reccomended

GAME CHANGERS

the unsung heroines of sports history.

I started an Instagram account called @theunsungheroines and shared a women’s story daily. Stories about women disqualified from tennis tournaments because of the color of their skin. Women who changed their physical appearances to pass as men so they could stand up to bat and hit balls into the outfield. The first black woman to win a gold medal who returned home and was congratulated publicly by the white mayor, but would not shake her hand, because “That’s just the way it was at that time.” I don’t think I quite understood the absence of women’s stories when I was a kid. It’s not until I started this project that I, someone that labels themselves a proud feminist came to the uncomfortable realization that women’s stories have always been there: they just were not getting the same sort of soap box as the guys . I encourage ANYONE to send along stories about women that did what they loved to do, play the game.
— Molly Schiot

As you may well have worked out I LOVE a good movement story, so I heartily recommend heading over to this project from Molly Schiot .  Have a good look through the stories and wonderful pictures on her Instagram page @theunsungheroines and if you have a story of your own to share submit it through her website www.theunsungheroines.com It's a beautiful thing to contribute to our collective history through the art of story telling.

Image of Althea Gibson; the first African-American to play at, and win, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Image of Althea Gibson; the first African-American to play at, and win, Wimbledon and the US Open.

short story

On a family trip to Ireland I fell in love with Irish Dance.
On my return home my mum found a local class for me to attend.
I was besotted for years.
It's still my favorite kind of folk dance, especially the tap.
Dancing those rhythms is like laying your heart beat on the floor.

Survey

Submitted by Joanna Cook, 55, Female.

……………………………………………………………………..

part I  - I am

……………………………………………………………………..

What do you do for paid and/or unpaid work? I'm a teacher.

What do you do in your spare time, do you have any hobbies?: Buddhisting, familying, a bit of walking, swimming, gardening, guitaring , singing...

What do you like to do for fun? Everything.

What is your cultural background? Parents, socialist, village, 70's

……………………………………………………………………..

part 2  - my movements

……………………………………………………………………..

What does the word 'movement' mean to you and do you consider yourself a 'mover'? Um, yes,  in some context but I'm not a mover and a shaker... I used to be a lot faster than I am now!

Did your Parents/Grandparents/Carers teach you about exercise, care for your body, posture, ways of moving? If yes what lessons do you remember? Nothing specific, I just picked things up, I was quite physical, I liked climbing, jumping, exploring, swimming and I could be reactive or responsive rather than considered.

What is your earliest memory of moving? With support, being lifted onto a sink, independently connected to bed, turning round then sitting up.

Many people say they want to feel 'confident' and 'comfortable' or that they admire people who look 'confident' and 'comfortable in their own skin'. What do these words really mean to you and can you describe them as a way of moving? How I feel about who i am, my genes, where I come from, my cultural heritage and my constructed self. Am I embarrassed or am I comfortable with who I am. It's an interesting phrase because it's all changeable, if we feel safe within it all yes we will be comfortable. But if we are challenged because of who we are or feel pressure to change because of external pressure then we will be uncomfortable, if we seek to change something about ourselves because of internal factors, then that can be liberating and doesn't stop us feeling comfortable in our own skin. Words are often subjective and judgmental in any case.

Do you have a movement philosophy, what is it? Get on with it.........safely.....that's what i tell myself in any case

Is there a moment in your life where something 'clicked' about the way to approach a movement skill in any given discipline? What was it? Why did it happen then do you think? I think when I've learned to use tools, change chords and improve my handwriting.

……………………………………………………………………..

part 3  - my body

……………………………………………………………………..

What does 'self-care' mean to you? Being careful with your life.

Which phrases do you use often to describe your body? Where do you feel or locate these words on your body? At the moment I say I'm fat.

Do you think you have something 'characteristic' about the way you move? If yes please describe. Yes, sometimes it's a family thing we pick up unknowingly, like leaning to the left or right, the way we walk. Sometimes we want to emulate something or someone so we take on movement like mimicking accent (it can be intentional or unintentional) in any case it is there to communicate something about who we are or how we want to be perceived and it can become an authentic characteristic of who we are.

What are some of the things you like about the way you move?: being able to

What do you find yourself sitting on most often and how do you like to sit?: On chairs, with my legs up, crossed or kneeling.

How often do you sit on the floor? Can you describe how your body feels when you sit on the floor?: It used to be every day at least twice a day while I was chanting, it felt grounding. Now I sit in chairs more, just because my knees are creakier.

What kind of surfaces does the skin on your feet and hands come into contact with through an average day? Socks

What is the most transformative conversation you have had with someone about your body?: Someone once told me I had a long neck (I wondered what my neck was being compared to)

What sort of 'daily rituals' do you preform?: Chanting, washing, eating

……………………………………………………………………..

Part 4  - me and the world...

……………………………………………………………………..

With whom do you move most? I am encouraged to move by children and young people, generally they are the best.

What are some of the things you admire about the way other people move? I like purposefulness, gracefulness, humour, I love watching dancing in real life... not on the telly.... I remember the first time I saw breakdancing when I was about 14 /15, I was amazed!

What do you consider really beautiful about your movement habits? And is there someone in your life you really admire for the beauty of their way of moving? Who and why? I tend not to get into how people move as a point of admiration...... though I do appreciate it

What are some movement principles or rules that you follow? Where did you get these from? Don't slouch, sit up straight...I have no idea where I got them from.

Is there an exercise trend you refuse to participate in? If so what and why? I wouldn't sit on a machine moving but not getting anywhere without fresh air.

What is your favorite song or type of music to dance to? Reggae and soul...and Everything I Own by Ken Boothe

What surface do you walk on most? Concrete

How much time, on average, would you say you spend looking at 'screens' during the day?  2-3 hours

Describe the last horizon you saw.: The sun going down behind trees, driving on the A19 last night

What material do you like most against your skin? Are there materials you won't wear? Cotton

How much of your day do you spend barefoot and what was the last surface you felt with your bare feet? Just in the morning and the kitchen tiles

Do you see any connection between movement practices and religion? If so what and why? No, although I would say that movement is part of spiritual and cultural expression

Send me a photo of your mother or father before they had you and tell me what you see. Here they are on their wedding day, two happy young people. Joy.

short story

My bike is sitting in the shed at the moment, it has a flat tire, slack breaks, and last week I noticed some small rust spots on the frame. I know how to fix a puncture, but over the last few months I’ve struggled to find the time. I’ve moved house and my boxed up belongings have been shifted from place to place. My bike tools have across London; following the path of a relationship breakdown, thesis submission, new job, new relationship, new home. They now sit in the front cabin, in one of my dad’s Carrimor front panniers that he gave me three years ago because they would fit the back of my small folding bike.
 

My first bike was a Rayleigh Apple, it was bright red with a white plastic box on the back. I loved it. I remember the stabilisers that were uneven and so never touched the ground at the same time. I remember my dad holding the back of the seat when they were taken off and the feeling of being pushed along slightly faster than felt safe, never quite sure that I wasn’t going to fall off. One day he must have let go and that’s how I learnt to ride a bike.

My dad cycled everywhere when we were younger. Every trip we made as a family, every visit to my grandma’s or holiday to Wales, my mum would drive one of our ever changing cars, me and two sisters in the back, and my dad would follow on his bike with loaded panniers. He’d often arrive a few hours or days later as he took detours, met up with friends and settled down in picturesque camping spots for the night. The inside of the kitchen door always had several pieces of graph paper cello-taped to them and he would plot out the miles he’d cycled each day in neat pencil markings. ‘I’ve bin ’ere on me bike’ is his enduring catchphrase. One of the strongest memories of my childhood is one that shifts across time and place - my dad working on a bike in the kitchen, utility room or driveway of one of the various houses we lived in. Although the setting slightly altered each time, the scene is the same: a bike, upside down with its various parts removed, towels and tools spread across the floor, my dad knelt down absorbed in his task of maintaining one of his bikes – the Claud Butler or the Mercian were our favourites. I can remember the smell and sound of him cleaning his hands with washing up liquid and no water - a potent mix of oil, grease and fairy liquid.

I sometimes think that if I’d been a boy I’d have been down there with him, sorting through the tools, learning how everything works, fixing up the bike, rather than walking past, stepping over the parts scattered all over the floor and trying not to trip. If I’d asked to learn, my dad wouldn’t have said no, but I think, if I were a boy, I would have just been there. I feel like I know so much, yet so little about bikes. My dad’s bikes were everywhere when I was younger; they still fill the house now. My own bikes were usually his old ones – my Claud Butler was stolen when I was in Cardiff because I’d forgotten that I’d cycled into town and so left it there overnight. Another is still in the bike shed at the flat I used to share with my ex-partner, both wheels missing because he’d not locked it up properly. And my Dahon, sitting in the bike shed at my new home, with its flat tire.  I’ve never quite managed to maintain a bike.

One of my favourite photographs of me and my dad is us both on our bikes, alongside his friend Chris, before they set off on a big ride. I’m in-between the two cyclists, sitting on my older sister’s blue Rayleigh Princess and smiling proudly. When I look at this photograph I imagine that my dad and Chris are about to set off for Lands’ End - John O’ Groats. This isn’t the case, I’m too young and we’re outside my first home, in the midlands. But I think the pride in the little girl’s face echoes the pride I feel that my dad made that journey a few years later, and so that is what the photograph has become. Cycling is part of who my dad is. It’s always been a connection point between us. Maybe that’s why it’s hard to admit that I’m a fair-weather cyclist who can’t find the time to fix a puncture.

Untitled.jpg

Words by Carly Guest, Image belongs to the Author.