is incredibly frustrating.

I’ve not even been able to write.  And I know if I can’t write, it must be serious.  Can’t concentrate, focus, think or do anything helpful!

Now I have experienced it, I have a different view of sporting injuries.  There are times when I’ve seen a premier league player limp off the pitch, that I’ve thought – “he’ll be happy, he’ll still be being paid without having to do anything.”  Now, I think anyone whose living (and therefore, hopefully, passion) revolves around sport, must be absolutely gutted by any time they have to spend on the sidelines.  I can only imagine the frustration suffered by any elite athlete with an injury.

As an Ipswich Town fan, I was sad to see Tyrone Mings sign for Bournemouth in the close season.  But I was absolutely distraught for him when an injury early on put him out for the rest of the season.  He must have been so excited about playing in the Premier League, and would have been itching to get involved.  To have this snatched away at such an early stage must have been devastating.  I hope he’ll be back better than ever next season.

So, three weeks in and the foot is improving.  Two rather impressive scars, but no more dressings and the stitches are out.  Still on the crutches, but at least I can now leave the house and have a totter down the road.

It has taken quite a lot for me to be able to get to this stage to write about it.  It has had a profound effect on me, both physically and mentally.  But, like Tyrone Mings, Steven Finn, Laura Robson, and anyone else who has ever had an injury that has put them out of action for a while, I will be doing everything I can to get back to fitness.  Now my foot has finally been operated on, I’m toying with the idea of getting into running – but that’s easy for me to say when I’m sitting here with my leg up on the sofa, unable to even walk for any length of time!

I’d like to thank all at Loughborough Hospital for their outstanding care and my husband Michael, who has run around after me without so much as a murmur, even when I’ve vented my anger and frustration most unreasonably at him.

Hopefully I’ll be back in blogging harness soon.  I am aware that I have part two of my resources for people interested or involved in women’s sport to write.  Watch this space!