As the month of August concludes and much of America prepares for football season and rooting for their favorite NFL and college teams, it is important to note that August quietly was a month of significant sports moments for female sports accomplishments. Shortly before the month started, the truly historic announcement and election of Washington, D.C., attorney Michele Roberts, who was voted in as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, making her the first woman to head up a major North American sports union. Roberts' election makes her one of the most powerful people in sports, a fact that cannot be overstated in an industry that continues to be male dominated. But there was history made both in terms of athletics on the field and off the field in terms of hiring practices in favor of women in the professional sports workplace in the month of August.
The Little League World Series has concluded this year as the team from South Korea defeated the team from Jackie Robinson West LL in Chicago, Illinois, 8-4 in the title game. There remains some controversy about whether Little League World Series baseball tournament games should be nationally televised due the age of the participants, most of whom aren't even 14 years old. However, it was difficult to ignore the national attention Mo'ne Davis received after becoming the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series. The Philadelphia native destroyed old stereotypes about female athletes' ability to throw and compete with young male athletes while perhaps making an impact that will be measured for years to come.
Davis was not the only teenage female athlete setting records this month. 17 year old American swimmer Katie Ledecky improved her own world record in the 400 freestyle this past weekend. The high school senior broke her world record of 3:58.86 set at the U.S. Championships on August 9. She has established herself as a future star to watch for in upcoming Summer Olympics.
While the accomplishments of young female athletes like Davis and Ledecky give female athletes goals to strive for, it was women in the NBA who completely destroyed the notion that women could not succeed in a male professional sports league on an executive level. On August 5th, the San Antonio Spurs hired former WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach. She is the second woman to work on an NBA coaching staff, but the first to be a full-time employee. It is significant that the current NBA champion Spurs would make this decision but not surprising given they are considered the top organization in the NBA in terms of unique and progressive basketball decisions. Hammon was named one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All-Time and is known for her leadership and basketball IQ which will aid her in coaching male athletes. August was truly special for female sports accomplishments and showed a small amount of the diversity of abilities and impacts that women can have in sports at all levels.