Episode 16 – Dr. Boss

We recorded a new episode on Friday. Due to circumstances, I was unable to edit it right away, but I finally have and it is available now. (mp3 version: )

We had a special guest for part of it, in forward Tiffany Weimer.  Ruth and I have been big Tiffany Weimer fans for a long time (Ruth more so than I, probably), and it was really great to have her on.  There was a lot more of the conversation that got cut out, hopefully we can get to those bits on a later episode.

Episode 15 – Mildly Inspirational

Shownotes after the break

Pretty sure this makes Tiff Weimer my sports media hero.

Technically, I’m supposed to be taking a break from anything related to school, but I want to talk about why I’m so excited about Our Game Magazine. So to be fair, I am going to reference articles without quoting or citing them, and you can find them in the reading list. But mostly, I want to have a fannish dork-out over the potential of this magazine before I have a chance to feel cynical about it.

In case you’re too lazy to click the magazine’s link, I’m going to C&P straight from the page. All copy is good copy.

Our Game Magazine is a women’s soccer magazine created by current and past players for players and fans all around the world.

Khaled El-Ahmad- Founder
Tiffany Weimer- Editor
Kat Galsim
Carmelina Moscato
Alyssa Naeher
Mike LeGates
Olaf Goldbecker
Leslie Osborne
Ryan Wood

The first issue will be web-based, making its debut on June 1, 2010.

No disrespect to any of the other names on this list, but it’s the current and past (women’s) soccer players that get me charged up over this magazine. One of the complaints in women’s soccer–or women’s sports in general–is that men’s teams would never have to [do something like this]. There really isn’t a need for male athletes (in most sports) to create their own media in order to have thorough and relevant coverage. But frankly, it’s the player initiative that makes me excited about this magazine.  This isn’t Fair Game, for those of you that remember that; this is Our Game, spearheaded by one of the best player-writers in women’s soccer.

There was this great study done by some folks at Penn State not too long ago, looking at the narratives surrounding Title IX. If you read the article, it’s easy to look at the majority of the findings and conclusions and get depressed or frustrated with what people are saying about women’s sports. It’s easy to be negative about the fact that the best resistance to mainstream narrative comes from female athletes. It’s easy to say that we [in women’s sports] want a greater percentage of more relevant mainstream coverage, because that is where the money is. My cynical self says I really prefer not to have the mainstream coverage. I prefer not to have that style tainting my enjoyment of my sport.

Money be damned–since the WPS has none–I’d rather have internally-created content that the league, teams, and players have control over. I prefer to have people that are knowledgeable and who give a damn telling me about what is going on in the game I love. I’d rather have the potential for women’s soccer media to build new narratives away from the ESPNs and US Soccer, because women’s soccer is rich with the kind of narratives that can appeal to a large audience. The game has its Davids and Goliaths. It also has armies of players and teams in between. All of women’s soccer deserves greater coverage–and more often than once or twice a year during tournaments.

In the  WPS chat the other day, my co-author asked Tiff Weimer (the magazine’s editor), whether the magazine was born of desire or necessity. I think it is a necessity. But I think if you look at the staff listing, you can see desire there as well. I don’t think I am bringing too much bias, either. Have a look at the mission statement:

The objective of Our Game Magazine is simple. We want to further the popularity of women’s soccer throughout the world. Our aim is to provide a creative, unique perspective like no magazine has ever done before. Soccer is the one game that can unite the world, and we want to aid in the growth of the women’s side of it. The staff at Our Game Magazine is fully committed to bringing you a quality product stemmed from insightful soccer minds and a passion for the beautiful game.

Whenever I talk about my research or women’s sports media, I almost always bring up Weimer. Not because she is a journalism major–you can find other communications/journalism/English/whatever majors in the sport. This is a player that has blogged for various teams at various levels of the sport. Youth national teams, WPSL teams, WPS teams. She is as good a writer as she is a player, and I’m disappointed when she isn’t given opportunities on either front to show how she can shine. She has embraced social media, particularly Twitter, more than any other player in the league–and she knows how to use it. She isn’t just going through the motions. I don’t think I’m giving her too much credit when I say she understands what she is doing when she writes, blogs, tweets, and launches a damned magazine. I think she knows exactly what she’s doing, I think she wants to do this, and honestly, she is precisely the player I expected this of.

So, for once,  I have high hopes. I have faith that if anyone can make a difference and deliver with a media initiative like this, it’s Tiff Weimer and whatever team she puts together. And I’m more than willing to give this magazine a chance even if the first issue has its flaws. I’ve been on the ground floor of a magazine, and I have the patience to see Our Game Magazine grow.