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Finding a Way to Play: The Pioneering Spirit of Women in Basketball

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From its back cover: "Finding a Way to Play is full of stories about women who have gone to great lengths to play the game of basketball"...."Readers will come away with an understanding of the roads women have traveled to bring the game into the future. Those who grew up before Title IX may find themselves or loved ones in the stories of women who kept the earliest flame a From its back cover: "Finding a Way to Play is full of stories about women who have gone to great lengths to play the game of basketball"...."Readers will come away with an understanding of the roads women have traveled to bring the game into the future. Those who grew up before Title IX may find themselves or loved ones in the stories of women who kept the earliest flame alive".


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From its back cover: "Finding a Way to Play is full of stories about women who have gone to great lengths to play the game of basketball"...."Readers will come away with an understanding of the roads women have traveled to bring the game into the future. Those who grew up before Title IX may find themselves or loved ones in the stories of women who kept the earliest flame a From its back cover: "Finding a Way to Play is full of stories about women who have gone to great lengths to play the game of basketball"...."Readers will come away with an understanding of the roads women have traveled to bring the game into the future. Those who grew up before Title IX may find themselves or loved ones in the stories of women who kept the earliest flame alive".

38 review for Finding a Way to Play: The Pioneering Spirit of Women in Basketball

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    I'm a big Women's Basketball fan. Of course, I live in Connecticut so that probably goes without saying! (Go UConn and the Connecticut Sun!) I met Joanne Lannin at a book signing when we were at the Women's Final Four in Columbus, Ohio last spring and purchased her book then. I'm sorry to say it has taken nearly seven months for it to work its way to the top of my reading pile but, once it did, I couldn't put it down. This history of women's basketball is a microcosm of women's history in America. I'm a big Women's Basketball fan. Of course, I live in Connecticut so that probably goes without saying! (Go UConn and the Connecticut Sun!) I met Joanne Lannin at a book signing when we were at the Women's Final Four in Columbus, Ohio last spring and purchased her book then. I'm sorry to say it has taken nearly seven months for it to work its way to the top of my reading pile but, once it did, I couldn't put it down. This history of women's basketball is a microcosm of women's history in America. Early in the 1880's women physical education teachers saw how basketball fit perfectly into their desire for a sport for women. It didn't require great strength, it wasn't something men were really proficient at or very interested in, it focused on both teamwork and competition, and it got away from the elitist and solo "women's sports" of tennis and badminton. It caught on with a flash despite confusing rules and regulations created to put limitations on the women's exertion. Women saw an opportunity to get into the competitive play men engaged in but that they had only been allowed to witness from the sideline. And get into it they did. Led by some very brave women coaches and educators, basketball became the choice of women in high school, college, recreational leagues, and even company sponsored teams. Of course, it wasn't long before the backlash came. Women shouldn't break a sweat. It wasn't lady like to be physically active. Competition was for men. And what was with those shameless bloomers and revealing shorts! Society, often lead by upper class women, pushed women off the court and back into the kitchen. Luckily, not for long. Women have been playing basketball actively and competitively for nearly 140 years despite the many obstacles put in their path. Joanne Lannin does a great job with this historical chronicle of the struggle related to women's basketball in America. Rather than writing strictly chronologically, she weaves around time in her chapters to show the many different ways and places women's basketball took off, as well as the chauvinistic, homophobic, and classist obstacles put in it's path. While Lannin devotes a very good and important chapter to basketball on Indian reservations, she does not do as good job on the issue of the obstacles specific to Black women players. She has some great information about the Harlem and Chicago leagues but I think she could have done a little more about how colleges limited Black women players in the 1960 - 1990 period. Other than that, I believe Lannin did an excellent job with this book. I've been an active fan and supporter of women's basketball for nearly thirty years but there was much information and history in this book of which I was totally unaware. Lannin did extensive research providing information, photos, and references to flesh out her subject. If you have an interest in Women's Basketball, Women's history, American Sociology, etc., do not pass by this book!

  2. 5 out of 5

    LindaJ^

    It's March and that means college basketball heaven. I love March madness - both the women's and men's NCAA tournaments, but especially the women's. I've been watching the women's NCAA tournament since it started to be shown on TV and it just doesn't get enough attention. So as I was browsing in the local bookstore, I encountered a table on which there were books about sports I spied two that were about women's basketball with similar covers and bought them both. Then I had a travel day that sta It's March and that means college basketball heaven. I love March madness - both the women's and men's NCAA tournaments, but especially the women's. I've been watching the women's NCAA tournament since it started to be shown on TV and it just doesn't get enough attention. So as I was browsing in the local bookstore, I encountered a table on which there were books about sports I spied two that were about women's basketball with similar covers and bought them both. Then I had a travel day that started at 3AM, so I began reading this book at 4:15AM while drinking my Starbucks coffee at the airport. I finished it that same evening, after attending a 4-hour Fund for Choice dinner event. From that you can correctly conclude that it was good and an easy read. It's much better than a 3 star read but not quite the 4 I'm giving it. I played high school basketball - for 3 years we played the 6-player women's game and then finally, as a senior, the 5-player women's game (basically the same as the men's) were put in place for high school inter-school play in Maine. (I felt liberated!) That was the extent of my knowledge of the history of women's basketball. This book has remedied that deficiency. It starts at the very beginning and explains the initial ups, the backlash and elimination of basketball from high school (except in Iowa!) and most college programs, and then the upswing resulting from Title IX, a federal law requiring colleges accepting federal dollars to provide equal opportunities in sports to men and women, including the development of professional leagues for women in the U.S. The book ends with a chapter on senior leagues - women in their 50's, 60's, and 70's who play 3 on 3 half court games, and play very hard. The book has 15 short chapters and some great pictures. Those poor girls who had to play wearing long sleeve sweaters, tights, and bloomers! And then the uniforms of Arkansas Travelers - short, shorts and knee pads. I had never heard of the industrial leagues - companies hired men and women who were good basketball players to play on their teams, which would often go on tour for weeks to play around the country. They did not loose their amateur status because they were employees! The author does a nice, if succinct, job of addressing the prejudices that have plagued women's basketball -- against women playing sports in which they would sweat, against blacks, against native Americans, and against lesbians. If you like basketball and history, you will likely find this a great read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Candy

    This is a really great book. With out giving away any spoilers this is a book about perseverance and over coming obstacles they these women went through for a sport they love. Truly a great book for any basketball fan.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eli

    Consider this a 3.5-star review rounded up to a 4. Lannin has done a very good job of collecting a wide range of interesting and informative stories dating from the late 19th century to the modern day, and I for one consider myself to be better-educated about basketball having read her book. I also think that this book would be a great source of inspiration and encouragement for girls and women who are interested in the sport. That having been said, I find Lannin's authorial style to be a bit ind Consider this a 3.5-star review rounded up to a 4. Lannin has done a very good job of collecting a wide range of interesting and informative stories dating from the late 19th century to the modern day, and I for one consider myself to be better-educated about basketball having read her book. I also think that this book would be a great source of inspiration and encouragement for girls and women who are interested in the sport. That having been said, I find Lannin's authorial style to be a bit indistinct or bland at times, which unfortunately takes away from some of the excitement of the subject matter. For instance, the chapters don't usually build to a powerful conclusion or resolution, and so the pacing can feel a bit stilted at times. I mean, the book is by no means unreadable or anything like that - I got through it in about two days, so it's written in a perfectly competent way. We're not talking about Dan Brown or anything. It just didn't go much beyond competence, is all, and so I can't rate the book above a 3.5. Overall, I would recommend this book as a resource for girls and women who are interested in basketball, for researchers who are looking for a window into the history of women in basketball, and for anyone else (of whatever gender) who enjoys learning about sports history or basketball history in particular. Basically, the subject matter is the thing. Whether it has enough narrative punch to attract people who aren't already interested in the subject, I'm not so sure. (I received this book through this site's giveaway program.)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anne Walker

    As I began reading this book I found myself sharing its stories and facts with my teenage high school students, many of them basketball players themselves. The book's comprehensive review of the early pioneers of the game-- the struggles faced, the multi-cultural discrimination, sexism--was at times infuriating, and always enlightening. Along with my students, I learned so very much in reading this book and have a much greater respect for all who have battled to find a way to play a game that ha As I began reading this book I found myself sharing its stories and facts with my teenage high school students, many of them basketball players themselves. The book's comprehensive review of the early pioneers of the game-- the struggles faced, the multi-cultural discrimination, sexism--was at times infuriating, and always enlightening. Along with my students, I learned so very much in reading this book and have a much greater respect for all who have battled to find a way to play a game that has, no doubt, been a source of inspiration for many. Kudos to the author who takes her time to passionately become the resounding voice of all those who "ignored the odds and the naysayers in order to play the game they loved".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tyrell Williams.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lysa

  10. 4 out of 5

    Porscha

  11. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  12. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  13. 4 out of 5

    amy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  15. 4 out of 5

    V

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Adams

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  18. 5 out of 5

    Max

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Len

  23. 5 out of 5

    PinkPiratePanda

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roseann Moss

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leland Lee

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anne Marie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kimmie

  32. 4 out of 5

    Cheri Clark

  33. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Miller

  34. 5 out of 5

    David Bathurst

  35. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  37. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Hornbeck

  38. 4 out of 5

    Shanel Lewis

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