Episode 124: Body image issues, happy sports stories, interview w/ Iranian WNT coach Katayoun Khosrowyar
In this episode, Lindsay, Shireen, and Amira talk about the FIBA World Cup (2:25); body image issues for women in sports (6:07); and sports stories that are making us happy, for a change (23:40).
Then Shireen interviews Iranian national women's team coach, the Persian football legend Katayoun Khosrowyar (35:32).
Then, of course, there's the Burn Pile (50:48), BAWOTW (1:00:32), and
***Lindsay's audio is a bit wonky this week, we apologize for the issue, it will be fixed by next week!***
It's Spain vs. Argentina in the World Cup final as Marc Gasol eyes another basketball title: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/basketball/world-cup-basketball-final-1.5282274
WNBA star Liz Cambage is finding her center: https://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/27498786/wnba-las-vegas-aces-star-liz-cambage-finding-center-body-issue-2019
Win by Alaska swimmer disqualified for a 'wedgie' is reinstated: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/09/11/victory-by-swimmer-disqualified-wedgie-is-reinstated-by-alaska-officials/
Taylor Townsend was ousted at the US Open, but she isn’t done yet: https://theundefeated.com/features/taylor-townsend-was-ousted-at-the-us-open-but-she-isnt-done-eating/
Serena Williams Breaks Silence On Embracing Her Body Insecurities And Controversial Tennis Outfits: https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/culture/a25159597/serena-williams-body-insecurities-controversial-tennis-outfits/
The Chicago Sky vs. Liz Cambage’s trash talk, explained: https://www.sbnation.com/wnba/2019/8/19/20812051/liz-cambage-chicago-sky-cheyenne-parker-allie-quigley
Antonio Brown loses endorsement amidst rape allegations: https://nypost.com/2019/09/14/antonio-brown-loses-helmet-endorsement-amid-rape-allegations/
Antonio Brown’s texts and emails to Britney Taylor: https://www.metro.us/sports/bet/advice/pa/antonio-brown-nsfw-texts-emails-to-britney-taylor-pictures-video
Dipshit NFL Reporter Exposes His Entire Ass With Blockheaded Tweets About Antonio Brown's Rape Case: https://deadspin.com/dipshit-nfl-reporter-exposes-his-entire-ass-with-blockh-1838049950
Kaillie Humphries alleges abuse by Bobsleigh Canada head coach Todd Hays: https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/bobsleigh/kaillie-humphries-bobsleigh-canada-harassment-todd-hays-1.5283064
British woman, 77, becomes oldest person to sail around the world alone: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/09/british-woman-jeanne-socrates-oldest-person-sail-around-world-alone?CMP=share_btn_tw
Koelzer named coach of Arcadia University women's team: https://www.nhl.com/news/color-of-hockey-kelsey-koelzer-named-coach-of-arcadia-university-womens-team/c-309031464?tid=306702280
Dundee United announces that Laura McCallum has been appointed in the new role of Head of Football Administration & Legal Affairs: https://www.dundeeunitedfc.co.uk/news/6216/NEW-ROLE-CREATED-AT-TANNADICE.html?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=dundeeunitedfc
Britain's 11-year-old skateboard sensation Sky Brown wins bronze at World Championships in Sao Paulo: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/womens-sport/2019/09/14/britains-11-year-old-skateboard-sensation-sky-brown-wins-bronze/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
Lindsay: Hello. Hello. Hello, and welcome to Burn It All Down, the feminist sports podcast you need. My name is Lindsay Gibbs. I am a freelance sports reporter living here in Washington, DC. If you noticed a title change, stay tuned to the end of the episode, I'll have a little bit more on that.
Joining me though today, we have Dr. Amira Rose Davis, the assistant professor of history and African American studies at Penn State University, and the doctor of all things optimism, Shireen Ahmed, in Toronto, Canada. Hey, Shireen.
Lindsay: All right. So, we're very excited about this episode today, but first of all, I want to take a moment and thank all of our patrons for your ongoing support. If you would like to support an independent feminist podcast that focuses on intersectional media, you need to go to patreon.com/burnitalldown. We are one of a kind, and that takes special devotion from our fans like you all.
We want to thank everyone who was able to make it out to our live show last week in Nashville. And I think it's safe to say we had an absolute wonderful time there. And we're so grateful for the YWCA, for Vanderbilt, for the AMEND Together Conference, for SHIFT conference. It was such a wonderful experience. And we hope you all enjoyed being able to listen to our live show on last week's podcast.
This week we're going to be talking about body image for female athletes in sports. There's a lot to get into. We've been waiting to have this conversation for quite some time and I'm really excited.
Next, we're going to kind of do a round up of happy sport stories. It's been quite the summer, and now we know as we're getting into the fall, so we just want to look at some things in sports news that are actually making us feel joy, moments of joy.
Finally, Shireen interviews Seattle Reign Football Academy and Iranian National Women's Team coach, Persian football legend Katayoun Khosrowyar. And I just cannot wait for everyone to listen to that!
So, I guess before we get started, I don't really want to talk about this that much, being someone who is maybe embarrassingly patriotic when it comes to sports. But I guess there was a FIBA Men's World Cup happening, and I think one of our favorite coaches might have not had the showing that he deserves. Shireen, I'm just going to pass it to you as the Canadian, any gloating you would like to do, please, just go ahead.
Shireen: Well, I want to say that FIBA is an important World Cup, so much that we never hear about it. Now this is the World Basketball championships. Honestly, I'm only excited about this because Marc Gasol of the 2019 NBA championship team, the Raptors, is likely going to win it all. And this is a really big deal. I mean, I do like the FIBA World Championship because it also highlights that, guess what.
We think of basketball primarily in the United States, but it's really a love everywhere. Manu Ginóbili made it really, really popular in Argentina, and I know that Brenda has talked about this on this podcast. So, Spain is up for gold today against Argentina. And I think it's really interesting, Australia was faring really well, so was France. We get a different type of basketball in the way that they played. There's a lot of passing, particularly in Argentina, something that Ginóbili did also contribute to on his San Antonio Spurs.
So, I mean, I think this is really exciting. I don't think I'm going to be able to watch the game, but I'll happily watch the highlights, which are all available on YouTube, and it's a very condensed version. But this is the first time in I don't know how many decades that the United States has not swept the tournament. So I don't know what's going on.
Amira: And it's not that they didn't just sweep it-
Lindsay: They got seventh!
Amira: They got seventh. They got seventh place, which is wild.
Lindsay: Very low! It's just-
Amira: Yeah, exactly.
Lindsay: Very low.
Amira: But I like what you were saying, Shireen, about how it's so under-talked about, it feels like. And I was saying, Mike, had seen a headline and he was like, oh, the World Cup is happening. I said, yeah, FIBA. He was like, yeah, FIFA. And I was like, no, FIBA! And he was like, how's there a World Cup already again? I said, NO, it's FIBA. And he was like, yeah, FIFA. It was like, "Who's on First?" I just... And I finally was like, “It's basketball." He was like, "Oh, they have a World Cup?" And I was like, yes! It was a comedy of errors I swear.
But really, I never have been super into watching this tournament. I, full disclosure, used to only pay attention when my little cousin was playing on the youth side of the FIBA tournaments, the U18 Team et cetera, et cetera at the younger levels, is when I was like, "Oh, there's a world tournament for basketball."
But, yeah, I mean, I think that what's really interesting about it is thinking about how that then sets up the Olympic Games as we start to look towards 2020, and seeing that it is not a guaranteed march to the gold, and that basketball around the world has really continued to grow at wonderful rates. And I think some parity is a good thing.
Lindsay: Parity is a good thing, seventh place is not.
Amira: Lindsay is very mad about this.
Lindsay: All right. All right. Before... We can talk about this for a while, but I think let's move on before I get even more angry.
We're going to kick off today in earnest by talking about body image. Amira, I know this is a topic you've been wanting to address on the show for quite some time. Can you get us started?
Amira: Sure. So this past week, up in Alaska, a young swimmer, Breckynn Willis, Anchorage, Dimond High School, had her win disqualified. She was disqualified because an official rule that her swimsuit violated the sports so-called “modesty rules.” He contended that they could see her butt cheeks touching, it's what they call a swimmer's wedgie, and they disqualified her for “immodesty.”
Now, here's the thing, she didn't pick the swimsuit. This was a team-issued swimsuit. Her school filed the complaint, and ultimately won and had her title restored, thank goodness. But they were like, this was unnecessary. They alleged that their swimmer was targeted based solely on how a standard school-issued uniform fit the shape of her body.
And it turns out that this is not the first time where this particular young woman has been targeted. Actually, last year, there was a parent who took a picture of her butt to say that this was inappropriate. She, literally a grown person, took a picture of a child about how this swimsuit was fitting her.
And I think it's really... You might have heard this news, but one of the things that I've seen missing from this discussion is that this is a woman of color in a predominantly white sport like swimming. And it immediately made me relate to a conversation that I had wanted to have a few weeks ago about Taylor Townsend, and kind of revisiting that moment where the USTA pulled her funding and alleged that she was ‘too fat’ and she needed to lose weight to continue being funded despite being the junior number one at the time.
And I think that it is a combination of not only sexism but racism about body shapes. And we can talk about body shapes generally, but I think there's a specific thread of concern. And we've seen this with Serena and her catsuits around the nature of black women and girls' bodies that feels very violent to me.
And, in fact, as this story was breaking, I was talking to my husband and he got really mad. And he was like, "I didn't realize until just now how much pain I had been carrying around, how much it still really makes me angry about how our daughter was treated when she used to do ballet when she was little", because she was thicker, and because of how leotards fit her, and because she couldn't put her hair up in the little straight hair bun that they wanted.
And it wasn't necessarily the institution, it wasn't the dance teachers, it was comments from other parents who would say, "Oh, I just love how her leotard fits her" or "Look at her thighs. They're just so cute and curvy” in this way that was really uncomfortable when you're talking about a three-year-old girl who happens to be the only black girl in this ballet room.
And so, immediately when I saw this story it connected to Taylor, it connected to Serena, it connected to my own child, and I really wanted to have a conversation about bodies in sports. And I think that especially with the body issue coming out, this is a great opportunity to talk about what bodies we deem athletic, and what bodies we try to discipline and penalize. Yeah, that's where I would really like to kind of kick off.
Lindsay: Yeah. So much here to unpack. Shireen?
Shireen: Yeah. I want to echo what Amira is saying. And I think one of the things that I first saw, this type of misogynoir, sort of, being unleashed on Serena Williams. I mean, I think I wrote about this for Rewire, just sort of what she's faced, the type of criticism she's faced, and particularly around body…we see this type of body shaming. It's very much rooted also in the way Caster Semenya is treated, because people can't accept without what she looks like, she is a woman. So it's this very heteronormative, sort of, very Eurocentric, very compartmentalized and ideas that aren't open and what that means. And I think that's really dangerous for sport and it's unjust to women. And I hate it.
I mean, I saw this story about the swimmer. And just to add context to it, it's in Alaska, is actually where it happened. And I think that... The part about the parent infuriated me, because I feel like parents definitely contribute to this type of toxic culture in sport.
I've had a daughter who is often in non-white spaces and she's a goalkeeper, so she stands back so to speak, but she also doesn't conform to what soccer players look like, and she still is one of the only hijab wearing players wherever she goes. And people look at her differently. I mean, on a basketball court it's actually not that bad because everyone's tall anyway, but as far as what she looks like, and what her body looks like, it doesn't conform to the blonde ponytails and the petite…And that's not my daughter, I mean, she's fit.
And also, in a way, this type of body shaming reminds me, although it wouldn't be at least with racism, what happened to Lindsey Horan. And she talked about it, and I know we talked about it on the podcast about her being shamed even though she passed and literally excelled at the fitness test when she was at Paris Saint-Germain, in France, playing there. The coach literally body-shamed her to lose weight.
And I think that's really dangerous. I just think it's unhelpful. And it's really very dangerous for the athlete as well. And I hate all of it.
Lindsay: Yeah. It's really hard for me to talk about this. This is really a touchy subject, even though I recognize that it's even more layered for so many people. But just growing up, I've been fat my entire life, and the experience... I was a swimmer. I would spend all summers on swim team. I did year round swimming for a little bit. But in the pool I would feel very fast and powerful, but the second I would get out of the pool, and we're talking starting when I was six, seven, eight, very, very young, I didn't feel comfortable walking around just in my swimsuit like all my friends were doing because I was twice their size. So I would get my towel, I would always make sure I had clothes on. And parents would comment if I lost any amount of weight.
I grew up a little bit taller because I was a kid, and I was just growing, and the parents would all take me aside, and be like, "Oh, you look so good! You look so much better! Congratulations!” And it was just this awareness growing up that my body was being examined in a different way than all of my peers bodies because of the weight and the size. I was tall for my age. I'd been about the height I am now, which is about 5’8’’. I've been this tall since fifth grade.
So, any time this conversation takes place I just have kind of PTSD flashbacks to feeling like, just knowing that even though in the pool my body was doing what it was supposed to be doing, and I was obviously in good shape because I was swimming all the time and I was doing all this stuff that outside of the body I was... I mean, parents would ask me to stand in the back in photos, in team photos in my swimsuit. I was just hyper aware that my body wasn't actually supposed to be doing what it was doing.
Shireen: Yeah. I have some of those flashbacks that gave me a heightened insecurity. I grew up in a predominantly, predominantly white space. And as far as the swimming goes, I am South Asian. And because of that, the genetics around my follicle growth are great. So I have very hairy arms and legs. So the thing about the swimsuit, Linds, I completely understand, because I was taunted and gawked at for a different reason because I had a lot of hair on my arms and legs. And as a 10-year-old, my mother was like...
I remember, this is something that was really hard for me. I was in grade six, and I took one of my father's razors and I shaved my arms and my legs. And I remember showing my dad, and I remember his face, and he was really upset with me and I saw all the hair going down the drain. And I remember thinking, "Wow, this is going to be amazing for me." And I went to my mom and she was not upset, but just said, "I wish you would have told me." I said, "Well, I have expressed that this really upsets me, and I don't want to go to swimming parties."
I also swam competitively. And although I was relatively the same body shape as everybody else on the team, I completely stood out. So, it's like, we're never going to win. There's so many obstacles for so many people. I was really gawked at, and I hated... I know that moment, I hated getting out of the pool. And then, when you get out of the pool, and you have very hairy arms and legs it glistens, it's just drawing attention. And I just remember saying to my coach, "Can you have my towel right by the lane for me?" And then she was like, "Okay." But it didn't matter because I just wrapped it around my swimsuit, but my arms and legs were still visible, so it really didn't matter.
And I remember this one girl from a swimming meet, and this is in the Halifax, Nova Scotia, late '80s, and I remember her looking at me, and I remember her going, "I know there's treatment for that." Or "You can bleach that." She said something like that. And I was 11. And it's always that type of thing. And I see women that are body positive, and don't care about hair removal. This is something I actually still carry with me to this day. I'm very, very scheduled with my aesthetician about hair removal because it still to this day bothers me.
Amira: Yeah. You know, I was thinking how bodies also change and transform. So I was an athlete my entire life, and I was always really small. I was very bony, stick thin, and kind of just had a certain style, a kind of disregard for my body. I loved just throwing on a sports bra and some shorts. That was kind of my aesthetic.
And then I had kids, and I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS, and it really worsened after I had my first kid, and I just kept gaining weight. I was still active. I still was playing flag football, I was still playing soccer, I was still running. And one of the things that I noticed is I started to receive subtle messages about what my body, like you were saying, Lindsay, should or should not be doing.
And so, I would notice it showing up on a field to play, and suddenly there's a presumption that I'm not athletic. And because it's to me likened to when you realize that you have white privilege, and you realize that you are right-handed when you sit down at a left-handed desk, when you have to finally consider something. That to me was really transformative, and it's been about a decade of being more of a size than I ever was growing up.
And I found, especially, when it comes to spaces where you work out and athletics, this kind of presumption of... I work out at Orangetheory, and I'll go in and actually I find them to be more size inclusive than many places I've been. But there's still some times where I'll go to a new studio, and it'll be like, "Oh, is it your first class?" And I'm like, "No, I actually go four days a week for a year now." You know what I mean? This is not new.
And I think that the same way that we see these kind of cases pop up or we see Serena Williams' body being kind of drawn in like a cartoon, or her catsuit being banned, or her curves being analyzed. I think that that is magnifying what happens daily that both Shireen and Lindsay so eloquently attested to on a very kind of personal anecdotes.
But thinking about this happening from Alaska to Florida, from Maine to Arizona, kids…specifically young girls on a daily basis. And when we think about girls exiting sports at enormous levels around puberty, I really think about this then. And when we talk about how do we keep girls in the game? Well, I think right around puberty when bodies are changing is also the time where these messages are colliding about what your body's supposed to do or not. And there's a way in which sports become... Because it's so physical, because it's so much about your body, it's not a space that you really want to occupy when you feel like you’re under a microscope, and really just considering that and the messages subtle or not so subtle that we share about bodies and it's just, it's really awful.
Lindsay: Yeah. It's one thing for me that I always... Being up close and personal these past few years with WNBA players, some of them are bigger and taller, and their bodies are gawked at in this way. I did a profile of Liz Cambage last year, and in it we went out to eat dinner, so I was just walking around DC with Liz Cambage. I mean, she's 6’8” and she was wearing a halter top and these jeans. I mean, she's one of the most beautiful people I've seen in person in my life.
But it was just to me, what was remarkable, I feel weird in any space. I struggle so much with confidence just walking around the street, and when people look at me like that it makes me very uncomfortable. But for her, she knew that every single person was looking at her and she never apologized for this space she was taking up. She owned it and she looked comfortable the entire time. And I was in awe of it.
I've wanted to for a while have an open body image conversation with some of the bigs in the WNBA, because it's so... Stefanie Dolson, who does some plus size modeling, is very fashionable, and once again unapologetic about this space that she takes up and actually uses that space that she takes up to help her in her career.
And it's just fascinating to me as someone who's always wanted to make themselves smaller, how these women are able to embrace their size and use their size. It is just so empowering to me, it is. And I know they must struggle with insecurities at some times too, because who doesn't? But it really has impacted me.
Shireen: Two things there, the idea of plus size, and I know that in the United States and North America, plus size is like a size 10 or 12, which I think is so out of whack. And secondly, Liz Cambage, I think she's a goddess. And I go to her Instagram and just fawn because also I love that flex Linds, of, "I was walking around with Liz Cambage!” because I mean, that's phenomenal. I actually agree with you and think she's one of the most beautiful people on the face of the earth. So, if we can pick up that and the way she owns herself and her body. I just love it and that's what I want my daughter to see.
Lindsay: And then you think sports has that power, right? Sports can empower people in this way, but in these other sports, right, people try and suck that power out of it because they try and over sexualize or body-shame in swimming and in tennis and in these more coded feminine and white sports. And that's just devastating because there is... I've seen sports work for people in helping them embrace their bodies, and so it makes me so sad that in other sports people are shamed for their bodies.
Amira: Right. And I think that that's part of it because as you were saying that I was thinking of all the tall girls who don't play basketball, and their entire life were told, "Oh, you must be a basketball player." And I think it comes down to the fact that sports really magnifies a lot of these issues. But we know that misogyny's a thing that carries this kind of scrutiny constantly on women's bodies because they've been made into objects. And we've had before conversation and we certainly can have a conversation about how that works for kind of masculine presenting bodies as well.
But I just thank you guys for having this discussion because I think that it's something that we see a lot and don't necessarily name because, as Lindsay said, it's hard to talk about it. It feels very raw. And I think the body issue is that celebration, but I also recognize that it's a journey. And so wherever you are on your journey with you in your body, I wish you well and I wish you peace.
Lindsay: All right. After that, I think let's just take a moment. I know I need a moment. So let's just talk about some sports stories, some sports news that is bringing us joy in this world. Shireen, do you want to get us started?
Shireen: Totally. I am so excited about this. I got, I think it was yesterday, it's kind of a blur now, or maybe the day before. I think it was Friday morning, I saw it was tagged, actually it was Shelby, our social media guru who tagged me, and the Raptors had released... The NBA champions of 2019, in case you forgot, are the Toronto Raptors. And they released a very specific Nike pro sports hijab that was with Raptors logo on this. And then we're, like, "Well, wait a minute. Nike came out with this hijab a couple of years ago, but it's literally a partnership with the Toronto Raptors." And there's a huge fan base. And this is really exciting, because this is, to my knowledge, and this is like totally my wheelhouse, the first professional sports team and definitely the first NBA team to ever do this.
And it's a combination of saying, we see our fan base, we see the communities that support this, we see the girls that are out there and they love ball, and we want to make them a part of it. It was so exciting. So my phone blew up, and there was media requests for me to talk about. I also talked about it on Twitter.
Shireen: I was just very, very excited.
Shireen: And it was so great because I said, the 12-year-old in me, I actually got choked up several times because as a kid, this is something I never saw. And there's little girls, and I mean, I loved, loved... The Hijabi Ballers is an organization in Toronto that's very grassroots, it's a localized thing, they do a lot of sports in communities, have really opened up opportunity for Muslim women to be seen on a sports level to create spaces for women only, and then in other spaces.
So they did this great partnership. And shout out to Amreen Kadwa. She is fantastic. She's this young woman who runs this. I'm on their advisory board, and she has been literally running her hustle, and doing this just to really benefit young girls in the community. And the basketball program, I think it's a huge Somali community of population that participates. But for those young girls to see themselves reflected by the Raptors, by Nike saying, "We see you," This is big, because I'm sorry, young Somali women in Toronto don't often get a lot of space in the sports scene, so for them to be amplified in this manner was absolutely incredible. I'm so excited about it. They are available only at Real Sports, which is the sports store that sells MLSE merchandise, which is specific to Toronto sports teams owned by the MLSE franchise and they're $39.99 Canadian.
So that is cost prohibitive also, but I'm sure that the Raps will be linking up with Hijabi Ballers to offer some giveaways and stuff like that. So keep your eyes peeled people. I mean, I'm just very excited. I really hope that other sports teams pay attention to this, and notably the WNBA. That's one space that I think there are conversations that are lacking to a degree of different types of communities. And I hope they see this, and I hope they pick up on it, because it really wasn't that difficult. They literally stamped a Raptors logo on the side of a preexisting hijab. So I would love for people to get on this train, it absolutely makes a difference.
Lindsay: I love that so much. Amira.
Amira: Yeah. Do you hear that sound? That is Kim Clijsters welcome back music! Yeah, it's very exciting. So the former world number no.1 four-time Grand Slam champ is back again. If you remember, Clijsters retired from the sport after she had her first daughter, came back and won a major with her daughter being outside of her body alive and grown. That was like 10 years ago.
Lindsay: Running onto the court. So cute!
Amira: Running onto... The pictures, if you haven't seen them, it's very, very cute, very, very cute. So, then she took some time off the tennis and had two more beautiful kids. And then this week, she made an announcement in video form, I absolutely ate up, it was amazing. She basically said, listen, for the past seven years I've been a full time mom, and I love it. I really, really do. But I also love being a professional tennis player, and I miss that feeling. So what if I tried to do both? And that's how she announced that she was returning to the circuit.
And she said she likes the challenge. She talked about being inspired by Azarenka, by Serena, by working moms. And she said listen, this is a part of me that I really like. And she talked about being on the legends circuit and feeling a rush. And she was like, I think I'm too young to be retired! And with so many inspirational athletes and moms competing I can't wait to get back on the match and see what's possible after having three kids.
So, I'm really excited to watch this comeback, but also just to think about what it means to have this increased, heightened visibility of athletic moms, and not just Serena. Obviously she talked about Azarenka as well, but not just in tennis, in soccer, watching Syd Leroux return from her birth of her second child in basketball. Again, all of these spaces I think... And Allyson Felix, of course, watching this heightened awareness that is bucking the idea that having a kid is necessarily the end of your athletic career, especially as a professional athlete.
And I think that it's really encouraging to watch this, and just to watch somebody say, "You know what? I really love to do both." And her kids are school age, and she's ready. Well, her youngest is kind of young still, but she's ready to take up the challenge, and I for one cannot wait to just kind of watch this journey. So welcome back, Kim!
Lindsay: Welcome back, Kim! I feel so excited about all this too. It's just going to be fascinating to watch. And, yeah, I just love her. She's just like a ray of sunshine.
Amira: She is. I like the stat that her daughter is just four years younger than Coco Gauff.
Lindsay: Oh my God.
Amira: Isn't that amazing to think about?
Lindsay: That's incredible. That's incredible!
Amira: Yes. Yes.
Lindsay: She actually has a very good interview on the WTA Insider Podcast, kind of announcing her comeback. Of course, fan of the show, Courtney Nguyen runs that podcast, and I just would highly recommend anyone to go listen to it because she has this wonderful moment where she's talking about... She was playing Venus in an exhibition match, and of course Venus is still playing, and her daughter Jada thought that Venus was like 10 years younger than her, and Kim goes, "I went and got some new eye cream because clearly my eye cream wasn't working!”
Amira: Right. It's a great interview. Definitely, that's a great shout out. Go check it out because it's so worth it.
Lindsay: Yeah, love it. All right. I am excited that we're still seeing so much capitalization on the Women's World Cup bump, and it's making me, really, really happy. Of course, there's a lot more to sustain, but just last night in DC, over 17,000 were at Audi Field to see the Washington Spirit play against the Seattle Reign. They played to a 2-2 draw. And this is now the second game at Audi Field and both of them have just had such high attendance. And I just think that's incredible that you're seeing now where football season has started, and we're at a time where maybe people are starting to forget a little bit about what happened at the Women's World Cup.
But to see these attendance numbers continue to rise, you also saw in North Carolina, that North Carolina Courage set a record with over 9,000 at their match on Saturday as well. And so we are just continuing to see women's soccer gain momentum, and it just does feel like... I think there's a lot that the NWSL could do better and should do better to capitalize on this.
But I also think what's amazing is that this is not a second cycle of this. And so it's to the point where it's gaining momentum naturally because it's been given the time to gain momentum naturally, as opposed to every other women's soccer league that has been shuttered after three years, which is just simply not enough time to really prove anything. I think the best thing is that the NWSL has gotten the time, it has gotten the space, and I'm just so excited to continue to watch these crowds grow and these fan bases grow, and hopefully this continues to carry on. And that makes me really happy.
So, of course, WNBA playoffs makes me really happy. We can't talk too much about it because of the timing of our show today. I will try and get a hot take in. We are recording on Sunday morning, and there are two… The second round of the WNBA playoffs is today, so the semifinals will be set after today. So, I don't want to talk too much about it because we don't know who that's going to be, and by the time you all are listening we will know who is facing the Washington Mystics and the Connecticut Sun. But the WNBA playoffs have been off to a great start and I personally am excited to see them continue. So look, it might be cliche, but women's sports, they're what makes me happy.
Shireen: I have one quick more thing as we're recording this episode. Spain did take the gold, so Argentina got silver, France got third, Australia's fourth. And I just want to sort of revisit this one more time.
Marc Gasol is the only player since Lamar Odom to win an NBA championship and the FIBA World Championship in the same year. So that's awesome. Congratulations to Spain and to Mark Gasol and to the Raptors Nation because this is really about us. Thank you.
Lindsay: Wait Shireen, I leave a question. I legitimately, I'm not even really trolling. Well, I'm trolling a little bit by asking this.
Shireen: Of course you are.
Lindsay: But I actually don't know the answer. Where did Canada finish?
Shireen: Oh my God. Did we even qualify though? I'll have you know Steve Nash played there once! I don't even think I can name a player on the men's team. I can name a bunch on the women's. Oh my God. Okay, fine. I don't know. I really do not know.
Lindsay: They did play in this World Cup. I know they did.
Shireen: Did they? I don't know. I would say-
Lindsay: So, I'm thinking you just know about Marc Gasol?
Shireen: I don't know. I'm sure after seventh though. See what I did there?
Lindsay: Yeah, I do…
Lindsay: All right. All right. But I love that you just totally have adopted Gasol.
Shireen: Totally. 100%.
Amira: But they did, just so you know, Shireen, so you can be happy, they won their first FIBA game in 17 years.
Shireen: Who did? Canada?
Lindsay: Canada, Shireen.
Shireen: Okay. Well see, well, that's basically like a massive win. See this is what Canadians do, we adopt whatever we can, and Marc Gasol has so beautifully adopted Toronto and in such a really awesome way. So, we'll just ride that win. I will ride that! Do I have to bring up Andreescu again? Because I can.
Lindsay: All right. Next we have Shireen's interview with Katayoun Khosrowyar.
Shireen: Hello Flamethrowers. It's Shireen here and I am so, so happy to have Katayoun Khosrowyar on the interview today. She is amazing. Kat is actually a former player. She is a coach. She has been coaching at the national level for Iranian women. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is an athlete. She has played field hockey, soccer, track and field. She made the National Iranian Women's Team when she went to visit in her youth, and then she changed her mission and passion to be championing women's rights to play sports, and actually bridging the gap between her two cultures, American and Iranian. She was the first woman from Iran to receive a FIFA AFCA license for soccer coaching. She has coached at many levels, and right now she is the head of the Academy at Seattle Reign for the 01, 02, and 06 teams. Kat, thank you so much for being on Burn It All Down.
Katayoun: Thank you so much for having me. It's a true honor.
Shireen: So, let's talk a little bit about your journey in football. You have said that Mia Hamm was one of your inspirations for playing. What was it like growing up, and were you one of the only Iranian girls in your community?
Katayoun: So, I was the only Iranian girl playing soccer in my community, or the one that took it seriously, let me put it that way. And at the time, back in the '90s, early 2000s, Mia Hamm was a lot of little girls' role models, including mine, and I just wanted to be exactly like her.
Shireen: That's amazing. And you're coaching. It's not often that players at that level get into coaching naturally. Was that a comfortable transition for you?
Katayoun: To be honest, I didn't ever think about coaching. Especially that coming from an Iranian background, you're given three or four choices of what to do in your life. So either you're an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, something along those lines. So, coaching just didn't really ever fit the picture. Although, I did go to engineering school, I just kept kind of continuing in my soccer path. And I remember I had this conversation with one of my mentors, her name was Belinda Wilson, she was from Australia, she was my very first licensed coach and she said for me to continue and that Iran needs former players to become coaches, just to be able to help with developing the game in the country. So I took her word and I went for it. I went for it all.
Shireen: That's amazing. And in addition to being a coach at that level, and with such a distinguished club like Seattle Reign, you also have a Masters in Chemical Engineering. That's such a formidable balance for you to keep up with studies, keep going back and forth. And what was it that kept you motivated for both things?
Katayoun: Well, definitely it was a family trait that we had going on within the competition between the sisters as well, to see who gets the higher degree. Since I am a competitive person, I just want to go for it, and get my Masters, and hopefully continue. But with the soccer side, it was more, I have to do this for everyone. I have to help the country, I have to help the women. And this was my way of giving back because I had so many mentors helping me and putting time for me, and setting precious time for me to be able to develop and grow. I had to do that, not just for one or two, but I think for an entire country, an entire nation. And these women, all they needed was the platform to grow on. And that's something that I'm happy that I was able to create with the help of obviously a lot of people there. But now it's going forward, and whether I'm in Iran or not in Iran, it's going to continue.
Just recently, our youth team, they had a game, and they played against Tajikistan and won. So it just shows that the development is still there. They are still asking for good quality coaches and to be able to provide for all of these players. So, it's just a matter of giving supply and demand, and there's a lot of demand at the moment in Iran.
Shireen: Yeah. And I wanted to touch a little bit about that, because I think in the Western countries, people don't actually understand the level at which Iran is so connected to football, and the love and the passion that people have. And I've written a lot about open stadiums and women's bans on stadiums. Can you explain a little for those that might not understand that women do actually come from a rich tradition and culture of playing football. Can you explain a little bit, because some people might think that women aren't allowed, whereas Iran actually has one of the top football teams in the AFC. Could you give us a little bit of a primer, I guess you could say on that?
Katayoun: Sure. But let me start with telling you one of my earliest memories as a 17-year-old in Iran. So, I was... We were driving through the streets and I just wanted to park to... We parked the car to go to a park so I could train a little bit. And Iranians, if you know them, they love picnics. It doesn't matter if it's in the middle of a highway or anywhere that there's a green patch, they're setting up for a picnic. And I saw the grandmas and the moms and the little kids playing with their male family members soccer. So, this was where I kind of noticed and picked up on the fact that everyone is a huge soccer fan. It doesn't matter the age, it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman or a child or someone who's elder. They love soccer so much.
And whenever I first entered the country, although they didn't have a soccer team or a soccer league, they had futsal. And futsal is really huge. Our girls are back to back agent champions, the league system is so structured and so good that I don't think that... They won't lose any more Asian games. Now, it's a matter of focusing on global games and for the Olympics because they're that strong.
Now, soccer, it is a fairly new sport, 14 years, but with a lot of ups and downs. But to be honest, I remember when the doors opened for this, so many women came to try out for the national team that they had to hold tryouts in all nine provinces, and that took about a couple of weeks to just see all the players. To even now, I'm getting on my Instagram, or my cell phone, there's always being that people are calling me all the time just to get information about how they can get their daughters to start.
So, soccer is really, really big. Futsal is huge. Beach soccer is huge in Iran for women. So, I think people who don't... Although there is the whole ban on women entering the stadium, that doesn't reflect on women playing the sport.
Shireen: And that's really interesting and it's one of the things I find so fascinating about Iran, is that despite the ban of women to go participate on a societal level, like their community level and watch, they're very entrenched in futsal football from a playing perspective. And I think there's such a juxtaposition there, because there's an attempt to keep them out of the stadiums, but never an attempt to keep them off the pitch. And I think that's really kind of weird when you think about it, but I'm grateful that it's not.
Katayoun: It is ironic. But one thing that I do have to mention is that Azadi Stadium, it's one of the biggest stadiums in the world, it's like capacity of 100,000 people. So, although culturally Azadi Stadium is mainly men-focused, but if you go to the other stadiums across the country, like the ones in Isfahan or Shiraz, men and women go. It's not a big deal for women to go to the stadiums and watch. It's not a big deal for men to go to the stadiums to watch. But it's just the Azadi Stadium where it's so big, that they can't control or have proper security there.
So, that's one thing that people need to understand that Azadi is just too, too, too big. But all the other stadiums across other cities, it's okay, it's a very normal thing for women and men go and watch each other.
Shireen: Because that's really interesting for me because it also depends on the sport. I remember when in Tehran as well, when they were having volleyball championships, they didn't permit the women to go in. So, there's different places, and like you said, it actually really depends regionally. It's more normalized in other other places.
I just think because Azadi is just the biggest stadium there, and for those that don't know, Azadi Stadium is in Tehran. And azadi actually means freedom in Persian, which is also ironic, but...
Katayoun: But we did go twice last year, and that's something that we were pushing a lot, and we were hoping for it to continue in the efforts. But we did go for the first time last year. There was a national teams that went for the Iran versus Bolivia game, and the feelings that the girls, they got. I mean, they were crying when they entered, they were so excited, they were running around, and the Men's National Team, they applauded for them after the game when they won. So, it was a great step forward, but it's just a matter of figuring out what's next, how do we make this go forward? What do we have to do to show that we want to go?
Shireen: Yeah. And following the news, I know you are obviously aware of I was retweeting you on Twitter about the tragic death of Sahar Khodayari and what happened there and how it was triggered by the fact that she couldn't enter. She was a big Esteghlal fan. And the connection that women have in Tehran to their teams, whether it's Persepolis or it's Esteghlal, they want to support the national team in the stadium. Like you said, where do we go now? What do you think we can do, and what can our listeners do to support them? Do you have any advice for us?
Katayoun: So, I mean, they are women who are diehard fans. And the reason why I say that is because they will sit there and talk about Esteghlal and Persepolis as if it's their mother and father. And this is just how passionate we are about our teams.
And what happened to her was extremely unfortunate. But there are two sides to the story. There are several women who do go and they get turned away and they don't get six months or anything. So, I think people need to understand that there are two sides to the story. And aside from the unfortunate event that has happened, it's like what was... How do we prevent this from happening again? And it is the rule of the country, it's the law of the country that women do not enter that stadium specifically, especially for security reasons.
But it's really important for women to be able to show that they love and support the game, but not just the men game, but also the women's. We have great women who are... Like Maryam Irandoost. She's from Mazandaran, and she has a great team. And she's gathered so much support in that area of Iran, that every time they have a game, the stadium's completely packed. And you have a male technical assistance helping her and whatnot.
So, it's just a matter of getting more women involved, getting more women involved in the game, not just as fans, but to be involved as from an educational background to help coach or go into the managerial positions. But what happened to Sahar, my deepest condolences to her family, and she will never be forgotten. And I really do hope that what has happened would help other women to step forward to see if they can fix this issue.
Shireen: Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think there's women that have been campaigning and advocating because there's photos floating around as well, historical beautiful photos that show the players, but also show women in the stadium before 1979 in Iran. And I just can't underline this enough, that there is such a rich tradition of women participating in the game as well and we just don't want to lose sight of that. And for you to be involved in the levels that you're on, and to have this tremendous hope is really important. What can our listeners do to support the Iranian Women's Team and support women in Iran in football?
Katayoun: I mean, I want you guys to talk about us. I want you guys to know that we exist! And I want you guys to not just post the negative news about what's happening, but all the good historical moves that we've made as well. Like I said, Sahar will always be in our hearts. But I mean, that's one person, and we have about 50,000, 60,000 players who are working every day to become top talents globally. And we need that type of support too, whether it's do an exchange program to have these players come out, or whether it is for you to come watch us play.
It just needs to be recognized that Iran is a very... How do I say this? People don't have the right information at all times about the country. I've lived there, I grew up there, I helped start the soccer team there, and the Federation has been very supportive of my steps moving forward, and they've been very supportive as far as making sure that we have a consistent national team line up and a league. It's just a matter of how are we going to get the support for this to continue and to get stronger and more embedded in people's heads that we exist? So, this is something that I would like to have the support, just to get these girls the platform that they deserve.
Shireen: Definitely. And when you're in America and you wear your scarf on your head and you go there, are people surprised to see you in the spaces where you are? There are not a lot of Muslim women who cover or even who don't cover in soccer spaces at top levels in the United States. Do you ever get anybody kind of surprised that you're there?
Katayoun: I mean, not really. I think they are pretty accustomed to it. They all knew where I'm coming from, and they were very open about it. And all of the parents, they know. Continually they say that they love the fact that their daughter is working with me, and I'm giving them a cultural lesson as well. So in training, I'm teaching them some Farsi words and numbers, and just little bit of sentences. So, like in a game, if I can't think in English, I'm talking in Farsi, they'll get it.
So, now, I have my girls understanding certain phrases that I say. Although one good thing is that, as a woman, forget the fact that the whole Muslim side of me, but I'm one of the very few women that is coaching in the US at an Academy level. So, I think parents are just generally really happy to have a woman. And I can bring a whole different culture for their team and for their girls. So, the Academy has been very supportive, and the families have been even more supportive for the direction that I've decided to take.
Shireen: That's amazing. And I'm so happy to hear that, especially if you're giving them some linguistic exposure. I feel like I should come and train under you to better my own Farsi.
Katayoun: Come on over!
Shireen: I'm so excited to follow where you go. And you have a lot of support at Burn It All Down. We're huge fans. I can't wait to see where you go. I personally fangirl over you all the time because what you have single-handedly done and created shifts and movements in football for women, not just in Iran but inspired women all over the place and in many Muslim majority countries because football lives in all of us, all over the place.
So, I really, really want to thank you for being on Burn It All Down. It is truly such an honor to speak with you. And good luck with everything.
Katayoun: Thank you so much for having me. And like I said, it's a true honor to be on Burn It All Down. And let's see where this goes.
Lindsay: All right. It is now time for everyone's favorite segment, The Burn Pile. Amira, do you want to get us started?
Amira: Yeah, I do. So, on episode 121, Shireen had an interview with a Juve star, Eni, and in particular to talk about her new book that just came out, that was entitled, They Don't Teach This, that looked at her football career, also spoke about the racism that she encountered on the national team playing in England, playing for Juve, playing for Chelsea. And I highly recommend you check out that interview and the book. We also talked about that racial abuse earlier on Burn It All Down, I think it was episode 25.
But what I want to burn today is a particular insidious kind of critique of her book coming on Amazon, which has been flooded with a number of one star reviews that are all parroting the same kind of racist trope. They're calling her a self-obsessed victim, they're telling her she's playing the race card, they're calling it a waste of time, despite the fact they demonstrate no indication they've actually read her book.
I pointed this out to my co-hosts a few weeks ago when the book first came out. The comments are so ridiculous. And I want to just give examples of what she's dealing with. There's one commenter who's saying she's “playing the race card in every way possible.” He goes on to try to defend, basically tried to shut down everything that she's saying is painful and that has been harmful et cetera. For instance, the kind of infamous comment that a coach made to her when her parents came to visit saying that he hoped they didn't bring Ebola with them. This commenter says, "That was a half hearted attempt at banter, not anything that was restricted to race." And then goes on to call her a bunch of names.
And that should indicate something to you. The fact that somebody can take a comment that says, "Oh, your parents are coming, I hope they don't bring Ebola with them", is not racist, is absolutely ridiculous. So, I'm just mad about this.
And the secondary part of that is that Amazon won't do anything about the reviews because they indicate that they are one-star, and they don't remove reviews based on star rating. And part of the issue here is that, this is clearly abuse of the star system. These aren't people who read the book and are actually giving their opinion, these are racist and sexist reviews that are simply flooding this to hurt her book sales, to disparage her, and to flaunt their racism.
It's not something that is new. Here at Burn It All Down if you go to our iTunes page, and you look for when the podcast first launched, there was a number of one-star reviews in the first 24, 48 hours, nobody was listening to the show, it was just a guttural reaction to women taking space and saying, "We want to call out some bullshit in sports."
And I feel like that's very similar to what's happening to Eni on a much larger scale. And it's a problem that these companies won't intervene and fix it. It's the plight of being able to claim your truth, and it's the issue with daring to be black, or a woman, or et cetera online. And it's disgusting. We should support her, and we should definitely burn these reviews and the inaction on Amazon down.
Lindsay: Burn. Okay, Shireen.
Shireen: Thanks. This particular burn was big news in Canada, and it was regarding Canadian bobsled athlete, Kaillie Humphries. And the news broke that she was actually leaving Canada to compete for the United States. And I think ears perked up and people began to wonder, because we hadn't really heard of that since Sydney Leroux did it many years ago. But the reason why Kaillie Humphries actually left was because she came forward and alleged abuse against Bobsled Canada's head coach, Todd Hays, verbal and emotional abuse, which was actually corroborated by other athletes who reported anonymously.
And basically Bobsled Canada took a really long time, and are still “pending an investigation", and she has been maligned, she has been attacked, and she really felt like she did not have a safe space and a healthy environment in which to compete in the sport that she loves. She's been on social media, she's been very public, she's been very tearful about it, that it's a 15-year journey for her, and she wanted to continue. And if she could go to the US and compete there then she would be able to dictate how and what her career would do, and would continue.
Now, what I'm specifically burning is the way in which systems like federations and national organizations of sport delay. They don't know how to deal with this kind of thing. And I think that's ridiculous considering the amount of perverse abuse that's happened in sport in Canada, and specifically when you lose an athlete, it does not only a disservice to the sport and that particular athlete suffering from the trauma, but it also really shatters belief and faith in those sport organizations in this country, and for young kids that look up to her. She's literally a legend in this country with bobsled. And Canada has a rich history of... It's one thing we do is winter sports. But it's just so frustrating that the way... And because of the power that Todd Hays holds, you know that this particular investigation took time. And I don't doubt, I have no evidence supporting this, this is just me, but that it was delayed, and that they were hoping it would go away because other athletes did come forward anonymously. Because people are too scared to speak their truth because of what happens to them.
Now when the news broke on social media, Kaillie was attacked by people saying, "You're a sell out, you're a traitor." No, she's an athlete. And honestly, we should support her no matter what flag she competes under. So, I want to burn the systems of patriarchy and violence that exist in these spaces that make it unsafe for athletes to compete in a way that's okay for them.
Lindsay: All right. I am talking about Tim Tebow. So, this week Tim Tebow announced that he was not a fan of California's Fair Pay to Play Act, an act that takes on amateurism, and is trying to get athletes some sort of money.
Of course, Tim Tebow is a former Florida quarterback, one of the most famous and successful collegiate football players in recent memory, who is now a talking head on ESPN and a minor league baseball player.
So, during an appearance on ESPN, Tebow... What was that? [Amira laughing] Sorry. Tebow was asked-
Lindsay: -about his bill, was asked about this bill and his quote was, "If I could support my team, support my college, support my university, that's what it's all about. But now we're changing it from us being an alumni where I care, which makes college sports special." To then, "Okay, it's not about us, it's not about we, it's just about me." He added, "It changes what's special about college football. We turn it into the NFL, where who has the most money? That's where you go."
To say that money has nothing to do with college football right now is absolutely ridiculous. As we've discussed many, many times on this show, instead of the money going to athletes, the money goes to these ridiculous facilities, these incredibly high paid coaches. And then those are the programs that are able to track the top talent because they think they're going to get the most support, and that's going to help them get into the NFL.
There are plenty of selfish college athletes right now even though they're not paid, and there are plenty of non selfish athletes who get paid. Money does not equate selfishness. This is about creating a fair system for all.
And so, I just would like to throw team Tim Tebow, and his privilege, and his ignorance onto the burn pile. Burn.
Amira: Can I just say, Lindsey?
Amira: It's so annoying. If you haven't seen the clip, I mean, I don't want to watch him, but I want you to see how upset he is because it's mind boggling. And then he also is like, "Oh, then it will just turn into a pay-for-play system and people will go to the top schools." That already happens!
Amira: What do you think happens when LSU is tweeting their space pad locker rooms? That is literally what people do. The people with the biggest stadiums already get the top recruiting class. That's already... I just can't, I can't. Good burn, Lindsay, because this is stupid.
Lindsay: Thanks. That deserved to be thrown back on the burn pile again. So, let's give it another burn!
Lindsay: All right. It is now time to lift up some badass women of the week. Let's start with former NWHL number one draft pick, Kelsey Koelzer, who has been named the head coach for Arcadia University's D3 Women's Team.
Koelzer is a member of the NHL and NHLPA female advisory committees, and she is one of the very few black women coaching college hockey in the country. Wow, that's incredible.
We have Canadian National Women's Soccer Team and Utah Royals’ Desiree Scott, who has been inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to Laura McCallum who has been appointed to the Dundee United Football Club as the head of football administration and legal affairs. Laura is a qualified solicitor specializing in sports law and litigation, with a particular interest in football regulatory matters.
13-year-old Misugu Okamoto from Japan took first place at the Skateboarding Park World Championships in Sao Paulo. And Sakura Yosozumi, 17, also from Japan got silver, and then 11-year-old Sky Brown of the UK got bronze. They're looking to continue their success in Tokyo.
And, wow. Do I feel old right now.
We want to congratulate Heather O'Reilly, three time Olympic champion, a World Cup champion, NCAA champion, NWSL champion of the North Carolina Courage. She's retiring after this NWSL season.
The Courage celebrated her at the game on Saturday, and fittingly, she had one assist and one screamer of a goal to help lead the Courage to a really commanding 5-1 victory over the Orlando Pride. So take a bow, HAO.
We want to lift up Katie Guay, Kristen Walsh, Kelly Cooke, and Kendall Hanley, four female officials who worked NHL prospect tournaments during this preseason, and are blazing a trail for female officials in men's hockey, which hopefully will eventually lead to having some female officials in the NHL proper.
Also, I know Amira has already covered this, but I do want to just give a shout out to Kim Clijsters, former number one and four time major champion who is coming back to the WTA tour in 2020. And can I get a drum roll please?
All right. Can... There we go.
Shireen: That was like a delayed drum roll.
Amira: It was so delayed!
Lindsay: You were delayed.
Amira: Yeah I was!
Lindsay: Jeanne Socrates, a 77-year-old British woman who became the oldest person to sail around the world alone. While doing so, she raised more than 2000 pounds sterling for the RNLI, which is a lifeboat charity. Once again, she is 77-years-old and she sailed around the world alone. What a legend.
Okay. It is time. I know we talked about some happy sports stories in the the middle of this podcast, but let's still do what's good. Shireen?
Shireen: Surfing, Iranian women surfing in particular is a really cool story that I tweeted out, and there's beautiful history of women's surfing in the coast of Iran.
I also saw it in my Instagram this morning that the UK has a women of color surfing group and I follow them on Instagram, it's on my story. I just, I love this kind of thing. I know we have talked about a really beautiful aspect of surfing and the history of surfing on this podcast. It's one of my favorite episodes. It just makes me happy, and it makes me kind of want to plan some type of vacation where it's warm because it's already chilly.
That being said, I do love fall. I'm quite happy and my winter clothes have come out, the sweaters, that kind of thing. So I'm excited about fall.
Lindsay: Awesome. Amira.
Amira: Yeah. I had the extreme honor and pleasure of being acknowledged during faculty staff appreciation night at the Penn State Women's Soccer Team game versus OK State. It went to double overtime. It was wild, but it was just so sweet. I'm particularly close with Ellie Jean and Sam Coffey, two women on the team. And I got to run out with Ellie, who's the team captain and do their high five lines and be announced. And it was just really cool, and it was just a really special moment. That was really fun.
And also, this time next week I will be heading to the airport to fly to Switzerland. And I am super excited, my husband's coming with me. I'm doing some research in the Olympic archives in Lausanne, and I also will be visiting Paris and giving a talk in London before flying home. It's going to be a 10-day trip, so I'll be off the pod for the next few weeks. But I've only been to London. I've never been to any other part of Europe, so this is a new frontier for me. I'm very excited. I'm working on my French, which as you know, I'm trash at, but I'll be Whatsapping Shireen for pronunciation tips while I'm there, and eating all the fondue that I can.
Lindsay: Oh, yes.
Amira: So that's my What's Good.
Shireen: So good.
Lindsay: Bring me a baguette.
Shireen: I'm very jealous.
Lindsay: So, I also want to address something that's been going on in my life, as some of you might have known, ThinkProgress where I worked for the last four years, closed it's doors…sounds a little bit too purposeful, I would say was closed down by the people in charge a week ago, Friday.
So, I am, that means, a free agent, a writing free agent. I'm going to be just fine. I am just so grateful for the support from my co-hosts and from everyone who has reached out. Someone texted me and said, "When you're laid off in this kind of…in this news environment, you will see the kindness of people like you've never seen before and allow yourself to accept their kindness." And that's something I've really been challenging myself to.
So, I just want to thank all of you for your support, thank all of you for reading anything in ThinkProgress over the past four years. I really was lucky to work there and to get to do the work that I did.
As for what's next, I haven't quite decided yet. I am going to be freelancing for The Athletic during the WNBA playoffs. So, that's going to keep me really busy for the next few weeks. And then I'm going to, kind of try and figure out what's next.
But what's good in my life is just all of the support I have received from friends and family and especially colleagues, some of whom I've never even met before, who have been reaching out. So, it's been really overwhelming. It's been really touching. And I am just endlessly, endlessly blessed and grateful.
Thank you all so much for your support of Burn It All Down. You can follow us on Facebook at Burn It All Down Pod, on Twitter @BurnItDownpod, our website, burnitalldownpod.com. We have Gmail as well, firstname.lastname@example.org.
And of course, if you want to do you me a favor, if you want to do an act of kindness, really what helps me, what I do on sad days, this is going to sound a little pathetic, is I read the good reviews, the five star reviews at Burn It All Down on Apple Podcasts. So if you would like to add one to the list that would be incredible. Those reviews really help us to grow our podcast, help other people find us, and like I said, lift me up on my sad days. So, what more can you ask for?
All right. Thank you all so, so much for your support. And we will talk to you next week.