10 Things You May Have Missed While Watching Wonder Woman

Spoilers to follow…

By now, movie goers have been slammed with reviews and opinions of DC’s cinematic adaptation of Wonder Woman. Truth be told, I cried, cheered and cherished every moment of her debut and thanked the Gods for Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot but knew many were not aware of the inside jokes or tips of the hat to the original super hero. Feminist or not, I implore you: Read up on Diana’s legacy during her last 75 years of history before throwing shade at plot points you didn’t understand. This film was fan service to the extreme and had a few reshoots with a very pregnant leading lady to make the film more relatable to the uninitiated viewers. Those just introduced to this leading superhero may not be aware of the following:

1. By defeating Ares, Diana becomes the God of War.

She is a demigod and daughter of Zeus. A weapon designed to eradicate Ares from existence. In Greek mythology, besting the God of War means you become “IT”. Similar to the Elder’s Wand in Harry Potter, the power is passed on to the conqueror. Ladies and gents, we have a new sheriff in town and she is all out of bubble gum. The new God of War is full of compassion and confidence. Does this mean that future wars are to be blamed on her? How will she influence the will of men? To be continued…

2. Amazons are not immortal, and more so outside of Thermyscira, Diana can be killed.

By a lead bullet no less. What makes Wonder Woman so badass is that she goes into battle knowing she can die. She is vulnerable and can get beat down by enemies and that fact doesn’t phase her. You see her bleed and hurt just like any other human. She just doesn’t dwell on the pain and works through it, gracefully. Broken ribs? No problem. She’s got this. 💪💪💪💪

3. No one calls Diana Wonder Woman during the entire movie.

She is always Diana, Princess of Thermyscira and the Amazons, Daughter of Hippolyta, God Killer. Steve gives her the last name Prince to make her appear normal. Not a single soul calls her Wonder Woman. She is always herself and her moral fiber earns her peers’ respect. Ain’t that grand?

4. Diana’s Amazonian armor is the color of Steve’s country of service.  

For this movie, Steve is both US Air Force and a spy for the British Army. The colors of the Union Jack and the USA flag are similar shades, but for modernization’s and shock value’s sake, DC made the colors more metallic and armorish. The original outfit for Wonder Woman was made in these colors to make her more relatable to the world of men. She wears the flag, in a way, of the imperialists and superpowers of the world at the time of her inception. (1940s)

5. The Amazonian Queen and General are played by actresses who have played popular movie royalty. 

Connie Nielsen played a Greek princess in Gladiator, and Robin Wright played Buttercup in The Princess Bride. Even though it doesn’t relate to the lore, these ladies are icons in their own right and could have not been cast more appropriately. The rest of the amazons were Olympic athletes and fitness stars, among others. All these women trained and were not faking it. They all made me proud to fight wearing a skirt.

6. In the comic books, Diana’s original cover story is that she is Steve’s secretary.

She gets clearance this way and is close by every time Steve needs saving. The trope of the damsel in distress was reversed in their love affair. Originally, her love for Steve is what has her leaving the protection of her Queendom, and Etta Candy was a college student that befriended the Amazon when she was introduced to the world of men. It is Etta who tells her how to dress and what to say or do. This is why this secondary character’s role is so meaningful: a woman helping another sister without passing judgement. Wow!

7. Another trope reversed: Man’s savior and protector is a woman

There is a reason why the word human is not used. All the points made are about men and their nature. Men or man is plural for humankind BUT, in this movie, the emphasis on the world is meant to anchor us around the concept of the patriarchy and its hegemony. In other words, the darkness and cruelty of humanity is embodied by men, and it is up to a man to prove they are creatures worth saving. The woman in the room doesn’t understand why men can’t be more like the Amazons and why women in general aren’t more like her. Hmmm.

8. Hippolyta plays the role of Queen and King, misogyny and all.

The Queen goes out of her way to protect her daughter and keep her in the dark about her true power. She refuses to train her because a Princess should not be a warrior and tells her she was made if clay, a very frail and temperamental material. When she leaves to fight Ares, the Queen calls her “Her greatest sorrow”. Considering she had an affair with a married man and raised the kid on her own you’d expect her to be more progressive and would want more for her daughter. A little more support, mom?

9. The Amazons’ knowledge is thousands of years old but they never show how advanced it truly is.

Diana has never left “Paradise Island” and has to rely on information collected and analyzed almost a millenia ago. This is why everything is new to her but her people are incredibly advanced. In the comics, the medicine in Thermyscira borders on magical and can heal almost anything. Yet Antiope dies and we move on. Hmmm.

10. The invisible jet is never explained (or shown).

We know Wonder Woman has an invisible jet. It appears it could be made of transparent aluminum (wink wink) and has some kind of stealth propulsion that makes it undetectable. Why did they not explain this part and/or skipped it? Does it matter? Aliens? Wayne Tech perhaps? It will probably not make it into the movies. One can dream…

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There are many other intricacies left unexplained or unmentioned but I’d need to see the movie again to fully exploit and explain those. Are there any you remember that aren’t on this list? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

Enjoy!

Gal Gadot is not Wonder Woman: She Is Just the Actor That Portrays Her

I am getting tired of the mainstream media making everything about politics. I’m tired if men saying Wonder Woman as a film is a waste of time because women can’t be heroes or that the movies they star in are not worth the film used to capture the story. Now, I have to put up with people turning Wonder Woman into a white zionist because Gal Gadot happens to be Israeli? WTF!

Wonder Woman is a symbol of justice, truth and love. She was born on a fictional island called Thermyscira because her author, Dr William Moulton Marston, a psychologist, realized that no woman of this earth could be sold as a superhero to the men of the 1930s. Why? These men of power viewed women as weak, inferior and not worth the right to vote; things to be controlled and cared for. In a way, his duplicity worked out and after 75 years she is still an icon and one of the most popular and successful characters in DC/comic book history.  Diana Prince stands for more than whatever Gal Gadot, Lynda Carter and Patty Jenkins stand for or have achieved. The Queen of the Amazons was designed to save the world and serve as an example of what women can accomplish if they are given the power and space to perform.

When they announced Gal Gadot was cast, I didn’t like the decision because she was of Fast and the Furious Fame. Her acting wasn’t atrocious but it didn’t draw me in. She was too skinny, etc. Ironically, the fact that she was an ex-soldier for the Israeli army was the only plus to me as this meant she had combat skills and first hand experience of courage under fire. Soldiers are loyal, and execute orders BUT they are also trained to use judgement and to avoid conflict. Just like Wonder Woman.

Yes, Gal participated in the war against Palestine in which men, women and children died. My parents and cousins fought battles against enemies foreign and domestic too. I bet she has no qualms about having represented their country, regardless of the blood spilt. So did my family.  Yes, they all regret the loss but they did the wrong thing, according to those who oppose war, for the right reasons. The victors will write history and in 200 years we will see how well we will be judged, when the dust has settled. For now, all these people live daily with the consequences of their actions and have moved on from the events in question to a more promising future.

The movie itself is not about the Holocaust or has zionist undertones. It attempts to paint the first world war as the horrifying event in history it was, and to pay homage to the lives lost by asking the viewers to reconsider bigotry, racism and blind patriotism. Regardless of who plays Wonder Woman the message would have been the same and just as powerful, until some critic with a dissenting opinion decided to make it about Ms Jenkins, the studio or any of the cast members.

It always happens. An agenda comes in politics and startegists decide it is best to smash and bad mouth the intention of the plot or backers to devalue the content. Where were these detractors when white actors were cast as black heroes? When asians were poorly portrayed as illiterate buffoons or martial artists? When where they when Italians played Latinos and Latinos played the bad guys? Don’t get me started on the portrayal of Arabs and Muslims as agents of evil. Doesn’t surprise me we are making this about Gal Gadot and not about the character. She is Israeli so she must be evil, and therefore Wonder Woman’s portrayal is tarnished by this happenstance. Give me a break people!

I’m a Wonder Woman fan well versed in her character, deeds and lore. Her origin story and her achievements are out of this world, and live in the annals of comic book history. If liking this movie and Gal make me a Semitic supporter and person to be hated so be it. I refuse to make this superhero about the people behind her cinematic portrayal. I love Steve Trevor and I dislike Chris Pine. In my world, that would be more of a valid reason to boycott. To each their own, except in this case. Step away from my feminist idiol. You definitely don’t deserve her.

Back to Leveling Up

A long time ago, before I decided to buy a new house, move and upgrade it/decorate it in modern geek industrial chic style, the goal was to reach level 14 as a PSN user. My darling MrEnginerd is a level 14, soon a 15, and its tempting to take advantage of his love affair with the Switch to catch up. Rise of The Tomb Raider isn’t piqueing my attention anymore but buying Titanfall 2 or another game just cause isn’t going to gel well with the overall “saving to rehabilitate the backyard” plan. Being indoors while the sun shines brightly in the PNW is frowned upon too so the games may have to wait until the fall. 😣😑

As impressive as it is to be a Level 14, my partner believes that the trophy hunt belittles the true worth of the ranking. I’d agree with him if my achievements were the Barbie game type but I’ve played RPGs, FPS and action/adventure sagas too. Knowing I have to prove myself to my biggest fan is a pain. Had I been a guy this trophy quest, even if it had Barbie type games, wouldn’t be an issue. Blazing the trail of video game equality is my mission, and it is very serious business.😎 Need to make the time to get cracking again. My controller must miss me. Hang on buddy, momma is coming for ya!

If anyone has a suggestion for good, quick games to do between emptying moving boxes and/or decorating a nerdy home, I’m open to ideas. 

Cheers!

Cheater!! You turned the sound OFF…

Tetris isn’t the mind twisting, nail bitting, move your controller buttons and scream at the TV masterpiece Nintendo intended without the speeding music. As an extra element to the experience, the score of the game is designed to engage all of your senses and submerge you in the gameplay. Heart rates go up just by remembering how most games accelerate the rhythm and heighten the tone of a song during the last minute or seconds of the game. Super Mario Bros. used to drive me crazy when I ran out of time near the castle. The anxiety always forced me to miss an easy jump or obstacle.

To the people who play with the sound off or music down in order to concentrate: That’s Cheating! It is sooo much easier to forgo the soundtrack and enjoy the visuals because you will not be prompted by the music to feel a particular way or to be weary of the next moves. The suspense will be lost since the terrifying notes will not drive you insane. It is not fair to rob yourself and others from watching you quake in your boots, driven by the sounds of the story. Winning is empty if you don’t learn how to beat the programmers on their own terms. There is no hollower victory if you ask me.

So, the next time you need to beat a game and choose to use this shortcut, don’t sell yourself short and have the cojones to try it in its whole unnerving musical glory. You will feel pride knowing you had the guts and skills to beat the game fair and square. Wear headphones if you must not bother people. Do it for the developers, the musicians, the music directors and for the love of the challenge.

Game face on!

The Women of Voltron

Japanese Anime is riddled with stereotypes and tropes, especially when it comes to women. From the way they are designed, clothed and inserted into the story, female characters are prone to bring ditzy, big busted and one-dimensional, and even the ones that are luckier and get a good personality ir quest still fall prey of “damsel in distress” storylines. Things are changing and more and more female characters are getting their dues. Just ask the new Lara Croft aka Tomb Raider and you will appreciate what I mean.

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There was an exception every so often, which is why I love Voltron over other series (like Candi) and continue to support the genre. Ever since I was 4 years old, in the early girl power 80s, I’ve been in awe of the women of the original series due to their audacity and leadership skills. My favorite hero was Princess Allura who piloted the Blue Lion like it was second nature to her. It was her destiny! How cool is that! She was the calming and soothing wave of light that helped the team rally and focus on their mission to defend the galaxy. The challenge of leading and defending those dear to her never phased her. On the flipside, we had Haggar, an extremely evil and even more empowered female character and super villain, who was charged with the seemingly impossible mission to entrap Voltron and steal the princess for her master, Prince Lothor. She has, again and again, to unleash her magical abominations on Voltron in the hopes to win over her adversaries, attempting to prove she was a worthy opponent and valuable asset in the process. These women had everything to lose if they failed and they pulled all the stops to survive.

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From what I recall the women of Voltron, past and present, were not the traditional damsels in distress, which makes them even more fabulous and endearing in my perspective. They all have skills that help the team succeed after each encounter, and are culturally relevant in their genre and popular scenes. They were more than background decorative figures. Each one had a soul and a purpose, a reason to fight and live another day. Look at the complete cast for the many iterations of the series and you will find pilots, mages, sages, clan leaders, earthlings and extraterrestrials in positions of empowerment with decent dialog and meaningful roles. I am grateful the translators, writers and dubbers did their best to make the show relevant, rewriting and delivering the North American content with the feminist vibe it deserved and carried. I will always be proud of enjoy the show and of the possibilities it presented for the women of Earth and beyond. 😍😍😍💪💪💪

This is the main reason why I remain impressed with the portrayals of the women of Voltron by the Netflix team behind Legendary Defender. Allura transformed from a very capable Disney Princess to fierce and unstoppable magic wielding Zelda in her latest incarnation. Haggar is still strong, wicked and totally loyal to her King and Prince; the dark conquerors. What struck me as pure genius was making Pidge a young woman on a quest to find her lost family, passing herself as her brother! Plus, Keith’s mother being of extraterrestrial heritage and/or descent gives us an opportunity to add a new and complex female character into the mix. I’m excited for all the possibilities the third season will bring for the Paladins as they resolve how to save/replace Shiro.

With tropes set aside and boundaries enhanced for women in the Legendary Defender series, I highly recommend nerds and geeks to share this show with their children, especially with all the Princesses in your life. Although it is believed that wanting to become a princess or being treated as such is demeaning or dangerous for a girl’s development, I would counter that if she wants to be like Allura, she will be on the path to success and independence. It is not a bad thing to want to wear the crown if you can carry yourself like a benevolent, strong yet kind leader; if you can handle the responsibility to lead with humility and resilience.

Allura, Haggar and Pidge will return to Netflix in late 2017, early 2018. I can’t wait…

Enjoy!

Stories from Females in The Table Top Game Industry 

When I was about 10 years old I wanted to design and manufacture toys and games. Because of my ever expanding and diverse hobby list, my mentors recommended that I pursue a career path that would allow me to transition to such industries if I ever felt compelled to revisit my desire to join the game designer ranks. Ten years into my mechanical engineering career, I had the opportunity to think about this goal but there is one thing that have always kept me from pursuing it: knowing that women are still not treated as equals in this male dominated field, a sentiment I can attest to besed on my own experiences as a female engineer.

My questions were answered by sheer serendipity. Out of the blue, booth appeared in the middle of the 2017 Emerald City Comic Con main floor right next to where I was standing. Magic! Between the many books one caught my eye: Girls on Games, A Look At The Fairer Side of the Tabletop Industry.  Curated by game designer Elisa Teague, the narrative is comprised of stories from the industry’s iconic and very distinguished women that explore what works, what doesn’t work, what has changed and what needs to transpire to modernize the gaming workforce who needs to embrace diversity and evolve. Incorrect and outdated is now the notion that women aren’t gamers – see Women in Gaming for stats – and furthermore, that they aren’t good enough to be effective contributors and change agents in the industry.

Mike Selinker, CEO of Lone Shark Games offers up in the foreword that women are needed and more than welcome in his company since the diversity of thought and experiences they bring to the table are what make companies like his shine and produce high quality entertainment. As an advocate of equality, Mike makes sure you understand that these stories of discrimination and sexism still happen everyday in the corporate world, and to keep an open mind  when reading the short essays, and to become advocates for pay and professional equality. It’s a very touching gesture because as a man, the only thing he can do is open doors for the next group of women looking to breakthrough, to explain to his fellow men that the attitudes towards women have changed. They are here to stay.

The many accounts of discrimination, discomfort, ignorance and sound advice for future game designers are heartfelt, short, sweet and inspiring. Not all is bad when participating in game design and marketing but it can be an uphill battle to be taken seriously as a woman in this male dominated world. The saving grace is that many of the victims decided to take a stand and turned the culture around by becoming advocates for themselves and later for the women that suceeded them. Many opened their own studios and firms, bringing a new perspective to a market that was saturated by the same old ideas. Women making games for gamers, not just gender specific fluff. A challenge and adventure for families and friends to face and enjoy together.

This self published book can be purchased through Amazon and in select Cons. Follow Elisa on the web for more info: http://elisateague.com

ECCC 2017: Empowering Women, LGBTQIA and Minorities

Emerald City Comic Cons are notorious for celebrating diversity. Aliens, superheroes, anime characters and video game avatars, there is enough variety to please even the pickiest of people. That’s why nerds and geeks love attending these events in full regalia. Zero judgement. Zero pressure. You get to express yourself openly and among peers. Little kids, and most adults, walk the halls oohing and ahhing, falling in love with the colors and whimsy of the artwork and characters surrounding them. For groups it is experience like any other because kids and parents, siblings and spouses, comrades and strangers, get to dream and feed their imagination in a welcoming environment. Keep nerd weird!

FYI: This year the TCC was turned into family central, so the clan of mini mes can have a space to enjoy PG activities, like Lego building and the 501st Legion, while the adults can take a breather.

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The event has a huge turn out because of the mix and match of opportunities for women, minorities and the LGBTQIA community to participate. It is a trade show that invests in serving the community, expanding nerd/geek culture across nations. The goal? To break through the industry’s glass ceiling and redefine the role of these underrepresented groups in gaming, fantasy/sci-fi, publishing and art design. Exhibitor and vendors organize seminars about tabletop games, cosplay, business strategy and other comic book and story development discussions. It has something for everyone to learn and enjoy. Local businedses attend too! Heather and her crew from Magic Mirror participated too and we ran into them on the last day! ECCC is so big you never now who else may be there unless they tag themselves or check in with you.

Plan ahead if you want to meet up because playing phone tag is hard due to bad cell reception and not having building wide wifi.

I would highly recommend buying at least two day pases to enjoy the Con if you want to get pics and signed items from the celebrity guests without missing out on the panels, competition, exhibitions and special promotions. If you don’t give yourself enough time you will miss half of the fun of being there, people watching. Running between buildings was a pain, in the rain, since the photo ops were off site. The long Sheraton lines in narrow hallways were not fun. ;(

Tip/FYI: Depending on the length of the lines you can end up sorely disappointed since the interactions on the photo op side are minimal, 5s tops! Table selfies with autograph combos are cheaper and more personal than the ready, aim, click, firing squad. Buy Photo Ops as soon as they are announced because they sell out fast.  

For those of you thinking “Why would I queue in line for hours to see a person?” chew on this: On Friday Marvel founder Stan Lee, made appearances and so did Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Michael Rooker (Yondu, Merle) and Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy). The ECCC attracts high caliber performers and pros like Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man, Lost, The Hobbit) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman and Khal Drogo for the n00bs).  Artist alley featured over a thousand writers, illustrators, performers, fan art and vendors/publishing houses. On Saturday Milli Bobby Brown from Stranger Things was signing autographs and giving photo ops; her character Eleven developed a cult following as the result of the popularity of the Netflix Original hit which prompted adults and children to cosplay as her, Eggo Waffles and all. (She can’t sign your Eggo products though. Sigh.)

Female and transgender cosplayers were out in full force, in all shapes, ages and sizes. Poison Ivys, Harleys and princesses were everywhere, not to mention Wonder Women and Black Widows. Female fandom was felt and appreciated by guests in very heart felt way. Michael Rooker complimented a few Elevens and a female Link with a pointy sword with a goofy happy grin on his face. 😀 Excellent job minions! We felt appreciated and included. 🙂

After blowing our budget on tasteful and whimsical art, comics, graphic novels and t-shirts, we called it a weekend and headed home not before capitalising on the last minute close out deals. Dark Horse had a 40% discount going on at 4pm and many booths followed suit offering at least 10% or more. Most places accept credit cards but cash is a good thing to carry around for the smaller and more specialized collectible stores. I hadn’t noticed during the convention but our loot had many items created or written by female entrepreneurs. Izzy Clarke, for example was pitching her next project Feminist at 15 which is her second book. Truly amazing!

Big shout out to all the dads and their mini Wolverines and super hero leaders. Watching Batman follow Wonder Woman around and carrying her stuffed unicorn made me happy in a way words can’t do it justice. Raising strong, independent, resilient and intelligent human beings is not an easy task, and for a man to recognize his child can dream and aspire to become their own hero is laudable. Dress up and push the stroller up and down those aisles. Feed your inner child too.


For more info on panelists, guests amd exhibitors, check out the following links to our and friends’ blog articles:

Quirks and Comrads ECCC 2017

Girls on Games

The Geektastic Art of Comic Con

Casted by Izzy Clarke

QuirkBooks

Women and Girls Can Sport Too!

The hate is strong with some guys when it comes to accepting women and girls can learn stats, share sound opinions about plays and players, or even play like the best of them. In my middle school years, I was captain and/or all star of many sports teams which led me to encounter many situations where guys didn’t think my sports acumen and talent was genuine. Surely someone out there had programmed me to behave, talk shop and perform as a top athlete. Maybe, they thought, I had gotten into sports because I was trying to impress my dad or some crush. After I got married they assumed I had learned everything I knew from my husband. The misconceptions are unfounded and only valid in social gender role context. Why would any female want to sport?

In the 1980s, President Reagan started a fitness initiative for kids to stay active in school and enjoy physical education. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the face of the effort and soon many posters and cut outs if the Terminator appeared throughout my school. I was already fascinated by the discipline and team work good sportsmanship promoted and it didn’t take me long to qualify and win one of those coveted Presidential Fitness Awards. (I got the red patch because I couldn’t do one pull up. I was 8 at the time and super skinny and weak. Lol) My patch is sown to one of my volleyball shorts from 4th grade team practices. It is one of my most prized possessions.

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From then on my love of sports grew as I added basketball (the Jordan years and centennial), bowling, archery, ping pong, karate, baseball and track and field to my Letterman jacket. Okay so we got the letters and not the jacket because of budget cuts but you get the picture. My dad followed NASCAR and as a prospective engineer at 12 years old, I added Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt and the greats in racing and F1 to my trivia stash, and soon the NFL NFC teams followed. I watched every Olympics from 1988 and on, falling in love with figure skating and gymnastics. Eventually, I added soccer and the World Cup to my list of interests. To this day, I know more about sports than most of my male friends. Who knew?

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Melissa Mayeux (Copyright MLB)

Rumor has it the MLB may introduce more female players to their amateur and professional leagues to encourage a co-ed environment. Last year, Melissa Mayeux from France was added to their rosters as an attempt to start the process. My thought is that if a 5 ft 3 inch shortstop can be effective so could a 16 year old female version. Imagine the possibilities! I used to play this position and second base a lot with lots of compliments to my throw and reflexes. I never thought men would oppose so much the idea of women being able to compete at their level. Our bodies are machines and share the same mechanisms and capabilities for strength and endurance. Women can tolerate pain a bit more so they can also train harder. Looking muscular and lean is sexy, regardless of the “she must look like Barbie” social norm. I can hit like a girl, hard and with effect, and some men envy that because I can kick their butts easily.

When you meet a girl that can sport please please please do not even assume she is who she is because she was trying to please a man. No. Don’t. Rather ask her what got her interested in the game, in the challenge and in the experience of playing for a sports team. You will be surprised at the amount of women who naturally migrated to sports because they had talent, grace and a penchant for competition. Many have benefited from scholarships to play for NCAA teams that resulted in both a degree and maybe a dab into the professional circles. Sadly, there are not a lot of leagues for women that are taken seriously but we should. The next Lisa Leslie of the WNBA could be your daughter! Heck, even Reggie Miller claims his sister Cheryl can defeat him one on one. That’s not only impressive but worth celebrating and acknowledging.

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Becky Hammon, Tim Duncan and The Admiral. Copyright NBA All Star Game

Help women Lean In and enjoy their participation in sports as coaches, players and contributors. Get educated on the who is who of women in sports and open your mind to accept the next generation of head and assistant coaches coming up through the ranks. The Spurs nation did and assistant coach Becky Hammon has become an integral part of their winning culture and strategy, impressing coach Popovich so much he makes sure she feels like the value added staff member she is. We can’t break through the sports glass ceiling without the support of men and women alike. It is our time to rise and prove we deserve a spot at the opinion and legends table. If not for us for our sons and daughters, nephews and nieces. It’s about time!

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