Episode 106: The Champions Leagues, HomoClimbtastic, and Racism in Baseball
**For this month’s Patreon-only segment, we are doing listener mail. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, you have until the end of day Friday, May 17 to send an email either through the contact form on our website www.burnitalldownpod.com or to our email burnitalldownpod at gmail.com. Please write I HAVE A QUESTION as the subject of the email.**
On this week’s show, Shireen, Brenda, and Jessica are joined by guest co-host and show favorite, Shakeia Taylor. After the gang talks about Adam Silver stating that he’d like more women refs and coaches in the NBA, [5:45] they turn their attention to the Champions Leagues, both the men’s and women’s. [18:57] Then Amira sits down with Hilary Malatino to talk about the Rock Climbing Organization they co-organize, HomoClimbtastic, which hosts the largest Climbing Convention of LGBTQIA+ climbers every year. [31:08] And the gang discusses baseball, race, racism, Tim Anderson, the White House, and athlete protest. [50:30]
Of course, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, [59:38] our Bad Ass Woman of the Week, starring the Calgary Inferno, [1:01:50] and what is good in our worlds. [1:06:19]
🎉🎉🎉 Congratulations to Brenda for her new job at FARE! https://farenet.org/news/brenda-elsey-joins-the-fare-team/
“Adam Silver Calls for More Gender Diversity in N.B.A. Officiating and Coaching” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/09/sports/adam-silver-nba-gender-diversity.html
Baseball Prospectus Feature: Loss, For Words: https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/48751/prospectus-feature-loss-for-words-tim-anderson-suspension/
“Cora to skip Red Sox's trip to White House” http://www.espn.com/espnw/sports/article/26679004/cora-skip-red-sox-trip-white-house
“High Fives from the President” https://tht.fangraphs.com/high-fives-from-the-president/
“Cubs Fan Using ‘Ok’ Hand Gesture Behind Doug Glanville Gets Banned Indefinitely” https://deadspin.com/cubs-fan-using-ok-hand-gesture-behind-doug-glanville-1834615036
“Liverpool Stage Utterly Sensational 4-0 Comeback Over Barcelona To Reach Champions League Final” https://deadspin.com/liverpool-stage-utterly-sensational-4-0-comeback-over-b-1834593091
“Champions League Madness Continues As Tottenham Gut Ajax With Last Minute Game-Winning Goal” https://deadspin.com/champions-league-madness-continues-as-tottenham-gut-aja-1834623608
“Arsenal And Chelsea Advance To Europa League Final, Making Both European Finals All-English Affairs” https://deadspin.com/arsenal-and-chelsea-advance-to-europa-league-final-mak-1834655525
“Lucas Moura and the Brazilian football stars giving their backing to Jair Bolsonaro” https://www.givemesport.com/1398107-lucas-moura-and-the-brazilian-football-stars-giving-their-backing-to-jair-bolsonaro
“From Rivaldo to Ronaldinho: Why Brazil’s football legends have endorsed Jair Bolsonaro” https://inews.co.uk/sport/football/brazil-footballers-jair-bolsonaro-ronaldinho-rivaldo-kaka-lucas-moura/
“Lyon v Barcelona: #UWCL final – all you need to know” https://www.uefa.com/womenschampionsleague/news/newsid=2601385.html
“Nurse awarded world record for London Marathon after bid was first denied because she didn't wear dress” https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/2019/05/08/london-marathon-jessica-anderson-guinness-world-records/1140572001/
“Shahid Afridi: Former Pakistan cricket captain says his daughters are forbidden from playing outdoor sport” https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/shahid-afridi-cricket-daughters-sport-pakistan-a8909361.html
“Wolfsburg gegen Freiburg - das Siegtor” https://www.sportschau.de/fussball/frauenfussball/video-wolfsburg-gegen-freiburg---das-siegtor-100.html
Underwater rugby players from the Phoenix Project from Gothenburg, Sweden who participated in the inaugural Amager Ladies Cup in Copenhagen: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amagerladiescup/photos/
Jessica: Welcome to Burn It All Down, the feminist sports podcast you need. I'm Jessica Luther, freelance journalist and author in Austin, Texas. On today's show, I'm joined by Brenda Elsey, an Associate Professor of History at Hofstra on Long Island; Shireen Ahmed, a writer, public speaker, and sports activist in Toronto; and we are thrilled, once more, to be joined by Shakeia Taylor, a writer in Chicago, Illinois, and a lover of baseball, who listeners will recognize from multiple interviews and co-hosting gigs here on Burn It All Down. Welcome back, Shakeia.
Shakeia: Morning, thanks for having me.
Jessica: First things first. As always, thank you to our patrons whose support of this podcast through our ongoing Patreon campaign: Make Burn It All Down Possible. We are forever and always grateful. If you would like to become a patron, it's easy. Go to patreon.com/burnitalldown. For as little as $2 per month, you can access exclusives, like extra Patreon-only segments, or our monthly newsletter.
We are recording on Sunday, May 12th, which for many listeners is Mother's Day. By the time you hear this episode, you will have already received in your feeds a Mother's Day hot take from Shireen and Amira, but we want to kick off this episode wishing a happy Mother's Day to any of our listeners who mother and holding space for anyone for whom this holiday is difficult.
On today's show we're going to talk about the Men's Champion's League and Europa League, as well as the Women's Champions League. Then, Amira sits down with Hilary Malatino, an assistant professor of women's, gender, and sexuality studies and philosophy and research associate at the Rock Ethics Center at Penn State to talk about the rock climbing organization they co-organize, HomoClimbtastic, who hosts the largest climbing convention of LGBTQIA climbers every year.
Then, finally, when we have Shakeia here, we have to exploit her expertise, so we're going to talk about baseball, Tim Anderson, the White House, and wherever else the conversation takes us. And of course, we'll cap off today's show by burning things that deserve to be burned, doing shout-outs to women who deserve shout-outs, and telling you what is good in our worlds.
Okay, but before we dive in, as we've talked about recently, the NBA playoffs are in full swing. Commissioner Adam Silver, he recently talked publicly about refereeing, but not actually about how controversial it's been in the postseason, which is ... I feel like even an understatement, the word controversial. No, instead, he stated that he has a goal to make half the refs in the league women and also to have more women coaches in the league, too. I think that I speak for all of us when I say great idea, Adam, great idea. What do you all think about this plan? Shireen, I know that you have thoughts.
Shireen: I always have thoughts, I mean, we love this idea. I mean, it's not like he's saying anything novel or interesting or creative. I mean, we've been saying this forever, when I mean "we," I mean people in the margins, I mean women, non-binary folks. I tweeted about this and was just like "Silver really needs to put his money where his mouth is. Creating more job opportunities, more opportunities for coaching qualifications, jobs for women, conferences, policies that pay for mat leave." It's easy to stand there and be like, "I'm such an ally. Let's have more women." No, you do not get cookies. Why do these people think they get cookies for this? This is what just kills me. I don't know. No, do better. Do more, do something. God.
Jessica: Shakeia, you have any thoughts on this?
Shakeia: I actually was going to go the same direction. It's not enough. I think it's a distraction, really. Yes, do it, all good. If you're going to have women refs anywhere, the NBA is probably the place because it's a league full of guys who support women basketball players. Hello. Women basketball players. What about them? Hey, I mean, they're right there. They're right there. They play your sport. Put more money and time into the WNBA. I mean, they're right there.
Jessica: Yeah. Where can you get these refs and coaches from? Where could they come from? It's hard. It's hard. Brenda?
Brenda: It's such a puzzle.
Jessica: The great puzzle. Yes.
Brenda: I just feel like it felt like a one-off. It felt ... It's sort of disrespectful on the one hand. It's exciting. It's cool because we're so desperate for any sort of mention of real structural change, but it just felt like, “I'm going to do this thing. Aren't I awesome?”
So, yeah. I'm just in agreement, and I just feel like it's a little bit disrespectful. Maybe more than a little bit, actually, to the WNBA, because it's sort of implying that he's not aware that there's a lot of women referees.
Jessica: And coaches. Right? Like-
Brenda: And coaches who are working-
Jessica: We already know where they all are, yeah.
Brenda: You know.
Shireen: But you can't be friends with Becky Hammon, and then call it a day. That's not enough. I don't even know if he's friends with Becky Hammon, but my point is, is it's just like-
Jessica: He wishes he was.
Shireen: I wish I was, so that's for sure.
Jessica: Me, too. Yeah.
Shakeia: I just feel like, leave it to the commissioner of the league to ignore the obvious. Like, let's make it hard.
Jessica: That's so-
Shireen: That is so true.
Brenda: They're going to be accepting resumes from all over. God knows where.
Shakeia: I mean, where are we ever going to find the people to fill these roles? The ones that we're currently ignoring, you mean? So obnoxious.
Shireen: Yup, it is.
Jessica: So, we, obviously here at Burn It All Down, are not going to hand out the cookies this week.
Shireen: No cookies.
Jessica: All right.
Shireen: No cookies.
Jessica: Let's get into this. Okay, Shireen. It was a wild week, I think it's fair to say, in men's soccer in Europe, and this upcoming Saturday is a big deal in women's soccer in Europe. Can you kick off this segment by giving us some background about the Champions League, and tell us what the hell happened this week?
Shireen: Thanks, Jess. Okay, so European football, wow. I love it. I always want to decolonize my brain, but this is literally my dream to talk about. What Jessica is referring to is the Champions League, the wild semi-finals that were, the devastation that occurred, the sadness on the pitch, the falling to your knees in despair in two minutes left of extra time. Just that glory, pain, and emotion is because of the Champions League.
I will tell you what the Champions League is. For those that don't know, the Champions League is actually one of the, in my opinion, the greatest annual tournament. It is run by UEFA, which is the European Federation of Football, Soccer. So, what it does is it basically comprises, I believe, 32 teams qualified for this in most countries. What ends up happening is the top teams end up qualifying for this, and it's played in tournament style from September until May.
Brenda: Oh, wow. I didn't realize that.
Shireen: Yeah, it's pretty incredible, and what it is, is Champ's League is also a refresher, because instead of the independent national leagues that we see, for example La Liga in Spain, Sevilla in Italy, in Ligue 1 in France, you have the Premier League in England, you have the Bundesliga in Germany, the Turkish League. This is a league that brings all those teams together. Teams that wouldn't otherwise play each other, play each other in the Champions League.
It's really fun. You get to see match-ups that you wouldn't otherwise see, different players playing each other, different styles of play. It's my favorite. I just love it. Now, what has ended up happening is, for those that bet on football, what a year this has been for you, because I don't think anyone would have imagined that the final that we are going to see.
The final that we are going to see will be Liverpool, a premier league team, playing Tottenham, who is also a premier league team. Now, these two were not necessarily pegged to go forward, particularly because Mo Salah, Mohamed Salah, of Liverpool now has a concussion, and Harry Kane of Tottenham, he's also the captain of the English men's team, he's out with injury.
So, Liverpool was in the final last year of the Champs League. You know they lost to Real Madrid, and Brenda and I had a lot of feelings about that and Sergio Ramos.
Jessica: Oh, that's right. Okay.
Shireen: Yeah, we talked about it last year. So, what is happening moving forward is Liverpool beat out Barcelona, and they beat out Barcelona on a fourth-rate aggregate, which means the first match of the semi-finals, because there's always two legs, meaning two matches, and Barcelona beat them three-nothing, and everyone's like, “Oh, this is expected. Messi's the greatest player in the world.”
All true, yes. However, what had to happen in the second game was Liverpool would have had to win four-nothing, sorry, three-nothing and concede no goals, and guess what happened? They did it. So, Twitter was exploding, the Liverpudlian fans were in tears in pubs, in mosques, in community centers and everywhere, singing, praying, whatever.
I think, this is my own little opinion, Ramadan has something to do with it, because you got a whole lot of Muslims praying for this team. So, this is my opinion, but they did it, and it was one of the most glorious ... Particularly because Barcelona was winning, by a lot.
Now, the second semi-final was Ajax, which is a team in the Netherlands, one of the greatest teams in the sport, in my opinion, against Tottenham. You're like Tottenham, the Spurs? They're also called the Spurs, not to be confused with San Antonio. So, they ended up winning without some of their main players.
And Ajax was also winning three-nothing in the second leg, and Tottenham came back to beat them ... Sorry, two-nothing, and it was just ... Now, the Ajax team is very young. Their captain is 19 years old. They're mostly a Dutch team. Yeah, he's the youngest captain to have ever captained in a Champs League semi-final, so it's pretty incredible.
Minds were blown. The football goddesses are having a lot of fun with everybody. I know Brenda, Messi crying in the locker room afterwards. I don't want to trigger you, but I think it's just been really fabulous for those of us that are just watching. It's been pretty incredible. Now, just to quickly go after that. The Europa League-
Shireen: I'm sorry. I love you. The Europa League is another league. It's, in my opinion, secondary to the Champs League. It's also run by UEFA. Now, it's the same system in which ... To people to qualify, but it's also a recognized tournament. So, it's not the Champs League. You're like "Why do they have another tournament? Like, what's the point?" I don't know, because UEFA doesn't make any sense anyway. So-
Jessica: People will watch it, probably.
Shireen: People watch it, and why? You know, invest into women's soccer and we can just have another tournament. So, Europa League, actually, the finals this years will be between Chelsea, a premier league team, and Arsenal, also a Chelsea ... a premier league team. So what that means is, in the two biggest tournaments in Europe, you've got all four British teams, English teams.
All the English are going, “Yay! We're the best.” No, that's not what it means. It just means that this year the two finals are with English teams. Now, more importantly in all of this, the Women's Champs League finals, because there is an iteration of the Women's Champ League final with maybe 1/20th of a percent of the marketing and the money, and the investment. No, maybe 1/60th, I would say. They have a final this week in Budapest, and it will be between Olympique Lyonnais, which we all know is like an incredible team, probably the best club team, in my opinion, in the world. Don't @ me, I know you will, and, the football club of Barcelona.
So, Barcelona's women's side. So guess what? Barcelona did make a Champ's League final, it just wasn't in men's. So, rearing up, it's going to be amazing. Hold on to your seats.
Jessica: Brenda, anyone who listens to this podcast knows about your deep love of Lio Messi, who lost. He's with Barcelona, so we know that you've had a week. What would you like to talk about around the Champs League this week? Are you holding up, Bren?
Brenda: I don't ... No. Not at all, I think. I don't even know how to fathom how Ernesto Valverde, the coach of Barcelona, has a job. This is the second flameout in a row, in the exact same way.
Jessica: Is he expected to keep it?
Brenda: But, it's not clear because they're still up for the Spanish title, so if he can do that some people believe that he might be able to hold onto his job, but I don't care. He should be fired every single day of the week, and twice on Sunday. He is horrible at his job, and I mean the fact that Philippe Coutinho even started, I'm just flabbergasted. And then the pacing of Barcelona in that game was horrible.
Literally, he had no game plan for the fact that there was like six Liverpool defenders on Messi at all time. He was just like, “Oh, well, let's just hope that the greatest ever can figure his way out of this.” Literally, it was like he didn't work the week before the final.
Did he just take a vacation? I mean, there was no game plan whatsoever. I'm so angry. I'm so mad. I can't believe it, but I'm mad because the same thing happened last year against Roma. It's not as good of a team. It just isn't, so it's bad for football. It is.
It's always bad for football when Messi doesn't get to play anywhere, and for him to be crying and thinking of retiring makes me murderous about Valverde. I'm just like, “You're ruining soccer! You're ruining the entire sport right now. It's your fault, everything.”
Shireen: I can't believe that I'm going to say this, but I mean-
Brenda: No, do it.
Shireen: What it does is it gives other fans whose teams aren't as strong this thing called hope.
Brenda: I know.
Shireen: I'm like, “No. Why? Why do you have hope? Why?”
Brenda: I want it crushed. I don't care.
Shireen: Don't get me wrong, I love me some Mohamed Salah and then Sadio Mané. I'm all about that, but it's wild. It's almost ... It's just unfathomable. I don't like a sad Messi, mostly because it makes Brenda sad, but also because I really respect ter Stegen, and I love Umtiti. I love these players. I always have, and I always will, but it's almost like the Champs League has the opportunity to shake everything up, and that's exactly what it did.
Brenda: Anyway, that's not the take I'm here for. But, let's talk about Barça women for one second, because you know-
Shakeia: Yes, please.
Brenda: Yeah, the one thing is if no one follows Barça women, the Twitter account. It's a really great account to follow, and they have a podcast. It's @BarcaWomen, and if you want to keep up with anything that happens, they have a really good podcast. Actually, it's in English, right? I believe. I've heard it in Spanish, but I believe it's in English, as well.
Shireen: Their Twitter is in English, too. Well-
Shireen: It's multilingual, but mostly English.
Brenda: It's amazing, and I would just like to say that I like Barcelona for that final, but look what happens when I like Barcelona for any Champs League final. So probably it will just transfer over my failed-
Shireen: Oh, no.
Brenda: ... fandom. But, they do have this really, really, really impressive midfielder, in my opinion, Alexia Putellas. I don't know if anyone has paid attention to her, but she's been having this great season, and she's really young and exciting and fast and strong. If you have a chance to check it out, I think she won't disappoint.
Shireen: The Champ's League women's final will be available. It's on Facebook, and you can find it on a shady livestream via Reddit. But, Brenda, I really like Kheira Hamraoui who is a French national who plays for Barça women. I think she's phenomenal but let's also remember that who Lyonnais, Olympique Lyonnais is basically Ada Hegerberg. It is ... Oh, my gosh, it is just some of the most incredible players its got Eugénie Le Sommer. It’s got Wendie Renard, Sarah Bouhaddi. It's basically the crux of the French national women's team. And they're just incredible, so you know, will see.
Jessica: And they have something like ... They won the last three. This is their fourth final in a row. They won the title overall five times. If we were going to talk momentum, they clearly have that in their favor.
Brenda: They have Amandine Henry still?
Brenda: Right, and so-
Shireen: They have Kadeisha Buchanan, whose amazing, Canadian, incredible. They're, in my opinion, the strongest. Meg Rapinoe played there. They are the strongest team in my opinion in women's club in the world.
Jessica: Go ahead Bren.
Brenda: Well, if it goes like the other Champs League finals, having the most talented team won't win.
Shireen: This is true. This is true. It's just been, as you said, it's been incredibly exciting to see and watch. I love ... and also leading up to the women's World Cup, the Champs League, I hope, gets a little more hype. I mean, it's hard for me to watch this via Facebook and there be like, I don't know, 800 people in the stand. This is the fucking Champs League final for women. Where are you all? I just ... I mean, but at the same time I appreciate the football, it gets really frustrating for me because you see the disparity in terms of what the women have and what they play with, and they play their hearts out. So, we'll see.
Jessica: And that's a good point, Shireen, that in this year in particular when the women's World Cup is literally around the corner that if any year you're going to push it, this would be the one, right? And then, before we wrap up, so when it's Liverpool versus Tottenham, who's going to win that? Shireen? Brenda?
Shireen: My money is ... It's not really my money on anywhere because betting is haram, and it's not acceptable and it's Ramadan. So technically I'm not going to bet, but if I was going to bet I would say Liverpool.
Shireen: And Firmino and Salah will probably be back by then, so we'll see. But, I mean, Tottenham is lovely. A wing and a prayer can only get you so far, but we'll see.
Jessica: Up next, Amira interviews Hilary Malatino about the rock climbing organization they co-organize HomoClimbtastic, which hosts the largest climbing convention of LGBTQIA climbers every year.
Amira: I am joined here today by my brilliant and amazing colleague at Penn State Hilary Malatino, and I decided to talk to Hil today because I learned of this amazing organization that Hil's a part of and now co-organizes called HomoClimbtastic. Now, if you're like me and wondering what is this amazing organization with a funky name, we have to learn more, then this is the interview for you. So, Hil, welcome to Burn It All Down.
Hilary: Yeah, thank you for having me.
Amira: So, what is HomoClimbtastic?
Hilary: HomoClimbtastic is the world's largest LGBTQIA et cetera climbing organization. We've been around for 12 years, and the biggest thing we do every year is we host a convention over a long weekend in the New River Gorge, which is in West Virginia. It is one of the best rock climbing destinations in the world.
Amira: Rock climbing. I know nothing about rock climbing, but it doesn't strike me as something that's safe. But really thrilling, so what was the motivation behind ... Is it also a space that is marginalizing? Where did the motivation to form HomoClimbtastic come from?
Hilary: Yeah, so climbing is ... It can be as safe or as unsafe as you want it to be. I would say that, just to begin. So the way that we climb at HomoClimbtastic prioritizes safety. Of course it's an inherently unsafe sport. You can be injured by rock fall. You can take big falls. You can potential deck, which is when you fall and hit the ground. I've never seen anybody deck at HomoClimbtastic, and there has never been, knock on wood, any really large incident as far as safety is concerned. So while rock climbing isn't always the safest, at HC we try to do it as safely as possible. We prioritize that. We make everybody wear helmets all the time.
Amira: Look at that. Safety.
Hilary: But, yeah, climbing has historically been fringe, outsider adventure sport. Like most fringe, outsider adventure sports in the U.S., in particular, it's drawn a lot of weirdos, but those weirdos have tended to be straight, cisgendered, and mostly white. Climbing is like many other sports in that respect, like mountain biking, like surfing, like skateboarding, et cetera. Base jumping, sky diving, all those things. Adventure sports tend to be really white, mostly educationally, economically privileged and very straight and historically really bro-ey spaces. HC began as a way to provide some space for queer and trans climbers that didn't really exist, so we existed. But we would go to gyms and be swarmed by-
Amira: Dude bros.
Hilary: Dude bros. Right. And the organization began 12 years ago, so I think the demographics in the world of climbing have shifted pretty radically since then. But, yeah, definitely when the organization formed climbing was very ... If you saw women they were usually attached to their boyfriends.
Amira: Right. Well, I saw that one of that taglines was "Sports are for everyone. Period." And I think that that is yes and aligns a lot with what we talk about here, which is what does sport look like beyond the boundary? What does it look like if it's gender inclusive? What does it look like if we care about racism within these institutions? What does it look like if we demand that it loves us back in the way that we love sports? What does it mean for queer people to be able to come and gather and also just engage in athletics? What does it tell us about the democratizing of sport?
Hilary: That's a really big question. I think one of the things ... So, okay. I want to back up a little bit and say that when I first attended HC I had started climbing only about a year prior. I'd only really done gym climbing and a little bit of outdoor climbing. I'd never climbed with other queer folks in any kind of number, and when I first went to the convention in West Virginia I just got to this campsite and I was surrounded by a bunch of really, really strong and sexy queer people. And I was in the middle of West Virginia, which is not a place where you would expect to find-
Amira: I had a question about that.
Hilary: We can talk more about, actually, because the community in Fayetteville, West Virginia, where we have the convention is really accepting and radical and awesome. But, yeah, I went to that convention and I thought, "Oh, okay. So climbing is this sport that is actually helped me love a body that has undergone pretty significant trauma in relationship to gender and in relationship to sexuality." But yet the spaces in which I typically climbed, they didn't really ... They made that embodied love more difficult to access because I also felt really surveilled being queer and genderqueer person. Right? In the space of a climbing gym. So, yeah, when I went to HomoClimbtastic I was like "Wow, I don't feel that way. I actually feel like I'm being witnessed and perceived and recognized in ways that make sense while doing this thing that makes me feel like my body is this awesome thing, not just a site of trauma, violation."
Hilary: So it really reoriented the way that I think about climbing.
Amira: Yeah. That's beautiful. Now it's both climbing during the day but I saw a quote that you gave somewhere else that talks about all the other kind of community space and happenings that happen during these big ... Do you call a festival?
Hilary: A convention.
Amira: A convention. This big convention. So you said, quote, "The festival's inclusive, extremely friendly, and very, very queer. You will see lesbian moms with adorable babies. Trans and genderqueer folks. Boys in Speedos, dykes with dogs, and a lot of affection through encouragement and support. The festivities following a day full of climbing include drag shows, swimming in minimal to no clothing, hot tubbing, lube twister, yoga, dance parties, white water rafting, and pizza." So, two questions. One, what the hell is lube twister?
Hilary: Exactly what it sounds like!
Amira: Second of all, this sounds lit. It sounds amazing, so how does this look like in the middle of West Virginia, what seems to be just amazing moment in space?
Hilary: Yeah, okay. So the convention happens at this campground, which is also a white water rafting center called Cantrell's. They have a bunch of tent sites and a big barn that people sleep in and then some scattered cabins. So we're all at Cantrell's in the tiny town of Fayetteville, West Virginia, for four to five days. The town itself it's like their mini pride festival, so all of the local businesses in the downtown put up pride flags. They offer all sorts of incentives to HC climbers so that we come and give them business. They also all attend our big drag show and dance party that we do on Saturday night. So that event is incredible because it's a bunch of townies from Fayetteville, West Virginia, a lot of the members of the outdoor community in Fayetteville, and then queer and trans folks from all over the state of West Virginia drive in to come party with HC that night.
Hilary: So, yes. It's awesome. And lube twister. Hey, you just squirt a bunch of lube on a twister board and see what happens.
Amira: I love it! I love it! So for people who want to get involved in HomoClimbtastic, I'm assuming ... Well, I'm not assuming because I've read because I do research, hello, that you should obviously know what you're doing to go on the larger ... I don't even know ... I obviously would not be there. I know the word belay, so that is the extent of knowledge, but for other people, especially with climbing experience who want to be involved, should they check out your website, Facebook? How can people get involved in HC?
Hilary: Yeah, okay. So we have a Facebook group page, so if you look up HomoClimbtastic, the group for queer rock climbers, that is the Facebook group you should join. I will approve you, I'm sure, unless you are a robot and it's obvious that you are a robot. So, yeah, join that group. You can follow us on Instagram. We also have a website that we'll update whenever registration becomes available, which should be any day now. Yeah, so if you're a climber but you're relatively new to outdoor climbing, then we ask that you just find somebody that's a little bit more experienced than you to link up with to vouch for you. So we have kind of a buddy/chaperone system.
Hilary: Just to make sure everybody's safe.
Amira: Yeah, no. I mean, I find this to be so a) amazing and lit, but also just powerful. And I think it goes back to what you were saying about how it reshapes what we associate with athletics and sports and all that, but also how we think about our bodies and our bodies taking up space. I just ... It actually makes me think of an organization I grew up attending as a spectator, which is this really famous, historical lesbian softball league in North Hampton, Massachusetts.
Amira: So my parents and my parents' friend played for a team called the Hot Flashers, and I grew up on the sidelines of that. But thinking about what it meant in that space to rethink ability, to rethink beauty and upend ideas about gender and femininity and all of these things wrapped together, and doing it through sports. That, I think, is a very useful reminder that as isolating as some sporting institutions can be, sports itself can also be a space where people can really find and discover not only themselves but also love for and empowerment. And that's kind of what I saw when I saw HC, so it's really dope. And I hope that everybody goes and checks it out.
Amira: I would be remiss to let Hilary leave the show without shouting out their amazing, mind-blowing, game-changing new book. So this is a mini scholar's spotlight that I'm sneaking into the end of this interview. Hil's book just dropped. It's called Queer Embodiment: Monstrosity, Medical Violence, and Intersex Experience. It literally came out. It's hot off the presses. It's been like a month and a half since its been out, but I just wanted to give you a moment to shout-out your book and tell people where they can cop it and what to expect in it.
Hilary: Yeah. Yeah, okay. So not only am I a climber. I'm also an academic, and this book that just came out is available through University of Nebraska Press. You can order it from the publisher's website and use the code 6AS19 to get, I think, 40% off. The book is a critical genealogy of the last 50 or so years of intersex medical treatment, specifically. But I'm intersex, so it's written pretty hypercritically. My training is in philosophy, so I think of it as a work, really, of intersex theory, more than anything else.
Amira: Well, I love it. We can wear multiple hats. I just think ... Folks who know me, scholarly know, that theory and me have a love-hate relationship. But when I started Hil's book I could not stop. It is a game-changer, so I can't recommend enough checking out the book, checking out HC. I'm so happy to have you on the pod, and I would love to continue these conversation about sports that we might not make it into mainstream discussion, but our vital spaces that we're seeing a lot of really exciting things happen. So rock climbing is now on my radar. I hope it's on yours. If it is, please check out HomoClimbtastic. Again, their website is HomoClimbtastic.com. They're on Instagram, and they have a huge Facebook page. Again, that registration is dropping soon for their July convention. July 18 through the 21st in West Virginia, mini pride in Fayetteville, West Virginia. As you heard, it's going to be lit. So, Hil, thank you once again for coming on the pod.
Hilary: Thank you, Amira.
Jessica: Okay, Shakeia, talk to us about baseball. Your love, your struggle as a fan, unfair suspensions, White House visits. What has been happening this season that you want to get into today?
Shakeia: Wow, so much. MLB has been a hotbed for just really ridiculous racism lately. Last month, Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson ... He hit a home run and he did what people in baseball refer to as pimping it. And he did a bat flip. There was some yelling, some large displays of passion. Well, in his next at bat, Brad Keller, the pitcher for the Royals, he hit him with a ball. I think was a fast-ball going about 90 miles an hour on the bump. Of course, it turned into a big thing. Benches clear because the logical sex was out there. There was a lot happening.
So then maybe a day or two later we hear that Keller is suspended for the hit by pitch, of course, and it's a five game suspension. But if you know baseball, you know a pitcher only plays every five games, so it's potentially a one game suspension. Tim Anderson got a one game suspension as well, and it was for foul language, which, of course, I immediately am like "Okay, what the hell? What possibly could he have said to get suspended?" Well, it turns out he said the n-word to a white guy. A black guy was suspended for saying the n-word to a white guy. Just kind of want that to marinate for a little bit.
Jessica: I don't even understand that.
Shakeia: I understand to a certain degree you want to have disciplinary action for the use of the word, but there's got to be some kind of nuance, right. For years groups have taken back, if you will, slurs against their humanity. And this is the same thing. I'm not sure I would really know what to do in this situation if I were a white person who had to rule on this thing. I probably would kind of not say anything to be honest. That's not what MLB did. MLB was like "Yeah, we're going to wade out into this. We're going to discipline the black guy, but we're not going to tell you why. We're not going to give any explanation for the disciplinary action. We're just going to do it."
So I feel like an opportunity was missed. There could have been a conversation with the larger public like "Hey, we don't really know what to do here, but here are our thoughts." Or, I don't know, anything. But essentially what it looks like is Joe Torre, who is the person who hands down these kinds of suspensions in MLB, it looks like he was just like "All right, this is what I think. Boom. End of story." I wrote a piece on it, and I kind of had to do some digging. I found out that players don't really have any recourse against these things. It's you against one guy's opinion, and obviously that one guy is going to uphold his own opinion. I doubt it's going to be a case of someone appealing and him changing his mind.
Jessica: You appeal to Joe Torre? Like if he was going-
Jessica: Oh, okay.
Shakeia: Yeah, Yasiel Puig of the Reds, formally of the Dodgers, actually said that in an interview. He was also suspended in April for a completely different reason, but when asked if he was going to appeal, he said, "No. Why would I go talk to Joe Torre to try to change Joe Torre's mind?" I mean-
Jessica: Wow. Yeah. That's a weird system.
Shakeia: It's not even a system, right? It's like-
Jessica: That's true. It's not even. That's a good ... Yes.
Shakeia: Here's this one guy who gets to make rulings. Anyway. It's been a mess ever since. No one's sure how to handle it. Everyone has thoughts on it, and my thinking has been in this instance, most baseball fans should probably not say anything. Most baseball writers can't say anything. I actually tweeted a really rude tweet where I said, "If you publications employed more black and brown writers, you'd have people who could write about this, but because you can't, there goes an opportunity." So there are very few things said about it because your hands are kind of tied in this situation, unless you're a member of that community.
Jessica: Can I ask you a question? This obviously is not my wheelhouse, but your baseball prospectus piece about Tim Anderson is so very good, and there's this one part that I thought was particularly interesting that I'd just like to hear more about. You wrote ... I'm going to quote you to you now: "Baseball's unwritten rules are filled with coded language that are rooted in racism, classism, and harmful views on masculinity. There's a reason why so much of the conversation has been centered around the n-word and not the violence act of throwing a 92 mile per hour fastball at a batter." What ... I have a sense of what the unwritten rules are, but can you just tell us a little bit more about that? How those work in order to sort of ... The fact that there's a racist outcome here?
Shakeia: Well, sure. So-
Jessica: How are those things connected?
Shakeia: In baseball, the unwritten rule that this is basically centered around is you don't show up a pitcher. If-
Jessica: Okay. Okay.
Shakeia: You're not supposed to celebrate a home run. You're not supposed to be passionate. Don't yell. Don't beat your chest. Don't flip the bat. Just silently run the bases, and, as we know-
Jessica: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Is this a thing? Like you're actually not allowed to celebrate?
Shakeia: You're allowed, but you're not supposed to. It's an unwritten rule.
Jessica: You get hit by a baseball, I guess, if you do it.
Shakeia: It's the culture of baseball. It's very ... They believe themselves to be traditional and purists. It's really racist because here's why. If you've ever watched any international baseball, you know they celebrate. They get loud. Bat flips are pretty incredible. I've been talking a lot about the ones I've seen in Korean baseball. These bat flips are amazing. There's spins and the whole nine yards, and if you watch the World Baseball Classic, even, you'll see that players are extremely expressive and fans bring instruments to games.
It's an interactive experience. Only in America are you expected to just sit in silence if you're watching the game or if you're playing it. It's like cultural suppression to me because no one is really saying this to anyone who isn't a player of color. Let's just keep it real. That's what it is. "Hey, don't have fun. Don't get out there and show a display of passion." That's why nobody's watching baseball now. I've been watching baseball for years, and I will readily admit it's boring. It's boring because of these unwritten rules.
Jessica: That's so fascinating, and so ... I just thought one of the things your piece did so well is that you kept point out that the actual violence that happened on the field was this guy throwing a baseball 90 miles per hour into someone's body on purpose.
Shakeia: You know, if you take that to the street, that's assault.
Jessica: Yeah, no one cares about that. That is not the conversation. No one ... Everyone has sort of agreed that that is fine, and then everyone is wringing their hands about whether or not it's okay for Tim Anderson to use the n-word after he's literally been hit and obviously is a black man. Will you tell us a little bit about the White House visit of the Red Sox? I just want to mention that the White House put out a press release about the Red Sox, and they spelled it S-O-C-K-S coming to visit.
Shakeia: Oh, god.
Jessica: I just got make sure we point that part out, but it was, again, yet another controversial White House visit. Will you tell us what happened?
Shakeia: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. So first I want to start with the Boston Red Sox were the last team to integrate. Keep that in mind. In all things, the Boston Red Sox were the last team to integrate. They passed up Jackie Robinson and a bunch of other very, very amazing black ball players for a long time. So, that said, it's tradition now for a team who wins a championship to visit the White House. This current president is extremely, extremely controversial. Has been since election. I wrote about it for The Hardball Times when the Cubs were going to visit, I believe. It's just been a thing. Do black and Latino players want to be around this guy? No.
So the Red Sox win the World Series and, of course, they get the traditional invite to the White House. None of the black and brown players attended. They didn't want to go. One player actually gave the greatest response to saying no I've ever heard, and he said, "I was invited, and I wasn't compelled to go." Pretty straightforward. I think it's time that we question, is this White House visit really a thing that we need to keep going? What does it say when the team is so decidedly split? It's visible. There was a tweet from, I believe, a reporter or a radio guy from Boston where he pointed out that it was just the white Sox players going to the White House, and David Price retweeted it and said that more than 38,000 people should see the tweet.
And at first I took it and so did a lot of people as David Price being like "Hey, look. This guy's making a valid point." Well then later when asked about the tweet, David Price completely walked it back. I have a problem with that. David Price is a black pitcher in Major League Baseball. There are not very many of those. There aren't very many black players in Major League Baseball at all, so for him to have a moment to say something valuable and he just walk it back. It kind of hurt me because I was rooting for him. I was that Tyra Banks meme: "We were rooting for you. We were all rooting for you." I was so upset because in that moment he could have said a whole lot to a lot of people who would listen to him. He wasn't using his platform.
Jessica: Yeah. He didn't go, right?
Shakeia: Yeah. He didn't go.
Jessica: But then had this moment, right? That's so interesting, and Jemele Hill wrote a piece about this for The Atlantic where she kept wanting, in a very similar way, to ... what we were just talking about with Tim Anderson and I can't remember. Who threw the pitch at him? Keller? That the focus is so intensely on Anderson rather than on Keller's choices, and Jemele Hill, her point of her column was to say that ... She ends by basically saying, "So instead of focusing on why Cora and other Red Sox figures won't be at the White House, ask their teammates why they're comfortable being with a president who marginalizes and harms the communities to which their fellow players belong," right. The attention is always on the choices the black and brown players and not actually on the white players. How is it that you're able to stand next to this incredibly racism, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, all the words, he's all of them, and celebrate?
Who are we actually asking the question of, and who are we actually scrutinizing? Before I throw it to anyone else, Amira, this is how you know I love you, she wanted to make sure, as our Red Sox fan on this podcast, that we mention that the black and brown squad that refused to go to the White House is quote "My team. They make me proud of them." She said, and if you remember how worried I was as soon as they won in October about the White House visit, but Mookie and David and Cora and the rest of them, Jess, and then she has the Black Power or the black fist emoji. So, there's Amira's point. Amira's very excited about this. Brenda, you wanted to talk a little about Cora and his decision not to go to the White House.
Brenda: Yeah, I just wanted to point out that this isn't just an impulsive decision on the part of anyone. Alex Cora has a really long history of activism in Puerto Rico. He's from Caguas, and he's in a long line of Puerto Rican players that use their platform. If you remember in 2018 he brought the delegation of players to Puerto Rico. In a similar vein you can even think about the long tradition of Puerto Rican players, like Roberto Clemente, whose plane crashed en route to giving aid to Nicaragua after the earthquake of 1972.
I also think it's important to remember that Cora was the manager of the Puerto Rican National Team before the Red Sox. He comes from a family that's very civic and has engaged with all of that. I thought it was just wonderful to see him use his platform in the way that he did. He said, quote ... And, I mean, it's very mild what he's saying is just to point out the hypocrisy of celebrating in the White House while Puerto Ricans still don't have electricity and haven't been given the aid that is ... that we would send anywhere else in the United States. He said, quote, "The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go." And so he's pretty mild. He says, quote, "It's pretty tough to go celebrate when we're at where we're at. I'd rather not go and be consistent with everything," end of quote.
He's giving how Trump responded and the viciousness with which Trump responds on social media to these players. I just thought it was important to listen to his words, which are actually ... They're important and super important to Puerto Ricans and the rest of us, but they're also not ... He's not down with the White House. He's not like "Burn it all down." It's pretty mild. Just by the way, also, Carlos Correa, the other Puerto Rican superstar with the Astros, also didn't go because of the policies after Hurricane Maria. I just wanted to remind ourselves too that Puerto Ricans are trying to put their island front and center in their decisions.
Jessica: Thank you. Shireen, you want to get in here?
Shireen: I'm just ... I love listening to Shakeia talk baseball.
Jessica: I know. Me, too.
Shireen: It's probably one of the only times I ever consume baseball is when I'm reading her or she's talking about it.
Shireen: I just said when we were discussing this episode that I would just sit here quietly and eat peanuts in solidarity of baseball. Is that a thing, eating peanuts? Is that still a thing? This is a random question. It's a serious question, though.
Shakeia: People do eat peanuts at baseball games, but they're trying to go nut-free for the sake of people with peanut allergies.
Shireen: Right. Right. So my other thing is ... I didn't know at all, and I'm so glad I'm learning this and listening, about bat flips. I can't get over ... For me, it's celebration and jubilation in sport is such a big thing. As somebody who lives in Toronto, and I look really cute in royal blue, so I really like the Blue Jays and wear their stuff. José Bautista, if bat flipping was momentous, even for those of us that don't necessarily consume a lot of baseball. It was a big deal. It was actually turned into a political meme because our awful, horrible prime minister at the time lost the election soon after. So it was like they literally had an image of Bautista bat flipping Stephen Harper, which was amazing. So I didn't know that, and I just wonder the history about it and if you can refer to me some places I can read about it. But the repression of joy in baseball, is that historically linked to further marginalizing, marginalized, or racialized people? Players? I just don't ... It's hard for me to grasp that.
Shakeia: Okay, first I want to say, Bautista's bat flip is the greatest bat flip of all time.
Jessica: You heard it here.
Shakeia: It is the most disrespectful bat flip. That's why I love it so much. As far as the history, I really couldn't say, and it's funny you ask because it's something I've been looking into. I know that, like I said, internationally it's just a thing. It's just what it is. I've been buying books on Japanese baseball because I'm thinking that it really seems like this is a thing overseas, everywhere but here, and I want to know why. Where did it come from? It's fun.
I personally think Major League Baseball should do like the NFL and just embrace the celebrations. Remember NFL tried to take them away? Touchdown celebrations for a while they were like, "Eh, we're going to start fining you for them." Whatever, and then when they saw how much of a problem it was, it just became "All right, you know what? You can't be too excessive with it." This past season it was really fun. That's what baseball needs to do: embrace the chaos. Let it happen. It's super fun. Can you imagine you hitting a home run? First, let's go here. A baseball player, to be an all-star, only has to be good at their job 30% of the time.
Shireen: Wait? Really?
Shakeia: 30% of the time. Right. That's it.
Jessica: Because that's how hard it is to hit them.
Shireen: Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.
Shakeia: So if you only have to be good 30% of the time, think about how difficult it is to hit a home run off a Major League pitcher. That's why when those home run races were happening, people were into it. No one cares about the steroids. It was fun. It made baseball fun again. It's just what it is, so now picture you as a professional baseball player and you hit a homerun off a big league pitcher. You want to celebrate. You don't want to quietly run the bases. You want to show that you're having a good time. You want to be passionate. There's another home run celebration that is like a dagger in the hearts of fans. For the last 20 years and Barry Bonds hit a home run against the Dodgers, and I think it was the only scoring play of the game, but he tossed the bat and he spun. He like pirouetted to first base. It's amazing. Why would you not want that in your game?
Jessica: Now it's time for everyone's favorite segment. We like to call it the Burn Pile, where we pile up all the things we've hated this week in sports and set them aflame. Shireen, what have you chosen to burn this week?
Shireen: Well, I initially had written down Jessica Anderson, the nurse and distance runner who was not given the record, but she was given the Guinness Book of World Record for running a marathon in scrubs, so I'll let that go, for now. But what I'm really livid about is something I found out recently. You all know I'm from Pakistan, and I follow cricket, women's cricket more than men's. But Shaheen Afridi is a cultural icon. He's the former captain of the Pakistan men's cricket team. He wrote a memoir, which I will not read, but he wrote a memoir and there's an excerpt in it because he says, very specifically, how he will not allow his daughters to play sports.
And I know you're like, "Wait, what that fuck?" Me knowing where he's from, which is northern Pakistan, which is ... There's a certain culture there. There's a certain quote unquote tradition there. I don't buy any of that. My mother's from the north of Pakistan. I don't buy it. I don't accept it. I don't appreciate him, and then people are like "Well, you can't force him to do something he doesn't want to with his daughters." I'm like "No, I'm not even saying that." I'm like "Let his daughters decide." Why can't his daughters decide? The argument is that because he's a public person that he needs to protect his daughters, but that's not how society changes. Somebody with his type of influence needs to be able to do it.
Now it became a thing online because Pakistanis are all up in Twitter and all happy to yell at each other about everything. It was also his use of the word "feminist" that really irritated me, amongst other things. And this is not the first time he's done this. He's said like really, really draconian type ignorant things, like when he was asked about Pakistan's cricket team, the women's cricket team, he's been like "Women definitely have talent in their hand, when they make food." Like he says stuff like this. My cousin said to me last night, because of course we had a family get together and I got into a fight with a whole bunch of people about it because that's just what's going to happen at my family events, that it's just the way it's done, and he just does it for attention. I don't know, there's a lot of other things you can do for attention.
I just I don't have time for this, and he says they have permission to play all the indoor games they want, but they won't be competing in public sporting activities. I don't even ... I don't even know. All I do know is that I will be making hard fast prayers this Ramadan for his daughters to excel in any outdoor possible. So that's what I'm going to do, and I want to burn do Shaheen Afridi's misogynist, sexist comments that aren't helping advance anything in Pakistani society and really disrespecting the women athletes that hustle, that rise against patriarchy, and do everything they can to compete in sports. So burn.
Jessica: Brenda, what is on your burn pile?
Brenda: On my burn pile is an unidentified coach of PSG that told Lindsey Horan she was overweight and thus wasn't going to play her. So I have to give a hat to a friend of the show, Stephanie Yang for this. But, yeah, this week Lindsey Horan, she plays for the Portland Thorns and is also a U.S. National Team player. I just want to mention a gigantic messy fan, by the way. Maybe, in fact, a rival of mine.
Jessica: Oh, wow.
Brenda: Revealed in ... I'm in good company ... Revealed in a recent promo video that while at PSG, where she played from 2012 to 2016, even though she had just won the team fitness test, her coach publicly told her in front of the rest of the team that she would not play any games until she lost weight. And at her time in PSG she scored 46 goals in, I think, 52 appearances, or something like that. So it's really shocking and upsetting that this would happen. By the way, she couldn't have been more than a teenager because she's just 24 now. In the ad, she explains that it made her want to quit soccer altogether. So I want to burn coaches, metaphorically, that treat sport like a beauty contest in which they're the judges, defying strong evidence that players like Horan are in fantastic shape. So burn.
Jessica: Burn. Shakeia, what do you want to torch this week?
Shakeia: I would like to torch the Richard Sherman and Nick Bosa conversation, if you will. 49ers drafted Ohio State's Nick Bosa and he's come under fire for some tweets supporting Trump and the whole MAGA thing. There was talk that Richard Sherman, who is extremely outspoken on most things, would have something to say about this. When asked what he had to say about it, Richard Sherman actually decided not to say anything at all. He basically said, "Oh, well. As long as he gets to the quarterback, he's fine by me." I guess being a good athlete on the same team as him means you can be controversially racist and homophobic and all of the things that we listed earlier. So I'd like to burn that. That, I just can't. I don't even know why Richard Sherman, again. A misuse of platform. A moment to say something and he said the wrong thing. So I'd like to burn that.
Jessica: All right, so in 2028, Los Angeles is going to host the Summer Olympics, and I know that's a good nine years away. But I'm still doing this today. Already, already, the committee of organizers has had to adjust their budget upwards. It was originally 6.2 billion. They had recently said that they're upping it to 6.9 billion, which is an additional 700 million dollars. They say this is an adjustment for inflation and for the fact that they were originally bidding for 2024 and that it will cost more to keep a staff for those additional four years. Okay, sure, but it's a worrying sign, I think, to say the least, especially given everything we understand about massively underestimated budgets that left countries in major debt after the Summer Olympics.
Rio is probably the most obvious, but Tokyo, which even hasn't hosted yet. They're up next in 2020, and the Tokyo organizers ... This is so wild to me, they originally said the games would cost 7.3 billion dollars. Now there are estimates that it could skyrocket to 25 billion dollars. The Japanese taxpayers, they're estimating, are going to pay 80% of that to host next year. So this, I feel like, this should worry people in California and L.A. because the city and state legislators have agreed that Los Angeles and California will function as a financial backstop should the games go over budget. Taxpayer dollars will make up the difference, if necessary.
David Wharton at the Los Angeles Times pointed out in a recent piece that the organizing committee has almost no control over quote "Another risk factor that host cities face, local politicians who use the games as reason to launch expensive construction in their districts." So we're not even talking about those tax funded initiatives when we talk about these budgeted costs. I just ... This is on top of, and I feel like I want to mention this since I'm talking about the L.A. Olympics right now. This is on top of these continuing worries about what we call the increased so-called security apparatus for the police games. We might as well just call it a police state.
In prepping for this, I was rereading a piece that Lindsay wrote at ThinkProgress back in February and it's so good. It's about how federal police and law enforcement agencies take over in cities that host mega sporting events, including ICE, immigration enforcement. L.A., in particular, this matters so much. 10% of undocumented immigrants in this country live in L.A. Lindsey pointed out in that article that ICE tweeted after the recent Super Bowl in Atlanta, which was a whole one day, right, that ICE had been on the grounds working with authorities there for two years in the build up to just the Super Bowl. What does this mean for their presence in L.A. as they prep for 2028?
Oh, man, and that's on top of when we just think of the LAPD, and they're not known for their own restraint and they're already pleading to increase that force. Everything about it is so terrible. If you are interested in the counter movement to L.A. games check out NOlympics LA. You can Google them and find them easily. Once more, and now for the last time, I want to burn the infrastructure of the Olympics and these mega events in general and their bloated budgets and their increased police states. So burn.
Jessica: After all that burning, it's time to celebrate some remarkable women in sports this week with our badass woman of the week segment. Our honorable mentions. First, our own Professor Brenda, who is the new Development lead ... Who is the new development lead for the CONMEBOL and CONCACAF regions at the Fare Network, which means that she will, quote, "Design programs, identify issues of discrimination, and provide research and analytical support to further the work of the Fare Network in the Americas." We are, to say the least, so proud of Brenda and are excited to see that she is beginning her takeover of soccer.
Brenda: Thank you.
Jessica: Congratulations to VFL Wolfsburg-Frohen for winning the Bundesliga. They beat FC Freiburg 1-0 to clinch the title. Here's to all the participants in the inaugural Amager Ladies Cup in Copenhagen. This was a competition in, yes, underwater rugby. That's the first I've learned of this. Wow. I mean, wow. The winners were team Amager, while the Phoenix Project from Gothenburg, Sweden, won the fair play trophy. We're excited for all the young women whose teams will be selected later today, Sunday, May 12, to compete in the NCAA softball tournament, which begins on May 17. Claire Rafferty, the England national and West Ham women's player, hung up her boots on Saturday. Good luck to her. We are excited for the Arsenal ladies who won the women's Super League. Congratulations to Christina Clemons and Sharika Nelvis, who were part of the mixed shuttle hurdle relay team at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan. They won gold with their U.S.A. teammates.
Okay, and can I get a drum roll please? Our badass woman of the week are moms. As we tend to do, we define that broadly here. We mean any athlete or coach or sporting person who is finding a way to be a mom, to mother, and to continue participating in sports or any mother who helps others enjoy and participate in sports. Congratulations to you truly. And, thank you. Happy Mother's Day, from us. Okay, what is good, you all. Shakeia, what's good with you?
Shakeia: Small children at baseball games. I realize that sounds weird, but I drove to Cleveland last weekend with two of my girlfriends. One is from Seattle, and we went to see the Cleveland team take on Seattle for the weekend. On our first game, on Saturday, there was a little boy. He couldn't have been any older than two, who was so excited about baseball. He just kept yelling "Baseball! Yay, baseball! I play baseball!" I mean, it was the most adorable thing ever. I've been pretty cynical so far this season and it was the sweetest thing ever. It just reminded me that there's that joy in sports. Where everything is fun and everything is so delightful and you're just learning it.
Jessica: That is so lovely. Thank you. Brenda, what's good with you?
Brenda: Okay, so my new job is good. I'm really excited about it. I'm still sort of figuring it out. The fact that I'm going to see Shireen at NYU this Thursday is really, really good news, however brief it may be. We're doing a thing at NYU that we've got on our Twitter, so we invite everybody there. I'm also going to see Josh Nadel who I wrote the book Futbolera with and haven't seen since we wrote the book together.
Jessica: Oh, wow. Great.
Brenda: So there's a whole history there. And it's finals week, which means it's sad that it's time for my relationship with these students this semester to come to an end, but it's also a healthy closure. So, those are good things.
Jessica: I love it. All right, Shireen?
Shireen: Okay, you all know I have good stuff, so I'm going to give you my good stuff. First New York City this week, there's the NYU Institute of Public Knowledge is having a symposium on women's soccer, which I will be attending. Going to see Brenda, first and foremost. Going to see Stephanie Yang, a friend of the show. She's been on the show. Really excited about this, so it'll be there. Please RSVP. There's free refreshments, so that's always fun. That's not why I'm going, but I'm just saying.
The other thing is ... That's really good. Ramadan's going swimmingly. It's fast day six, I think. It's a blur. It's pretty good. The cooler weather is helpful. For those of you that don't know, Ramadan goes back every ten days, because according to lunar calendar so it starts, so there's a little bit, the days are a little bit shorter, which is fun. Canada's playing Mexico. Canada's national soccer team is playing Mexico next Saturday, which I will be attending, and I'm very excited about that. My soccer season starts on Tuesday. My outdoor season. I'm very, very excited about that because we got new jerseys and they're kind of exciting. Lastly, my first born is 19 years old today.
Jessica: Happy birthing day, Shireen.
Shireen: Like I said, last night we were at a family thing and I would lean over and go "Right now, 19 years ago, my cervix was dilating." And he's like "Can you stop?" Doesn't like to hear about that. So I do it, but I love him. It was ... It's been a wild ride. It's like such a wild ride, but I love him. I'm proud of him. I want to enjoy his birthday. He's inviting 20 of his friends over to break the fast with us tonight. I'm going to mother in the sense of cook and prepare, and then I will remind him forever about that. That's how I do. So that's what's going to happen.
Jessica: That's awesome. I don't know. It was a hard week for me. I had a hard work week, so it's kind of within the forefront of my mind. But I guess this week I'm looking forward to ... I'm actually taking ... I did a cookie decorating class with my son yesterday where he ... I was there to help, but he mainly did it. It was beautiful. Later this week I'm actually going back to take an adult cookie decorating class that I will do, and if you know me at all or follow my Instagram, I've been decorating cookies on my own for years. But I just kind of taught myself how to do that and recently been watching YouTube videos about it to get better, but I'm excited to go to class and actually learn from an expert on it. That is what is good for me this week.
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So that's it for this week's episode. Thank you to Shakeia for joining us this week. You can find her on Twitter @curlyfro. Go follow her right now. You can find Burn It All Down on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to subscribe to Burn It All Down you can do so on Apple podcast, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play and TuneIn. For information about the show and links and transcripts for each episode, check out our website burnitalldownpod.com. You can also email us from the site to give us feedback. We'd love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this week's show, please rate the show whichever place you listen to it. The ratings really do help us reach new listeners who need this feminist sports podcast but don't yet know it exists.
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