Women's Sports 2013: Five Great Moments for Women...and Chicago

1) Chicago Sky Makes Playoffs

2013 Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne was also named to the WNBA All-Star Second Team

2013 Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne was also named to the WNBA All-Star Second Team

Led by WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Delle Donne , the Chicago Sky had its best season ever (24-10) and made the playoffs for the first time in its eight-year history. Armed with the Jordan-like ability to make the players around her better, Delle Donne earned every Rookie of the Month awards possible and became a brand name herself.  Four-year veteran and All-Star 6'6 Sylvia Fowles dominated 6'8 Brittany Griner, the #1 draft pick of the WNBA's "Three to See," outearning Griner as the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

2) Chicago Force earns first national title

Sami Grisafe, quarterback for the Chicago Force, cites 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana as her favorite player.

Sami Grisafe, quarterback for the Chicago Force, cites 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana as her favorite player.

Who won a "Super Bowl" this year? It sure wasn't the Bears, who fight for all the marbles in the NFC North this  Sunday against the Packers. Nope. The Chicago Force women's full-tackle football team, three times the bridesmaid, went 11-0 in the regular season, undefeated in the playoffs, and trekked to  San Diego's Balboa Stadium, to play the Dallas Diamonds on Saturday, August 3 for the Women's Football Alliance (WFA) National Championship title. The Force made coal out of the Diamonds, 81-34.  Aspiring singer Samantha (Sami) Grisafe then sang the National Anthem at Wrigley Field and was a finalist in Chicago's American Gay Idol competition. American football may also become an Olympic sport

3) Olympic Softball and Baseball win reprieve for 2020

Olympian and retired Chicago Bandit Jenny Finch fought the good fight as the spokesperson for reinstating softball and baseball into the 2020 Olympics. New IOC president Thomas Bach says he'll consider it.

Olympian and retired Chicago Bandit Jenny Finch fought the good fight as the spokesperson for reinstating softball and baseball into the 2020 Olympics. New IOC president Thomas Bach says he'll consider it.

Remember when baseball and softball were eliminated as Olympic sports after the 2008 games? And then again, in September, when wrestling was chosen as the sport to retain, even after a prolonged fight? Squash was quashed as well. Thank heaven for the Japanese, and their support for all things baseball and softball.  For this reason, baseball and softball still have a chance of being included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The Olympic Executive Committee are mapping out a plan for inclusion, which will be presented to the general Olympic Committee during the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

4) Boston Blades first American Women to take CWHL Cup 

Yes, the Cup is smaller, but the Boston Blades are champions of the women's hockey world in 2013.

Yes, the Cup is smaller, but the Boston Blades are champions of the women's hockey world in 2013.

While the Chicago Blackhawks were beating the brains of the Boston Bruins for their second Stanley Cup in three years, the Bruin's sisters-in-professional hockey, the Boston Blades, had already won their version of the Stanley Cup in 2013. On Saturday, March 23, the Blades beat the two-time champion Montreal Stars 5-2, for their first ever Clarkson Cup championship. They were the first American women to ever win a professional hockey cup in the CWHL.

5) NWSL Returns Professional Women's Soccer to United States

With the determination of players like Adriana Leon, the Red Stars may go far into the NWSL playoffs.

With the determination of players like Adriana Leon, the Red Stars may go far into the NWSL playoffs in 2014.

The Chicago Red Stars   returned to women's professional soccer, getting their first win over eventual soccer champion Portland Thorns in front of 12,446 Thorns fans at Jeld-Wen Field. The Red Stars had a successful season at Benedictine University in Lisle.

As the Washington Post reported, 11 games into its existence, the NWSL had a better idea of where it stands and what challenges lie ahead. Subsidized by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF,) and to a lesser extent, the Canadian and Mexican federations, the low-budget, eight-team league provides a platform for development and a showcase for U.S. national team players.

According to the Post, average attendance is around 4,595, ranging from 1,255 at the Chicago Red Stars’ debut at Illinois Benedictine University in Lisle, to 16,479 for the Portland Thorns’ home opener at MLS’s Jeld-Wen Field.
The previous league, Women’s Professional Soccer, averaged 3,930 from 2009 to 2011 and had much higher overhead.
Last month, the City of Houston announced a partnership with the Houston Dynamo for the ninth professional women's team, the Houston Dash.

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    Alison Moran

    Sports Commentator, WRLR 98.3 FM (http://wrlr.fm) Women's Sports Director, SRN Broadcasting; Guest Lecturer on Women's Sports/Women's Sports Issues

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