Inside the U.S. women's basketball team's improbable journey to its first Olympics
From OUR archives: The PP Book Club interview w/ '76 Olympic silver medalist Mary Anne O'Connor and Andrew Maraniss, author of "Inaugural Ballers."
Hi, friends. I hope you are all having a very fun end-of-the-year holiday season. What a strange black hole of a week this space between Christmas and New Year’s is, right? Last week I said I’d be publishing some big pieces this week, but I’ve wisely pushed those to next week because I mean, is anyone even reading e-mail this week? (I guess I’ll know soon enough, hah!)
My Christmas was lovely — I was lucky enough to not lose power and to not have to travel at all. I hope that all of you who weren’t as lucky have found warmth and made it safely back to your destinations!
In today’s newsletter, I’m going to be sharing the full video and transcript of our Power Plays Book Club Q&A earlier this month with Mary Anne O’Connor, a player on the 1976 U.S. women’s national basketball team that won silver at the Montreal Olympics, and Andrew Maraniss, author of our most recent Book Club selection, “Inaugural Ballers: The Story of the First US Women’s Olympic Basketball Team.”
I’ve also highlighted a few of my favorite excerpts from the conversation, such as: The inside details of the cross-country tryouts for the ‘76 team, which included THOUSANDS of women; the horrific support (or lack-there-of) the women received from the USOPC and USA Basketball; Mary Anne’s recollections of Lucy Harris and Pat Head Summitt; and a first-hand account of what it meant to win the historic silver medal.
I know that all of you — whether you were able to join us in the conversation live or not — are going to love this. I know I did.
First, I briefly want to talk about the Power Plays Book Club
But first, I know we have some new Power Plays subscribers (Welcome!!!), so I wanted to *very briefly* talk about the Power Plays Book Club. This is a perk available to paid subscribers (though, of course, free subscribers are welcome to read along with us!!), in which we read a book about women’s sports together and I write multiple paywalled newsletters deep-diving into topics the book covers. There are usually virtual events with the authors and subjects of the books, too.
If you’re a nerd about history or about women’s sports, you will love it.
In January and February, the Book Club selection is "Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women's Football League” by Frankie de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D'Arcangelo.
As a special treat, I’ve removed the paywall from a few of my favorite past Book Club newsletters, so you can get a sense of the vibe, or just take a fun trip down memory lane over the holiday:
“The strip protest that put the spine in Title IX” (Book Club selection: “Course Correction” by Ginny Gilder)
“Before FIFA interfered, a crowd of 110,000 watched the Women's World Cup in Mexico” (“Futbolera” by Brenda Elsey and Joshua Nadel)
“The rise and fall of the AIAW, and what it meant to women’s basketball” (“Sum it Up” by Pat Summitt and Sally Jenkins)
“The Flamin' Mamie's Bouffant Belles” (“Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story” by Wyomia Tyus and Elizabeth Terzakis)
The rest of this newsletter is going to be behind a paywall, but the good news is that we are still in the final days of the Sylvia Fowles Holiday Special, which means you get 34% off of annual Power Plays subscriptions, bringing the total to $47.52!! This deal is good for gift subscriptions and subscription donations!! (I’d like to note that we actually have a wait list now for people who want a paid subscription to Power Plays but can’t afford it, so donations are very appreciated.)
The support this month has been overwhelming in the best way, and I’m entering 2023 in a much stronger position than I thought I would. Every subscription helps raise the ceiling of possibilities.
This community is the best community.
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