Women make up 40% of all sports participants, but somehow get a dismal 4% of sports media coverage. This fact is like a stone thrown into the muddy creek of Middle Island. Both produce ripples, and for female athletes around the world, that means they are losing sponsors, fans, and possibly potential income.
This insufficient media coverage also means that there is a dearth of role models for girls in sport. And you know the saying, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be!” Another sad fact is that girls give up sport twice as fast as boys, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Not for lack of skill or passion, but because women’s sports programs are notoriously underfunded and under-promoted.
I admit that I am guilty. I do a better job covering the sports that I have more knowledge and comfort for. I am the product of my personal history and of my generation deeply rooted in football and baseball. But that doesn’t mean this old dog isn’t willing or able to learn some new tricks. Hope to do a better job representing the girl power that we have in the Tyler and Wetzel County area. So please be patient with me. I reach out and investigate. And as “Pop” to a future female athlete and another on the way, it’s time I got “Coached” by some of the local skippers of our female teams.
Outstanding female athletes have a history in our region. West Virginia’s first professional basketball player, Martha Evans, graduated from Sistersville High School in 1952 without ever playing on a high school team because no women’s basketball team sport was offered at the school. ‘era. Instead, Martha competed in independent basketball with a local girls’ team. They played the men’s rules all over the court and played teams all the way down the valley from Huntington to Wheeling.
His big time luck came via an exhibition match played by the “Travelers Hazel Walker Arkansas”, a professional women’s team, performing at the SHS gymnasium in 1951. After the exhibition match, Coach Walker gave Martha a try. Walker told Martha to let her know when she would have graduated.
Martha graduated in 1952 but never contacted Coach Walker, but that didn’t stop the coach from looking for her. She invited Martha and her mother to fly to Little Rock where she accepted an offer to become a member of the “The Arkansas Travelers”, and the state’s first professional female player. She was 17 and made $ 425 a month, which was a lot of money in 1952.
This incredible history lesson is a great launching pad to take a closer look at some of our current women’s fall sports teams and their talent.
TCHS Girls Soccer: The TCHS Soccer Lady Knights are coached by Merritt Grimes entering his third season at the helm. She is assisted by Megan Campbell. I contacted Merritt to explain my hope to have a little more press for the team. Coach Grimes was quick to answer me, which I always appreciate. Thanks Merritt.
The squad consists of 23 players this year and Lindy Landis is the team manager. I asked Merritt how strong his team was.
“Having lost only three seniors last year, we have a lot of returning players. Our starting XI is full of starters from last year, just in different positions ”, stressed the coach. The team is looking for Trinity Kanz, Jordyn Potoczny, Anna Vollmer, Jordan Ebert and Mallory Westbrook, Romona Rice, Hannah Shreves, Emma Grimes, Stevie Adams and Madison Shreves to play a key role in their success. “Briann Templeton will remain our goalkeeper with 4 years of experience in goal.”
The team captains are Briann Templeton, Hannah Shreves and Jordyn Potoczny. Coach Grimes also mentioned their 7 returning seniors this year who have become strong leaders within the squad. The coach smiles, “We affectionately call them ‘the chiefs’.
The team’s goal this year is to become competitive with teams they’ve wrestled with in the past. Coach Grimes explains: “Our region and our schedule are tough. We want to win games and have fun in the process.
The Lady Knights are off to a good start. Currently, they are 1-0-1. On Tuesday this week, they beat Ravenswood 7-0 at home and tied Madona earlier. Not only are these ladies strong athletes, but they are also concerned citizens to sponsor their first “Diabetes Awareness” by raising $ 649 for Camp Kno-Koma, a non-profit organization that provides a summer camping experience for children with diabetes in and around VM State. Good job ladies! Maintain it.
Wildcat Girls Cross Country
To complete the column this week, I had the chance to speak to a member of the Paden City Girls Cross Country team. Lexi Mathis is in first grade and has surprisingly discovered that cross country is a sport that relaxes her. Lexi explains, “I came into my 8th grade thinking it was a sport to get in shape for basketball, but it turned out to be a sport I fell in love with. I have to say cross country is my favorite sport. No matter where you end up, everyone is supportive of you, and that’s what I love the most about the sport.Lexi also plays basketball and softball, and plans to run on the track this spring. “My goal for all sports is to always do your best and never give up no matter what. “ pointed out the freshman.
Tyler Consolidated, Paden City and Magnolia have dominated women’s volleyball in recent years, and that tradition continues this season. Many athletes from the three schools went on to make all-state and compete for state championship titles. Girls have probably made more appearances in state championship tournaments than most boys’ teams in any sport, and this is sometimes overlooked. As I mentioned earlier in this article, I am committed to doing a better job of covering female athletes in our region. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll write about a star player known as a powerhouse statewide with the last name Rutherford!