By Kyla Bender-Baird
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against sports. It’s just that I grew up in a family where the dinner conversation was more apt to involve a debate about the difference between jazz and blues music than a rundown of the latest Knicks or Lakers game. I am the person at the bar who always has to double-check what sport people are talking about when team names are being thrown around. And although I’m happy to join in the conversation, I may have to ask you first what an inning is before I can tell you what inning we are on.
That said, going to a WNBA game last week to watch the New York Liberty face off against the San Antonio Silver Stars was one of my favorite moments this summer. Each year the WNBA presents Inspiring Women awards to those who are leading efforts to empower women and inspire girls. This year, NCRW President Linda Basch was one of the inspiring women recognized during halftime. It was nice to take a break from working for gender equality and travel with my colleagues to the legendary Madison Square Garden. Not only had I never been to a professional sports game, I had never stepped foot inside this venue. The night gave us all an opportunity to come together as a team, meet each other’s families, and celebrate the work we do together.
As a gender theory geek, my favorite moment was when my colleague leaned down and said, “Guess what our colleague’s daughter just said? It looks like there are some boys playing on the court.” I laughed as I realized this five-year-old thought the female players with hot butch haircuts were boys. Ah, early gender attribution at work…
When Linda walked onto the court during halftime, we stood and cheered (even though the announcer asked us to hold our applause until the end. What can you do? NCRW likes to push the envelope). It was a proud moment to see our President down there with so many other women whose work also inspires me, such as Glennda Testone of the LGBT Center of NY  and Heather Kristin of Girls Write Now . There are so many women out there dedicating their lives to making the world better. It’s wonderful to work side-by-side with so many of them each and every day. If it takes a WNBA game to remind me that the work we do is really making a difference, who am I to complain?