My overlooked best of decade

Photo courtesy of Twitter

“End of decade” sports stories dominated print and electronic media in the days leading up to the end of 2019, mostly by and about males. Where are the women?

Only three of ABC News’ 10 biggest sports stories from 2010 to 2019 featured women, one more than’s top 50 stories of the 2010s. SB Nation did devote 50% (eight of 16) of the decade’s best basketball seasons to women, and Lindsay Gibbs’ excellent top-20 most important women’s sports moments in her Power Plays! weekly newsletter is a must-read.

Although the Minneapolis daily newspaper rightly recognized the Minnesota Lynx as the local team of the 2010s, it failed to note that women’s sports, not men’s, successfully dominated the last decade sports-wise:

Lynx: nine winning seasons, seven finals, four championships.

Gopher women’s hockey: 10 NCAAs, eight Final Fours, four national titles, four conference titles, five regular-season crowns.

Gopher volleyball: nine NCAAs, nine Sweet 16s, three Final Fours, two Big Ten crowns.

Gopher softball: Seven NCAAs, four league titles, one Women’s College World Series appearance.

Also overlooked or barely recognized, in no particular order, were the following culturally specific local and national notables of the 2010s:

  • The WNBA consecutively hired two Black women presidents (Laurel Richie, 2011; Lisa Borders, 2015).
  • Kelsey Koelzer was the first Black selected as the top draft pick of American pro hockey (2016).
  • The Minnesota Twins (2018) hired for only one season its first-ever Black pitching-hitting coach tandem (Garvin Alston, James Rowson).
  • Henry Lake became WCCO Radio’s first Black regular weeknight host (2019).
  • Khalid El-Amin and Tracy Henderson became the first Northsiders respectively inducted into the Minnesota High School Hall of Fame.
  • C. Vivian Stringer (2018) with her 1,000th win became the winningest Black female coach in women’s college basketball.
  • Dawn Staley (2017) became only the second Black female to win a women’s basketball national title.
  • Augsburg University (2018-19) became the first Minnesota college or university whose women’s basketball starting five were all Black.
  • Nicola Adams won the first women’s Olympics boxing gold medal (2012) and retired undefeated as WBO flyweight champ in 2019.
  • Current Capital City GoGo (NBA G-League) announcer Meghan McPeak became the first Black female announcer to call an NBA game (2018). She was the first female G-League play-by-play broadcaster (2015).
  • The NCHC became the first men’s college hockey conference whose member schools have Black assistant coaches (one each on Colorado College and Omaha) on their coaching staffs.
  • James Wade (2019) became the first Black coach to win WNBA Coach of the Year honors in his first season.
  • Tyronn Lue (2016) was the first Black NBA coach to win a title in the 2010s.
  • Lisa Leslie (2019) became the first Black female coach to win the Big3 title, the summertime 3-on-3 basketball league of former NBA and international players.
  • Jeffrey Orridge was the first Black commissioner of a major North American sports league (2015-2017).
  • Mariah Stackhouse (2011) became the youngest Black woman to make the U.S. Open and the first Black woman to make the winning U.S. Curtis Cup team (2014).
  • Meet Minneapolis CEO Melvin Tennant was the only Black among the Minnesota contingent that helped bring such high-profile sporting events to the Cities: Super Bowl, Men’s Final Four, Women’s Volleyball Final Four, and two All-Star Games (MLB, WNBA).

Of course, this is only a small sampling of overlooked but nonetheless significant events and accomplishments by Blacks in the past decade. 

Our ‘Banished Word’

Lake Superior State (Mich.) University, since 1976, annually publishes at the end of the year its Banished Words List. These are overused words and phrases in sports, politics and culture.

This columnist is adding “mainstream media” to the list. We will instead use “primarily White media” (PWM) and “primarily White male editors” (PWMEs) whenever inadequate women’s sports coverage is discussed.