Hail Mary: The Rise and Fall of the National Women’s Football League

Britni de la Cretaz and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo. Bold Type, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-1-64503-662-3
Sportswriters De la Cretaz and D’Arcangelo present an entertaining history of the National Women’s Football League, which, from 1974 to 1988, “broke the mold for what a football player was supposed to look like.” Their story begins in 1967, when Cleveland entrepreneur Sid Friedman, inspired by the success of the Harlem Globetrotters, decided to establish a single women’s team to compete against male squads. As De la Cretaz and D’Arcangelo exuberantly recount, that idea—initially created as a “gimmick”—morphed into a league of fierce competitors where all-female teams battled each other with the same intensity of their NFL counterparts. They illustrate how—in the face of rampant sexism (one reporter dismissed the teams as “social clubs with pads and cleats”) and corny team names, such as the “Houston Herricanes”—the players garnered devoted fans. The NWFL never hit it big, in part because of a lack of respect from the media that, the authors argue, continues to this day regarding women’s professional sports leagues. Without overstating the case, de la Cretaz and D’Arcangelo demonstrate how this overlooked chapter in American sports blazed a successful trail for today’s women athletes. This underdog story is a delight. Agent: JL Stermer, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 09/27/2021
Release date: 11/02/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-6665-3520-4
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