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I am publishing a book about the pioneers of women's basketball
I am publishing a book about the pioneers of women's basketball
62 backers pledged $2,680 to help bring this project to life.
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Finding a Way to Play

$2,680

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I'm asking for your help in order to self-publish my latest book, Finding a Way to Play: The Pioneering Spirit of Women in Basketball, this spring.

My book is full of stories that reflect the pioneering spirit of women from many different social strata and many different eras. Chapter one brings  Senda Berenson, the mother of women’s basketball, who carefully modified the rules (and enhanced the teamwork necessary) to keep her sport from being banned by physical educators and medical professionals in the 1890s to life.

Senda Berenson photo courtesy of Smith College
Senda Berenson photo courtesy of Smith College

A later chapter includes the career of Hazel Walker, whose team of women mostly from Arkansas, carried a gun to ensure their safety as they drove their station wagon across the country in the 1950s looking for a good game. That's Hazel and her team in my cover photo, designed by graphics artist extraordinare, Sue Schenning of South Portland, Maine.

This book draws from an earlier book I wrote 15 years ago, A History of Basketball for Girls and Women, which is now out of print. In that book, I wrote very little about the rich history of black women and Native American women who endured racist taunts and slurs, and unequal treatment as they traveled great distances seeking opportunities to play.

The Bennett College team from the 1930s. Note the fireplace on one end of their "court."
The Bennett College team from the 1930s. Note the fireplace on one end of their "court."

My new book rectifies that omission and also includes heartbreaking stories of lesbian players who have had to hide their identities to protect themselves and preserve their places on the court. Another chapter profiles some of the senior women in their 60s, 70s and 80s who ignore their bodies’ aches and pains – and sometimes, doctors’ admonitions - to continue playing a game they may have been denied the opportunity to play when they were young.

Seniors at the Not Too Late Basketball Camp in South Portland, Maine
Seniors at the Not Too Late Basketball Camp in South Portland, Maine

I've dedicated my book to the memory of Lauren Hill, the 19-year-old who stepped onto the court of her college team’s first game of the season in November, 2014, despite the debilitating effects of an advancing brain tumor.

Lauren Hill photo courtesy of David Long
Lauren Hill photo courtesy of David Long

In doing so, she embodied the spirit of millions of women who have ignored the odds and the naysayers in order to play the game they love.

I am the author of two books about women's sports, and I write a monthly column for Maine Women Magazine. I have a blog about women's basketball, www.findingawaytoplay.com. I also play basketball on a senior women's team in Maine.

Basketball is the most popular sport among high school girls today. It's important to help young people understand not only the struggles others have endured to stay in the game, but also the role basketball can play in empowering girls and women today. I hope you'll consider helping me to bring these stories to life. Any money raised will not only help with printing costs but also with travel to promote my book to as wide an audience as possible.

Risks and challenges

My book is written. It is in the final stages of layout and design and should be ready to publish by the middle of June. I have secured the rights to all photos, chosen a cover design, and created an index and a photo credits page. I need to obtain an ISBN, choose the best printer for the project, and begin marketing efforts.

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    A signed copy of Finding a Way to Play

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    Two signed copies of Finding a Way to Play

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    Two signed copies of Finding a Way to Play and a Finding a Way to Play t-shirt

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    Five signed copies of Finding a Way to Play and a Finding a Way to Play t-shirt

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    I will read your nonfiction manuscript and provide you with a detailed analysis with suggestions and specific feedback.

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Funding period

- (33 days)