Siren co-founder Kasey Symons likes reading stories about sport. A lot! Here Kasey shares a selection of the stories she enjoyed reading over her break.
In my roles of academic sports research, freelance writing and being part of the Siren team, devouring women in sport stories is a delightful part of the job. However, it’s rare that I take to a piece without the lens of ‘work’ layered over it. I’m critiquing the writing to see what makes it a great piece and how I can learn from it or use it as an example when mentoring others. I look at the issues raised and relate them back to research. I think about the evolution of the story, what the flow on effects could be and what else I need to read to be across what is to come. Don’t get me wrong, this is my passion, and I do truly love doing all of this (and you can hear me chat about this passion for collating content on our podcast!), but sometimes, because my work is so intrinsically connected to what I like to do in my ‘free time’ (lol, ‘free time’!) it can become a little exhausting sometimes.
So I spent my holiday break giving myself what I consider a real luxury. Reading women’s sports content for pure pleasure! I didn’t take to the papers, websites and blogs with my usual rigour to ensure I was up to date on every single story, league, competition and issue with references ready and comparative analysis notes compiled. I read just to read, to enjoy the work of my colleagues and heroes, and marvel at the wonderful women creating excellent work in our field. Here are a few of the pieces that I really loved reading on my summer break.
This piece by Melbourne’s Libby Birch was brilliant. I am loving seeing players use their voices more and more in the media to call attention to the realities of the current environment.
Siren Collaborator Sarah Burt also wrote this great piece for The Age which brings together some innovative photography by Darrian Traynor to also address the unsustainability of players continuing to work full-time.
And of course, Siren co-founder Kate O’Halloran’s piece for ABC Sport on vision for AFLW released by the league is a must read. No one breaks down AFLW issues like Kate.
This story had me in tears. The subject matter is emotional enough, but Sam Lewis’ beautiful narrative framing and deep care she takes with her storytelling makes this such an exceptional piece of sports writing.
Jenan Taylor is producing some great stories for us as part of our Siren Sport X ABC Sport partnership. I loved learning about the Bayside Futsal community and I always love reading about the impacts of community sport.
Siren Sport X ABC Sport
Marissa Lordanic’s wrap of the Nike FC Cup is excellent. Any piece of football writing that opens with a music theory metaphor, bringing my two passions of sport and art together, is a quick way to my heart. Also, this piece has some superb photos from Siren Collaborator, Rachel Bach. This is a blueprint for how all match reports should be written, with passion and poetry.
The break gave me time to read a few editions of Lindsay Gibbs’ Power Plays newsletter that I was a bit behind on (which I am sure you have also subscribed to, right??). This edition really summed up so many of my feelings towards the end of 2021 (and maybe still now starting 2022!) so perfectly. Lindsay has such a great talent for navigating the in-between and uncertain—in issues in women’s sports, yes, but in this edition, she also gives a great summation of being a sports writer and freelancer in 2021.
This is also placed alongside her conflicted feelings about San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon’s impending appointment to a head coaching role in the WNBA (Hammon has since been announced in the role of head coach for the Las Vegas Aces – read this great piece by Candace Buckner for the Washington Post) which was something I think a lot of hoops fans felt. We’re thrilled for Hammon of course, but that she couldn’t take that step in the NBA is frustrating and with Hammon gone, that glass ceiling seems further away again.
Cricket expert and academic Raf Nicholson compiled her Test team of the year—which is actually really exciting, as she highlights as she opens her list:
“Most years the very idea of a women’s Test team of the year would be redundant, but 2021 has bucked that trend: it’s the first calendar year since 2014 to feature two women’s Tests.” What do you think of Raf’s inclusions?
Erin Delahunty dissects the upcoming Super Netball season after the schedule was announced in December. I will read anything that mentions a fans first approach in the title, and also anything by Erin Delahunty.
Marnie Vinall was my go-to for some lighter summer reads and her pieces for Broadsheet on trying rollerskating and bouldering were just great fun, and may just get me over the line to get some skates!
I also found this piece by Donna Lu for The Guardian about heading down to Urbnsurf in Melbourne quite fun. I might just live vicariously through Donna’s experience though!