The IX: Hockey Friday with Erica L. Ayala, February 19, 2021
Stepping into the light, alone — Blake Bolden interview — Must-click women's hockey links
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Stepping into the light, alone
Hello hockey fans and friends:
This week has been an emotional one for many reasons. In my personal life, I said goodbye to my last living grandparent. My grandmother, mi abuela. She lived to 92 and got to meet her first great grandchild, she lived a good life.
The hard part right now has not been her death, it has been dealing with the machismo in my family. Like many Caribbean families, all things run through the men, despite the education, ability, or proximity of the women to any given person or situation.
No matter how present, how able, and how dedicated women are, there are still some that only define us, that can only compare our greatness in the shadow of men.
The same is true for Black, Indigenous, and other women of color across the world and certainly in sports. We designate specific months to acknowledge the grit of contributors often without full context. Our struggle is present because of a bad roll of the dice, our struggle was created. Our accomplishments intentionally absent from the history white men choose to tell.
So, when the PWHPA plays on NBC Sports next month with an all-woman broadcast team, it isn’t because post college women’s hockey all of a sudden is “good enough” to be broadcasted.
No. The truth is that the gatekeepers finally turned the key.
Women have always been in hockey. Black communities have always been in hockey. Yet there will likely be no Black women on the NBC broadcast. There will likely be one Black player (Sarah Nurse) and maybe a 2-3 of Indigenous players (Abby Roque, Brigette Lacquette, or Jocelyn Larocque) competing on the ice.
And when we (Black people, women, Indigenous people, etc.) say some version of “thank you and…” too often we are given some version of “Well, I have Black friends.”
Women of color are always told to wait, that more space for women’s sports will eventually yield more for them too.
There is no need to wait, we’re already here. And there is certainly no need to be polite. The only steps needed for more equity is for producers, editors, and other decision makers to see us, step away from the mic, and let us tell our story. We are thankful for those who create space, but don’t be fooled into thinking an all-white staff with a sprinkle of BIPOC voices is enough.
Think of it this way. If you are white and male, have you ever had more BIWOC superiors than white male superiors? As you have risen up the ladder, how many BIWOC women have come along with you? How many are there now?
Do I as a Black Latina have ideas about how to fix this? You’re damn right and I write about them every week, not just on the designated day the colonizer calendar has set aside for me to be proud of who I am.
This week reminded me that I can continue to do this until I’m 92 and my own kin will still measure me through the eyes of a man. A man will still think he can take credit for my success without acknowledging the interdependence of the relationship.
Should I live to see as many years as my grandmother, I hope the need for hyper-masculinity in our society has faded and I can rest in peace knowing that my life and my work are properly attributed.
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This Week in Women’s Hockey
DO YOU BELIEVE IN MORE COVERAGE FOR WOMEN IN SPORTS? Good, click these links and show decision-makers that if you post it, we will read it! If you have any hot tips for great stories or voices you’d like to see in The IX, email me: erica@ericaLayala.com.
Must-Click Links Written by Women
Learn about the Colored Hockey League in my latest for the Seattle Kraken
Elizabeth Roote takes a look at gender disparity among UVM’s hockey programs
Michelle Jay with the details for the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour in Chicago
Kristen Anderson spoke to Blake Bolden about being a trailblazer
Angelica Rodriguez with a Buffalo Beauts report card
Marisa Ingemi projects the Hockey Canada roster for 2022 Olympics
In Power Plays, I wrote about the first-ever NCAA Frozen Four
Anne Tokarski with a recap of the short Riveters season
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX by way of Kwani Lunis
I was away with family for most of the week, but I wanted to share this interview again! I love how comfortable Blake is talking with Kwani Lunis.