Where we started… and what comes next

I don’t think we have ever hold the story of why Seamore Sports exists, here is that story.

Seamore Sports started in 2016 following the conclusion of U18 tournament in Grand Forks, ND. I love goaltending. The skill, focus and poise that it takes to play that position. We attended the Latvia vs Sweden game, when we noticed the confidence of Latvian net minder Mareks Mitens in facing 47 shots. I just loved his level of compete and the international game itself. It opened my eyes to all of the great hockey around us that we did not take the time to see and talk about.Players with stories just like Mitens’ are all around the world, and very abundant in college hockey. My love for the game of hockey just grew and grew with the more I learned and watched. It truly is a beautiful game.

I have a complicated medical condition, called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and when Oliver and I met, I was just starting to come to terms with my diagnosis. I was struggling with the realization that is was a life long condition and quality of life I was looking at. The disease was first called the suicide disease when it was discovered around the Civil War for its high consistent pain that it inflicted on soldiers, who years later, some committed suicide to escape the endless pain my condition gives me. With this in mind, I badly needed a distraction. Seamore Sports became that distraction and has sense evolved into our shared passion.

Earlier in the year, Oliver had introduced me to hockey by taking me to a UND vs UMD series, which still is one of the most memorable games I have ever been too. Many of you know what game I am referring to without giving details. For everyone else, it was the over time penalty shot winner from Austin Poganski. For the first time in over two years, my pain melted away and I knew the rink was my home.

Over the last five years, Seamore Sports has turned into everything I didn’t think it ever could. However, it hasn’t always been an easy thing. Towards the end of the 2019-2020 season, I was done. I was struggling with the lack of success and my passion was failing. I had even told Oliver, that it was going to be my last season and I was done. One night in Friday January, someone who I had never met walked in the media room on ice level while I was getting my computer and camera set up for the University of North Dakota (UND) vs University of Alabama- Huntsville (UAH) and asked to sit down. We had a conversation about hockey realignment and talked for a solid 45 minutes, at the end of the conversation, I introduced myself and asked if he was UAH’s Sports Information Director, he smiled and laughed, “Nope, I am head coach Mike Corbett.” Over the course of the weekend, we spent time watching and talking with UAH coaching staff and players. If you are a fan of Alabama Huntsville, and you read our work at all, thank Mike Corbett for encouraging us to start with that first conversation at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

During this time, I fell back in love with hockey. I had renewed hope that the mission of Seamore Sports was ready to change. Now, we are the voice of the Division One College Hockey underdogs, and all those who work to help them shine. Our goal is to work and talk with as many teams, players and coaches that make up this great game. We will be talking with junior hockey players, writing about so many stories that, just like Mitens, deserve a higher level of attention than the media structure in this game is set to provide. In addition, we hope to work with schools over coming years to help train interns to get into writing about more underdogs in this game and creating a network of passionate people to cover the sport we all love.

I, and this independent outlet would not be standing here today, with Oliver by my side helping me to grow this, and taking photos professionally without the people below. If you are not on this list but we have talked to you, know that you matter and are a part of this as well. Also, if you are not on this list, but are involved with this sport at any level from potential commit, to alumnae, to coach or general manager at any level, or any other of the many categories, know that we want to talk to you. Oliver writes many of his recaps with the title of “Beyond the box score” because this game is so much more than a contest to see who scores the most. It is a stage in and of itself, and overtime, its actors depart and new ones try to fill their shoes, and grow, and move to the next level. We want to highlight all those on their path to the stage, and talk about the good done by them as they leave it, and their mentors along the way.

I cannot thank the following people enough (in no particular order):

Eric Lang: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us in 2019 at the Fargo regional following the win against number one St.Cloud. Not only that, but almost 2 years later you remembered us, but not only that you remembered our son, over a phone call. It’s also nice to have a candid conversation with a coach. This game needs more coaches like you in it, and this world needs more good humans like yourself in it. This was the first regional we had covered since I gave birth to our two year old, Henrik (who loves to play floor hockey, and is enthralled with zambonis he sees during intermission), and your encouragement, along the kindness shown to us by you, Seth,and every AIC-associated person that weekend will not ever be forgotten.

Damon Whitten: You remembered our faces after about a year when Bemidji State won that first game by more than a little. You took time to help coordinate media interviews with Mareks and Yuki Miura. In addition, you, like the other coaches in this article are straight up and honest about everything. We appreciate that, and know that as the Lakers progress this year, we will work to cover you with the same verve a national outlet covers the many bigger schools you play (this goes for all teams we cover).

Seth Dussault: You, my friend, have been such a support during our transition. You where the first media relations person to really believe in our mission.Within an hour of seeing you on the day where the non upset happened, I heard you promoting AIC to Oliver, talking about one of your most famous alumnae, Congressman Richard Neal. You are always there to provide feedback on our ideas and articles, and you are one of many people we are fortunate to have in our corner

Mike Corbett: Corbs, thank you for helping me find that spark and fire again. It’s always a joy to have you on the phone and just talk hockey. Our conversations could go on for days and I love how blunt and honest you are. It is much appreciated, the realness that you bring to the table is a rare and beautiful thing. The effort you put into this game, and have put into it for the many decades you have been a part of it, is a thing we hope to more fully chronicle one day.

Brian Riley: I will never forget the fact that you reached out to us on Twitter, my jaw hit the floor and I was on cloud nine for days leading up to our first conversation.Not often does any coach reach out to us, let alone one with your background (its ok to celebrate it a bit as its extensive). Now, it’s like talking to an old friend. You have helped us understand things in the bigger picture of life, and remind us of the simple joy of this game every time we talk. As we agree that College Hockey is a big family, thanks to you, and all whom you work with for making us feel more welcomed at the ever growing table this game provides us all. The joy that you get from coaching the future leaders of armed forces is contagious. I will never understand how Army West Point is forgotten about on the national conversation year after year.

Thank you to every one who has ever read anything that we put out, and to everyone in this game for allowing an independent outlet from Fargo North Dakota to provide you unique stories on so many teams. We have only just begun, and are excited, indeed, for what comes next.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

A Place for Everyone: Realignment of Division One Men’s College Hockey

(Photo Credit-College Hockey Inc.)

From the time a child starts playing hockey travel has been a big part of their lives. Weekend tournaments that are hours drive away as littles and then making the decision to move away from home to play junior hockey at young ages, many often before they can drive. This is just the beginning of the traveling that comes with being a college player. Countless players that we have interviewed speak of experiencing the game for the first time through a friend or family connection. From there they look to play at the next elvel, and for many, the pinnacle of their career is playing Division One College Hockey.

Division One Men’s College Hockey is a sport with a long history that includes the rise and fall of many programs, many due to the financial cost of competing at the top level of the sport relative to the revenue some are able to raise. Travel is a big part of that cost equation. Now people are going to argue that traveling is not a big enough expense to break the camels back. However, when the costs of the program range from 500,000 to three million dollars a year. Smaller schools bus a lot of the time to save money, while other schools fly more than bus. Our goal of this proposal is to further discussions on how can we make this setup fairer to the programs with smaller budgets, and provide a chance for further expansion in this game we all want to be bigger than it is.

I am suggesting taking all 61 programs and putting everyone in conferences in closer geographical range where possible. Where that does not work, we group programs based on institutional profile. Given the uncertain future of Alaska Anchorage Hockey, we will list them as an independent for this discussion, as their supporters to save it have a plan to compete as independents.

We will also list Alaska Fairbanks as an independent given the dearth of programs in the pacific northwest and ones that can afford to make repeated trips to Alaska. We hope that one of these conferences can work a scheduling agreement with the two Alaska schools in order to provide surety to them for some games each year. Both programs have a hard road ahead, but if the game we love keeps growing, it should get a little easier as more schools near them would help this problem of travel costs be ameliorated.

The other thing to consider is that the Big Ten is the only conference that is not a single sport conference. We will not be realigning them. I know this will be a disappointment for a select group of some North Dakota or Minnesota fans, but it is very difficult to make changes to multi-sport conference and because their is a long term potential for full member Big Ten schools to add men’s ice hockey as a sport. The old WCHA is not coming back in any of these proposals.

First, let’s focus on the NCHC.

NCHC

North Dakota, Denver, Minnesota Duluth, St Cloud State, Minnesota State, Colorado College, Arizona State, Omaha, and Air Force

This is a conference full of teams that have a lot of history and rivalries, and some like Arizona State that are getting new facilities. The only really long tip would be down to Arizona State. Putting these teams together brings together some old rivalries with the ability to create new ones, while keeping some old ones. In addition, for a conference that wants to truly be “national” in its reach, adding Arizona State and Air Force, gives them this ability to expand their footprint, and lets all of the Colorado schools play all of their rivalry games within the conference. For anyone who says Air Force is not a like minded institution in terms of putting the best possible hockey team on the ice, or one capable of competing with anyone, we would point you to their numerous near trips to the Frozen Four over the past decade with players overlooked by many other teams. In addition, any conference that has a service academy in it, especially ones with multiple alums playing professional hockey while serving, gets a built in pitch to bring in more players from all around the country.

Also, the Mavericks have shown their worth in the WCHA for years, and have a devoted fanbase that makes up their supporter group, and another program in Minnesota. Mankato has a wonderful building, fans, school, and so much more that make them a worthy candidate to join the NCHC.

In addition, Arizona State is working to get a new arena built by December of 2022. Given their current arena situation, we understand the reticence of the conference to admit them to this point. By the start of the 23-24 campaign, hopefully, the arena issue is no longer an excuse. Prior to a potential future Pac-12 Hockey Conference forming, this arrangement allows for a select few Pac-12 Schools that may want to field a team to have a few close partners to do so with.

Atlantic Hockey

Army, Canisius college, Niagara University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Union, Bentley, American Intentional College, Robert Morris University, Long Island University, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Holy Cross, Mercyhurst

With this set up you can create travel partners and do home and homes with the 6 schools closest to you. Yes, this will create an unbalanced schedule, which is to be expected within a 12 school conference.

We are proposing having six teams play each other in four games per year, home-and-home at each institution based on geography. That equates to a built in 20 games per year for each school. In addition, there would be enough crossover play in the conference that would get each school to 26-28 games, leaving 8-10 non conference games available to be scheduled .

Alabama Huntsville being in this conference would dramatically expand its reach down to the southeast, and show that this conference supports the game and wants an institution with a big capacity to make the conference more competitive, instantly. Also, with Alabama Huntsville’s potential work to get marquee games at Bridgestone Arena, after securing a new conference home, who among this proud conference would not want to take the tournament down south every few years? The impact of having that tournament in Nashville, and marketing right to sell it out would be exponentially great for this conference.

In addition, Union’s proposed upgrades to the Achilles Center, where their home rink is, will take time, and having a national champion in your conference adds more to the long term legacy right away for the Atlantic Hockey Association. The split, unbalanced schedule would allow institutions to also not need to schedule flights to Air Force, and keep missed class time for longer trips down, while maintaining the option for weeknight games were appropriate to maximize the utility of each road trip.

ECAC

Sacred Heart, RPI, Yale, Dartmouth, Quinnipiac, Brown, Harvard, Clarkson, Princeton, St. Lawrence, Colgate, and Cornell

We switched Sacred Heart with Union College for this simple reason. The Pioneers are getting a 60 million dollar arena built on their Fairfield Campus set to open pending final approvals as early as 2022. Sacred Heart meets the other institutions in terms of profile and a group working together to make hockey a part of the student-athlete experience.

Hockey East

Boston College, Boston University, University of Connecticut, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Merrimack College, University of New Hampshire, Northeastern University, Providence College, and University of Vermont

This conference remains unchanged. The rivalries many schools have are already built into the schedule. In addition, the reach of the league with their deal through CBS for media rights is pretty decent, along with the impact these programs make. Why change the most compact conference, and one of this sport’s better interest and revenue generators?

CCHA

Western Michigan, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State University, Ferris State, Bowling Green, Bemidji State, Miami, St. Thomas

Regarding the two former members of this conference leaving the NCHC to return back to it, Miami and Western Michigan, this makes the most sense. It cuts down travel, and brings more marketability back to each program regarding playing their regional rivals. The amount of Michigan Schools in this alone would drive up interest in all of the Michigan programs playing one another, and would allow for some unique marketing of those games to take place. In addition, the only marginally long trip for any of the eastern time zone teams is to St. Thomas or Bemidji State, a far less expensive jaunt for them then their previous trips to the two Alaska institutions we are designating as independent institutions.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded  journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell

The Role Communication Plays in the Marginalization of Female Gender in Sports

michael-messner-quote-there-is-a-continuing-marginalization-or    Participation in sport in the United States by women — as athletes/players, fans, and as media professionals — has been problematic throughout history in a variety of ways (History of Women in sport; Moss; Pope; Jones), which demonstrate a history of female marginalization in sport. The definition of sport and sports, which are used interchangeably throughout this literature review, include descriptions of such as a contest or game …according to a specific set of rules where people compete against each other, or “a physical activity such as hunting, fishing, running, swimming, etc. that is done for enjoyment” (Merriam-Webster). Potentially discriminatory behavior against women in sport, however implemented, has a tendency to reduce opportunities for women.

Broadly considering the representation of women in sport reveals potential opportunities to mitigate and potentially eliminate this sexualization, marginalization and objectification. This broad consideration may create and increase opportunities for the significant empowerment of women. Taking a closer look at the instances and causes of sexualization, marginalization and objectification of women in sport may result in not only enhanced opportunities for them, but also for society at large.

Sport Culture and Masculinity

            The culture that surrounds sport potentially could be seen as masculine. As referenced by Moss, “When athleticism is not an option for boys, they draw on the other masculine traits associated with the Jock, such as emphasized heterosexuality or dominance to ‘make up for’ what they lack in claims on masculinity through sports (2011, pg. 166).” As a society, a lot of pressure is placed on male children to participate in sport throughout their lives (Billings, 2016). It is also important to note that the media reinforce the masculine values the permeate sport (Pope, 2010).

Research into the masculinity of sport is extensive (Moss, 2011; Pope, 2010; Crawford &Gosling, 2004). A possible reason behind this is sport providing a naturalized convergence of sex, gender, sexuality, and race. These factors combined with the addition of competition that sport provides the emergence of a hero culture (Moss, 2011).  It has been said that “males may have insecurities that (to some extent) stem from male fears concerning their own adulation of male sporting heroes” (Crawford &Gosling, 2004, pg 490). Sport is something that the majority of men can relate to (Crawford &Gosling, 2004; Moss, 2011). The involvement of females in sport could be seen as a way to undermine male hegemony. This can be seen as a thread that runs throughout American history (Billings, 2016).

Women in the United States have spent the better part of 70 years gaining just some of the same rights as men. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on August 26, 1920. Three years later, The National Women’s Party proposed the addition of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which would prevent discrimination on the basis of gender. To this day, this Amendment still has not been ratified (Brown, 1993). Some women’s rights may have been codified into law in 1920, yet today women are still experiencing discriminatory behavior (Moss; Billings; Crawford & Gosling). A pertinent summation of the modern issues women in sport face is Cynthia Pemberton’s “every day someone puts on her armor and goes into battle for equality (114).”

The implementation of Title IX has increased female participation in sport by eight hundred and forty percent. Bell stated, “It was not until the advent of the equal rights movement and Title IX that women truly found a place as participants in the world of sport and in the public arena (History of Women in sport).” Trolan points out that in the 1950s, a woman’s identity was concealed across all parts of society. Women who participated in sport were seen as a contradiction to society. Therefore, women athletes had to oversexualize themselves in order to overcome the societal apathy caused by participating in sport. An example of the continued societal apathy is highlighted by ESPN giving female sports a mere two percent of time on Sportscenter, even though twenty-five percent of their audience is female.  This disparity highlights the discrimination female athletes and female teams still face today. This dismissal of female sports can potentially lead to problems for females in other areas of the sport ecosystem (Gibson, 2016; Trolan 2013).

For example, females in other areas of the sport world don’t have Title IX in place to protect them. Media and fans have been subjected to sexualization, marginalization and objectification. The number of female sport fans increased following the implementation of Title IX. Enactment of this law ignited a nascent sports fandom among women. Duffett notes that Hills believes defining fandom can be problematic because it is ever changing (2013). “A fan is a person with a relatively deep positive emotional connection about someone or something famous…Fans find their identities wrapped up with the pleasures connected to popular culture (Hills, 2002).”

 

Female Identities

According to Ussher (1997,445), there are four types of female identities in relation to sport culture:

  • ‘Being girl’ – The archetypal position for most women, the position ‘taken up when a woman wants to be rather than merely do femininity…beauty, goodness and the ability to attract the admiration of men are the key attributes of being girl’ (Ussher 1997, p. 445).
  • ‘Doing girl’ – Here the woman might reflexively ‘perform the feminine masquerade’ but she knows that essentially ‘doing girl’ is about ‘playing a part’ (Ussher 1997, p. 450).
  • ‘Resisting girl’ – When adopting this position women ignore or deny the traditionally signified ‘femininity’, such as the necessity for body discipline and adoption of the mask of beauty but ‘this doesn’t necessarily mean a rejection of all that is associated with what it is to be ‘woman’ – attention to appearance, motherhood or sex with men’ (Ussher 1997, p. 455).

 

Regardless of where females fall on Ussher’s femininity spectrum, all of them have dealt with overcoming male biases toward them. This male chauvinism is noted female fans by Jones, Moss, Crawford & Gosling, Sveinson, and Duffett. For example, some of the women that were interviewed by Jones did not want to be seen as women. They felt this way because of the negative connotations their gender produces. For instance, the women are concerned about having their knowledge tested, sexist comments, and having their commitment to their team.  These nuanced biases could potentially contribute to the sexualization, marginalization and objectification that surrounds a female fan.

Jones (2008) found that women used three strategies when dealing with marginalization, objectification and sexualization.

• ‘Defining sexist and abusive behavior as disgusting’. This varied from outright confrontation to individual boycotts (for example, by refusing to join in with swearing), to a redefinition of ‘proper’ fan practices. This final strategy involved the use of gender identities to challenge the meaning of fandom; for them, ‘fandom and femininity are entirely compatible, whereas fandom and abusive masculinity are not’ (2008, p. 524).

  • ‘Downplaying sexist and homophobic abuse’. This included: claims that sexism was not as important as racism as there were no female players; denying that sexism occurred because abuse is directed at men and women; and claiming that sexism and homophobia were ‘funny’ and therefore harmless (2008, p. 524).
  • ‘Embracing gender stereotypes as part of the game’. This involved agreeing with hegemonic masculine definitions about which women should be regarded as ‘proper’ fans and distancing themselves from ‘emphasized femininity’, with claims that women who did not understand the laws, found players attractive and/or were dressed up in a heterosexually attractive way did not ‘do’ fandom properly. A further group suggested that sexism and homophobia were fundamental to football (2008, p. 524).

Pope addresses female fans and their identities. Some women answered questions with ‘pharmacological’ terms. Referencing their fandom as an addictive thing or just waiting for the next ‘fix’. One woman went as far as saying (277):

‘It’s an identity, and I think if you’re a football fan, your football team is part of your identity and who you are and where you’re proud of…I’m such a big football fan that it means a lot to me and it is part of my identity. It’s part of me and it’s part of how I spend my money and how I spend my weekends and how I spend my thinking geared round my week…So if people were to, like, say to me “Describe yourself” and “What are your interests?” It would be a big part of me to say this is what I like doing, this is who I am.’

Despite all of these societal changes, females are more likely to judge themselves and have others judge them when it comes to traditional gender roles, such as child- rearing (Pope, 2010 p 270)

All of a sudden, this responsibility of having children just completely… everything else goes. And it’s only now that they’ve got older and they can sort of look after themselves a bit that the football starts to creep back in a bit…When I first had children, I just sat there and I thought “Oh my God!” The responsibility of having children was just overwhelming.

Male bias toward females in sport

Crawford and Gosling found male interviewees did not believe that female supporters actually root for their side. The interviewees believed that the female rooters “show little knowledge or commitment to their team” (Crawford, Gosling 2004).  John, a male interviewee, stated, “They just have a giggle, you know what I mean (Crawford, Gosling, 2004)?” Female sports fans are often viewed as inferior to their male counterparts. They are interrogated about their knowledge, have had their motivations for watching questioned, and many other potentially sexist examples exist. Throughout the literature, it is arduous to find positive examples of women being treated equally. Sveinson had a participant named Emma say, “They just get to be a fan because they’re a guy (2016).”

For example, in research by Crawford and Gosling, when male fans of the Manchester Storm, a British Ice Hockey team, were interviewed, they frequently described the presence of female fans as disruptive to the stadium atmosphere. One man went as far as saying that “the presence of women he felt imposed an ‘outsider’ on the normal composition of this group [of fans] (Crawford, Gosling 2004, p. 485).”

A participant named Keith said:

Some of the guys bring their girlfriends like, sometimes, you know? …Like me one mate who met his girlfriend at the arena, and she sometimes comes…[but] it’s more a laugh when it’s just the boys … you know what I mean? Just us and the hockey and no women-folk to bother ya [laughs] (Crawford, Gosling 2004, p. 485)

According to Crawford and Gosling, 90 percent of the males interviewed had negative feelings toward females attending sporting events (2004). Many reference women potentially having sexual desires for players and coaching staff which the participants viewed as negative distractions (Crawford, Gosling, 2004). This gives rise to a label given to this subset of female fans. This description is the potentially derogatory moniker known as a ‘Puck Bunny’.

The term ‘Puck Bunny’ has an unknown origin but has a known definition:

A puck bunny is someone who hangs around players, always on the lookout for the chance to get that autograph/photography/quick pint [drink]/quick knee trembler round the back of the around the Arena from the player or players (or even coach) of their choice, heck let’s face it even the water carrier is in with a change here (Reverend Richard, 2001).

A further example of the marginalization of women can be seen clearly in Sveinson’s study. During the qualitative interview process, the researchers found that when the women were originally questioned about whether or not they felt that their treatment was different than men the women denied unequal treatment. However, as the process continued, many of the women described times they were treated differently (2016).

Sveinson showcases this disparate treatment with two different women who are fans of different sports and locations (2016).

Think that it is just assumed that there would be a lot of male, highly identified fans and males with a lot of knowledge, but I think it’s not assumed that there is a lot of females with that. So, you feel a sense of needing to prove that knowledge. (Lexi)

The very first time I ordered the NFL Sunday Ticket [a televised sports package that allows fans to watch non-local NFL games], I called the [cable company] and the girl I was talking to on the phone says, “oh your boyfriend or husband must really love you.” I was like “no, this is for me.” (Chloe)

Taking a look at media coverage and marketing towards female fans leaves a lot of room for improvement. For example, on ESPN, women comprise twenty five percent of its viewership. However, eight percent of the programming is geared toward women or focusing on women’s sports (Gibson, 2016).

Crawford and Gosling found that there is little evidence to back up the claims of many of the male participants that women have little knowledge of the sport. For example, one woman said that “I know more about [ice hockey] than my dad …cause I talk about it at school and you get to know stuff…from others (p. 485).”

 

Media bias toward females

            Media is integrated into every part of society. This gives people who work in the industry a lot of influence. Consequently, sexualization, marginalization and objectification of women can potentially be spread by the media. In 2002, a national survey found that close to one third of newspaper editors thought that female athletes were “naturally less athletic and less interested in sports than are men.” Additionally, half said that Title IX hurt men’s sports (Hardin, 2005, pg 71-72). Such research strongly indicates a need for these biases to be addressed and potentially rectified.

Media talents are caught referring to female athletes as “girl” or “young woman” and even by their first names. On the other hand, male athletes are often called “young man” or be addressed by their last names. These differences could be seen as sexualization, marginalization and objectification. Peterson said:

Where we marvel and celebrate male athletes’ bodies for their incredible function and utility—‘Wow, so fast, so strong, so big, so tall, incredible!—on the other hand, female bodies are still primarily judged on attractiveness (Gibson, 2016).”

There is a line between a female’s appeal towards men and the media coverage they receive. “If you are a female athlete and you want to get attention, the way to do that is play the sex card (Gibson, 2016 p. 220).” However, the coverage is not always about the athleticism or preforming, instead, it is about what designer made her clothes, night clubs, boyfriends, etc. (Gibson, 2016; Trolan, 2013).

However, coverage is not always good. Female athletes are often called lesbians, because this gives power over the masculinity that women athletes potentially display. An example of this is of a volleyball coach, requiring his players to have long hair and wear ribbons in their hair. This was a strategy to give the players some sense of femininity (Trolan, 2013). Springer said that “you constantly have to prove that women are worth the coverage, that there’s an audience out there. And it’s not just one time. It’s multiple time, over and over and over again (Gibson, 2016).”

An example of this overt sexualization of female athletes could be seen in the coverage of Anna Kournikova, a European tennis player. Noted as the most photographed athlete at Wimbledon in 2003, Kournikova wore revealing outfits and received the most attention even though she never won any of tennis’ four most prestigious tournaments by herself. However, she is worth more than other tennis athletes. On the other hand, Maria Sharapova, has won five Grand Slams since 2001. Despite all of her athletic accomplishments, the focus is still placed on her body.

In addition to the coverage of Kournikova and Sharapova, in 2007 the Australian National Football Team posed nude as a way to bring some media coverage for their sport in a men’s magazine (Trolan, 2013). This desperation for media attention is not only seen internationally. The United States Women’s Ice Hockey Team posed in the ESPN Body Issue in 2017. The body issue is full of both male and female athletes posing nude and is supposed to be a “celebration and exploration of the athletic form, honoring athletes of diverse shapes, sizes, color, genders and race (Stewart, 2010).”  However, many of the female athletes poses are more sexual in nature while the men are showcased as strong. The problem lies in the fact that women athletes have accepted that becoming sexualized is how their sport or themselves gets covered (Trolan, 2013). Instead of posing nude, female athletes need to be putting on their armor to combat ideas like Mangan’s:

…Beauty of face and form is one of the chief characteristics (for women), but unlimited indulgence in violent, outdoor sports, cricket and most odious of all games for women- hockey, cannot have an unwomanly effect on a young girl’s mind, no less on her appearance…let girls ride, skate, dance in moderation, but let them leave field sports to those whom they were intended for – men (Mangan, 1987 p. 158).

 

Conclusion and Future Study

As illustrated by the literature review, it is crucial to further explore communication strategies that can be used to potentially mitigate, and lead to the elimination of marginalization, sexualization, and objectification towards women in sports. Pope describes the lack of research in this area of female fandoms in sport (2010). These fandoms are becoming increasingly popular. In addition to studying women and sport, it’s important to note that most of the research into this area excludes women.

Trolan notes that the media’s portrayal of women, whether that be in the words that they choose or the photographs selected continues, the cycle of marginalization, sexualization, and objectification. Trolan suggests in his conclusion that change can happen in the media but it is going to take time (2013).

As Crawford and Gosling, suggest the area of being female sports fan is a very complex position to hold. A lot of psychology establishes the reasons why someone is a fan. These factors include feelings of belonging, identity, self-esteem, excitement and pleasure. A study done by Po-Ju Chen, showed that female fans liked to travel to away events to support their team. The reasons stated are: socialization, enjoyment, relaxation and learning. Female fans are more likely to show empathy when their team does poorly (International Journal of Hospitality Management, 2010). The differences between male and female fans are obvious. However, those differences should not be reasons for marginalization, sexualization, and objectification.

Further research should be done in the areas of women’s sports being cut for budgetary reasons. Examples of this can be found all over the country, including the University of North Dakota’s Women’s Hockey, Swimming and Diving teams. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), has 1,123 colleges and universities across three divisions, comprising of 19,500 teams, 54,000 student athletes that compete across 24 sports (What is the NCAA?, 2015). However, the number of teams has been slowly declining as budgets are cut. More often than not, sports teams that are cut are never recovered. This is especially true when speaking about Olympic sports, such as gymnastics, tennis and ice hockey (Belson, 2009).

However, there is an example of a women’s team being cut and after a lawsuit battle was reinstated. Quinnipiac Women’s Volleyball Team was cut in 2008 with the lawsuit being filled in 2009. The volleyball team was cut, while Competitive Cheerleading was added. The judge ruled that Competitive Cheer is not a sport and that Quinnipiac University had to support the return of women’s volleyball and increase the funding for women’s sports. During the investigative process, it was discovered that Quinnipiac was artificially inflating the opportunities that female athletes supposedly had (Quinnipiac settles title IX lawsuit that pitted volleyball against cheerleading, 2013).

 

 

References

Andrews, D. L., & Carrington, B. (2013). A companion to sport (1st ed.). Somerset: Wiley-Blackwell. Retrieved from http://lib.myilibrary.com?ID=501396

Antunovic, D. (2017). Just another story. Communication & Sport, 5(2), 205-225. doi:10.1177/2167479515603956

Antunovic, D., & Hardin, M. (2015). Women and the blogosphere: Exploring feminist approaches to sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 50(6), 661-677. doi:10.1177/1012690213493106

Belson, K. (2009, -05-03). With revenue down, colleges cut teams along with budgets. The New York Times Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/04/sports/04colleges.html

Billings, A. C. (2016). Defining sport communication. Milton: Routledge Ltd. doi:10.4324/9781315693910

Brown, J. K. (1993). The nineteenth amendment and women’s equality. The Yale Law Journal, 102(8), 2175-2204. doi:10.2307/796863

Bruce, T. (2013). Reflections on communication and sport. Communication & Sport, 1(1-2), 125-137. doi:10.1177/2167479512472883

Consuming sport fans sport a

Cooky, C., Begovic, M., Sabo, D., Oglesby, C. A., & Snyder, M. (2016). Gender and sport participation in montenegro. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 51(8), 917-939. doi:10.1177/1012690214559109

Crawford, G., & Gosling, V. K. (2004). The myth of the ‘Puck bunny’. Sociology, 38(3), 477-493. doi:10.1177/0038038504043214

D.C. sports bog – clinton portis on ines sainz situation — UPDATE. Retrieved from http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/09/clinton_portis_on_ines_sainz_s.html

Duffett, M. (2013). Understanding fandom. New York [u.a.]: Bloomsbury.

Factors influencing girls’ participation in sports. Retrieved from https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/support-us/do-you-know-the-factors-influencing-girls-participation-in-sports/

The fight for women’s suffrage – women’s history. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/the-fight-for-womens-suffrage

Gibson, L. (2016). The elephant in the room: Sports and sexism. Retrieved from https://harvardmagazine.com/2016/11/harvard-panel-on-sexism-and-womens-sports

Hardin, M. (2005). Stopped at the gate: Women’s sports, “reader interest,” and decision making by editors. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82(1), 62. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/216930305

Hills, M. (2002). Fan cultures (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge.

International journal of hospitality management. ENGLAND: Pergamon.

Jones, K. W. (2008). Female fandom: Identity, sexism, and men’s professional football in england. Sociology of Sport Journal, 25(4), 516.

Mangan, J. A. (1987). From “fair sex” to feminism (1. publ. ed.). London u.a: Cass.

Merriam-webster learner’s dictionary: Sport. Retrieved from http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/sport

Moss, M. (2011). The media and the models of masculinity. US: Lexington Books. Retrieved from http://lib.myilibrary.com?ID=391202

Panthers’ newton laughs at female reporter. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20916366

Pascoe, C. J. (2003). Multiple masculinities? American Behavioral Scientist, 46(10), 1423-1438. doi:10.1177/0002764203046010009

Pemberton, Cynthia Lee A., 1958. (2002). More than a game : One woman’s fight for gender equity in sport. United States: Retrieved from http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/004228067

Pope, S. E. (2010). Female fandom in an english ‘Sports city’: A sociological study of female spectating and consumption around sport Available from Dissertations & Theses Europe Full Text: Social Sciences. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/899750516

Quinnipiac settles title IX lawsuit that pitted volleyball against cheerleading. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/04/26/quinnipiac-settles-title-ix-lawsuit-that-pitted-volleyball-against-cheerleading.html

Reverend Richard.Strap on the ears, it’s time to bunny  Retrieved from http://www.angelfire.com/de/MoreDVicar/puckbunny.html

The risks of earlier puberty. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/03/puberty.aspx

Stewart, D.Female athletes get naked for ESPN magazine’s body issue. Retrieved from https://jezebel.com/5655291/female-athletes-get-naked-for-espn-magazines-body-issue/

Sveinson, K. (2016). Female sport fans’ experiences of marginalization and empowerment. Journal of Sport Management, 30(1), 8-21. Retrieved from http://www.econis.eu/PPNSET?PPN=858915308

Trolan, E. J. (2013). The impact of the media on gender inequality within sport. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 91, 215-227. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.08.420

Ussher, J. M. (1997). Fantasies of femininity (1. publ. in Great Britain, 1. publ. in the United States ed.). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Univ. Press.

What is the NCAA? (2015). Retrieved from http://www.ncaa.org/about/resources/media-center/ncaa-101/what-ncaa

 

Michael Quesenberry: UND Track and Field

MQ
Photo credit: UND athletics

Michael Quesenberry, graduated from Billings West High School in 2014. He decided to come to University of North Dakota to compete on the track and field team because his older brother, Brandon, competed in Track as well as football. He competes at the college level in shot put and discus. He also said that the other offers he received were for warm climates and he likes the cold.  Quesenberry was also going to play football but sadly had a poor experience with a non-UND college coach, so he decided to put everything into field. Which has worked out pretty well for him as, Quesenberry currently holds second place in UND history with a throw of 17.29 meters in shot put.

Quesenberry has the most infectious personalities, he is someone that can be friends with anyone.  He likes to spend time with his friends and watching sports. His favorite teams include Bangles, Blackhawks, LA Angels. He recently was baptized in the Catholic church and is part of FCA, which is the fellowship of Christian Athletes. He redshirted the 2015-2016 outdoor season and the 2016-2017 indoor season, due to an injury, allowing him to have two more full seasons to compete. He might not need both years though as he is a junior in the communications program.

Quesenberry has dreams of becoming a real estate agent, because he likes to make people happy and get them the best deal that he can. One of the best parts about being part of UND athletics, is no matter what your affiliation, they know each other and support one another. It’s like a family. “It is hard to be at a school, where the student body doesn’t care about the sport you compete in, but that’s just the nature of track and field.”

Kelly Nordling: UND Track and Field

 

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Photo from UND Athletics

Kelly Nordling is sophomore majoring in communications with hopes of working with a sports team in some way.  Nordling came to the University of North Dakota track team as a jumper but has since been moved to running the 400 meter hurdles (personal best 57.46 seconds). Track was not his first spring sport choice. He started playing baseball but during his 7th grade basketball season, Nordling dislocated his shoulder and didn’t think it would hold up during the fast approaching baseball season. His family has always been keen on keeping everyone busy by participating in sports year around, so a new activity had to be chosen, track and golf where the only options at the small high school in Montgomery MN.

Freshman year of college was a complicated for Nordling. His mom had found a questionable mole and decided it needed to be looked at. Cancer was the diagnosis. Not only a freshman in college but an athlete as well. Treatment was a success but nonetheless freighting and difficult to handle. None of this shifted Nordling’s dreams. Kevin Garnet said, “There is always someone working harder than you are, you can’t sleep on them” has become a source of inspiration. As sophomore year approached it was time to start looking ahead to the new season.

In high school, he was a jumper both high and triple as well as part of the 4×4 and 4×2 relays. His father, who was one of his coaches had always told him he should try hurdles, “I guess I should have listened to him” Nordling said. The biggest thing he is working on improving is learning the race. 400 meter hurdles come with their own set of problems. “I have to work on my timing really, knowing when to slow down and when to speed up. It’s a real problem.”  Nordling competed for the first time in six weeks after an ankle injury that occurred during practice.

Kelly Nordling said that being a part of a UND athletics program is one of the best decisions he has made in his young life. He has made many friends and enjoys spending time with them. Nordling is a part of FCA, which is the fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus. His favorite teams are Minnesota Timberwolves, Vikings and Wild.

San Jose Sharks vs Edmonton Oilers: Round 1, Game 1

After taking time to process through the emotions from the Sharks overtime win over the Oilers.

1st: The game started and I was so excited for playoff season to be underway!! It started off really good, SJ recorded the first three shots on net. I was thinking Okay, they got this!  Then all hell broke loose!! Everything fell apart from two minutes in till Caggiula’s hooking penalty at 19:45. Things started to pick up in those 15 seconds. Sharks made it out of the first, down 2-0

2nd:  1:43 minutes in the second Joel Ward gets it started with a power play goal! Making it 2-1. I am always hard on Ward. I am defiantly not his biggest fan! I made a beat with Oliver that if SJ pulled out a win. I would not say anything bad about him in game 2…I am glad I am eating my words…This would be the only goal of the second period. The Sharks dominated! I was on the edge of my seat!!

3rd: Started off just as well as the second. Tomas Hertl working hard behind the net to kick it out to Paul Martin who crushes into the back of the net making it his first playoff goal as a San Jose Shark at 14:38, 2-2…Tied…in the 3rd… So, now my heart is pounding and I swear I was going to be going to the ER with how hard my heart was working. San Jose continued to keep control of the game and it would stay that way. Jones didn’t allow a single puck to get behind him. Now, into overtime!! I seriously think I am going to die…I am on my feet and I don’t think I sat down at all during the intermission.

Overtime: 3 and 22 seconds in Vlasic makes a pass that hits right on Karlsson’s tape beating Talbot glove side corner. Over time ends!! Rogers Place falls dead silent for the first time all game. The sea of orange slowly turns into a slow-moving stream up the stairs…

A few thoughts: Hertl was unstoppable last night. He took the spot of Thornton and didn’t look back. Having Hertl on the power play is a huge advantage and I think that he is going to be the future of the San Jose Sharks! To be honest I have only been a Sharks fan since last April, when I got back into watching hockey. Vlasic is so understated as a player. He is a play maker!

 

I am looking forward to biting my nails to watch game 2!!

 

An Interview with Taylor Flaherty on the impact of UND Women’s Hockey

How has participating in the women’s hockey team helped you grow as a person?

I’ve grown as a person because We all have dealt with adversity in hockey that wouldn’t normally occur in regular life. You learn how to manage your time better with school, work, social lives, and our busy hockey schedule. You learn to balance plenty of things that the average person wouldn’t have to worry about. Not to mention the mental and physical strength it takes to participate in a sport like hockey.

What was the most useful thing you learned about yourself while being a part of the UND Athletics program?

To never give up. Even if you make a mistake, bounce back and be better. If something isn’t going your way do not let up; work harder, put in the extra work, improve yourself, and always do your absolute best.

Do you think you would be the same person you are today if you would not have attended UND and played hockey?

No. I have met new people in never would have known if I hadn’t gone to UND. I have made lifelong friends here on this team. I have never been on a team that gets along so well with each other. There is no drama, we truly are a family.

How do you think you have inspired other young girls to play hockey?

Yes, we as female college athletes and hockey players are role models for young girls. As the Lamoureux sisters said,  “girls cannot become what they cannot see” and I absolutely believe that. I remember when I was a kid and how much I looked up to the older female athletes that would help run the camps I attended. I wanted to be just like them. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing those young girls come out to see us at Fan Fest or when they come down to our locker room after games and line up for our autographs.

What has been your favorite on ice memory at UND?

 

I would have to say our last game of this year this past season against Wisconsin. We played so well! I was so proud of this team and everything we accomplished. We battled so hard against the top team in the country and almost won. After seeing us play like that I was so excited for the upcoming seasons and our potential!

 

What are some lessons from hockey you’ve taken to your studies?

 

I would argue that everything you learn in hockey can be applied to life outside of athletics. I’ve learned to work hard in school and be consistent. Team work, listening to different opinions and communicating. Being responsible and following through with commitments.

 

What is your favorite thing about hockey as a whole?

My team. The camaraderie. I look around our locker room and see 25 girls that would do anything for me and I would do anything for them. Every day we go work together.

 

What is your favorite memory with teammates off the ice?

 

My favorite off ice memory… there are wayyy too many to just say one. Everyday is an adventure and an honor to be a part of such a great organization. We have something special here and I would hate to see that go.

 

Why did you choose to come to UND?

 

I decided to come to UND because I wanted to be a part of this legacy. UND is a hockey school and I wanted to be a part of the biggest show in town. The Ralph is amazing and immediately eye catching. There is not a better facility and opportunity for hockey then here at UND. This school and community was built for hockey with all of its support and enthusiasm.

 

Olson flies into post season!

 

Trevor Olson is not who you think of when looking at this year’s University of North Dakota Men’s hockey team, big names like: Brock Boeser, Tyson Jost and Cam Johnson have taken up the spot light. March third that all changed when he scored not only a shorthanded goal but ended up being the go-ahead.  At this point, Olson season is flying high. 35 games played, Olson has 5 goals, 4 being game winners and 7 assists, near producing twice as many points this season than during the last two seasons, which he played 55 games. Olson will be returning to UND for his senior year in the fall and looking forward to the more mature version of the team. Olson said that “I think we got away from who we are as kids, we got a little frustrated,” this pretty much sums up what the season has been like.

Olson is a pretty laid back communications major and has been spending the spring semester as an intern with the UND hockey team. He has been writing a blog when the team is on the road called “Olson’s Eleven.” Every time you talk to him, he is smiling and laughing, I got a chance to sit down and have him reflect on his hockey career so far. Olson comes from a family of athletes. His brother played junior hockey for three years, sister plays college soccer and mom is a record holding basketball player and his dad played fast pitch softball. Coming from a family that has so many athletes, he would try and compete with them. When he went to juniors, he started to put less pressure on himself and just started to have fun.

Olson has always wanted to be a forward “I wanted to score goals!” The last two seasons, he has taken a back seat when it comes to putting points on the sheet but that doesn’t mean that he is not helping his line mates. Like most hockey players, Olson is humble. I asked him about being so “hot” right now and his response was “My line mates and teammates have made some great plays to help me find a little bit of scoring touch.”

Olson said that he must look at it like it is his job when he goes to the rink every day it’s not “I am going to try to be the best, it’s I will be the best.” Coming to UND was not a hard decision for him. During his visit, he met with Head Coach at the time Dave Hakstol, who told him he was going to have to work for his spot but they wanted to give him a chance. “Hak is my best friend. I love that guy!” but with Hakstol leaving at the end of the 2014-2015 season Olson had to overcome a new challenge impressing incoming head coach Brad Berry. Hakstol and Berry have very different coaching styles. The biggest difference is that Hakstol is intimidating and if you screwed up in practice you would know it. Berry is more comforting Olson said “He’ll give you crap but he is not going to lay it on you” Now as the team tries to make history again by bring home two national championships in back to back seasons, Berry says “We have more boxes to check and every weekend we get one more box checked off.” The Hawks are far from being out of the run and are looking forward to taking on rivalry Denver on Friday (3/17) at the Target Center.

I could not end this any better than with Olson’s own words:

“There is a reason why we are all here, just be yourself, play the game how you know how to play. That’s how to make dreams happen!”

A Hockey Love Story: Aaron and Kelly Dell

Aaron and Kelly Dell’s love story adds up to ten teams, eight cities, and roughly 10,000 miles.

Call it a hockey love story.

Aaron dreams of being a National Hockey League goalie. This means he travels a lot — time spent far from loved ones.

But Kelly isn’t waiting quietly. She’s blogging. Crazy Pucking World: Life of a hockey wife is brutally honest and full of funny things that Aaron has said over the years. Kelly had people tell her that “I would have slapped him, if he said that to me.” She just laughed stating that “just how Aaron is”, I always know what is going on with him because of that. Sometimes though he can be almost too honest, but he always makes sure you are laughing by the end.

Kelly and Aaron relationship has been built on trust and mutual respect. Not many couples could have made it through the struggle of going from an undrafted University of North Dakota goaltender, preserving throughout the minor leagues and now is the backup for the San Jose Sharks.

Kelly had just graduated from high school and Aaron had just finished his freshman year at the University of North Dakota. The pair dated for two years before they were walking around the mall one day. They went into a jewelry store and had been browsing, when Aaron picked out the perfect ring. They looked at one another, “Should we do this?”. A month later they were married in Aaron’s parents back yard in Airdrie, Alberta. Kelly only cared about two things when it came time to walk down the aisle. She wanted a white wedding dress and real flowers. Aaron wanted was to pick the cake which was marble with a custard center, topped with bride and groom rubber ducks, which Kelly collects. After the ceremony, in a perfect homage of Canada and Minnesota style, a bonfire was lite and beers were had.

When talking to Aaron about Kelly, you could hear his love for her in his voice. Even though Kelly and Aaron both said the other one said, “I love you” first. One thing is for sure, they love each other enough to live nearly 2,000 miles apart. The distance has not been easy though. Aaron said that Kelly has always been supportive of my goal of making it to the NHL and besides my parents, she is my biggest supporter. He said “she (Kelly) is my teammate and it’s great that she understands and supports me, so we don’t have to fight between hockey and her.”

One of the things that they share, besides a love for hockey, is the drive that each have. Aaron said it is one of the things he loves most about her. They connected on that from the get go.  “I have to have a lot of drive to do what I do and I couldn’t imagen being with someone who didn’t understand that.” The biggest thing Aaron has learned over the years of being in long distance marriage is how to communicate, which Kelly joked about “sometimes it’s painful to get him to talk, but it means a lot when he does because he doesn’t open up to very many people, even teammates!” Anyone who knows Aaron knows this. Jayson Hajdu, UND Men’s Hockey Media Director, “You never picked Aaron for press conferences. He is just so quiet.”

Kelly watches all of Aaron’s games, whether it be in person or on the television. Aaron said that when they first started dating, he was mildly nervous for her to watch him play. Kelly laughed and said that she gets nervous enough for the both of them. She is looking forward to March when they play two games in Minnesota against the Wild. They have a lot of friends and family that are attending those games. She equated it to when Aaron played against the Minnesota Gophers during his time at UND, they have always had such a rivalry and she would also get nervous for him. Kelly said that one of the great things about Aaron is that nothing offends him, which is a great quality when it comes to being a goaltender, because no matter how well he played in the net the loss would get blamed on him.

The amount of love that they share is memorable and reminded me of what is extraordinary about life.

Love. Respect. Friendship.