February 12, 2018
The most entertaining hockey in the world right now is not being played in the NHL. It is not being played by men at the college level or at any level. It is being played by women, especially those on the American and Canadian Olympic rosters.
I've been a hockey fiend my entire life: I played it well enough that I was recruited for college. Although I quit to focus on writing, hockey never ceased to inform how I thought and viewed the world, from how I approach the composition of a new book, to putting a tragedy in the proverbial rearview and always moving forward in life.
If youre not watching womens hockey, youre missing out
Up until about three years ago, I only watched men's hockey. Then, one afternoon, I wandered into a college hockey rink and saw that a women's game was under way. There was hardly anyone in the stands: parents, a few loyal roommates, and me.
What I saw instantly engrossed me. There was so much flow to this game, in marked contrast to men's matches, which are bogged down with an overreliance on system. The men's game can be depressing, like hockey has morphed into a totalitarian state. The will of the player — his tendency to improvise, to attempt plays that have a measure of risk — is subservient to conservative attacking styles, with an emphasis on defense above all else.
But the women's game? You know that feeling when you're sick and you can't get out of bed, and then that first day comes when you're back outside and you tell yourself not to overdo it, but before you know it, you're racing around and you never want to go back in again? That's the women's game.
In the Olympics, we see the apex of the sport, and you must watch, you must see how these athletes approach the business of manipulating a disc atop frozen water.
It's almost a given that the United States or Canada will win gold, a reality that can make some of the other games less competitive than you might want, but the women have what the English call "bottle" — meaning, some legit heft in the guts department.
A lot of these women started their careers playing against boys when they were young, and might have been the only girl on the team. If you're going to be the only anything in anything, you probably don't scare easily. You know that if you don't belong, you can still compete with the very best of them. You have pluck, and with pluck comes a zest for creativity.
That's what you'll see with the women's game. Thinking hockey. Brave hockey.
The men's game is predicated on not making mistakes. If you turn the puck over, your hindquarters will be staple-gunned to the bench. Although the women's game doesn't court errors, either, it does reward progressive thinking — like that player who enters the attacking zone, curls back toward neutral ice, comes to a full stop, and feathers a cross-ice pass over one defender's stick and under another's, to a teammate busting toward the net. The men don't attempt plays like this. They dump the puck in, and they chase it. Instead of proceeding with flow, they pound.
There is no body-checking in women's hockey, which is bound to open up the play. The velocity of the shots is necessarily lower, which means that goalies tend to make saves with acrobatic flair, rather than just flopping to the ice and letting the puck hit them.
The women's game is about pushing forward one's individuality in the cause of a larger good. Each individual, with her particular style, has greater freedom than in the machine-like men's game. There is a great satisfaction in watching a woman's skater attempt an exquisite toe-drag dangle as she enters the offensive zone; to win great results one must court some risk. The women's U.S. and Canadian squads remind me of the great Soviet teams of the 1970s, virtuosos of on-ice joy and dazzlement.
Watching the women's game, you may start to think that you know these people, because each individual seems to express her personality in competition. It is a beautiful gift to be able to play that way, just as it's a beautiful gift to be able to watch someone play that way.
Colin Fleming is the author of the forthcoming book "Buried on the Beaches: Cape Stories for Hooked Hearts and Driftwood Souls."
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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