Cover image for Whatever it takes : women on women's sport
Whatever it takes : women on women's sport
Sandoz, Joli, 1952-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 323 pages ; 21 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library GV709 .W52 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From Elizabeth Cady Stanton on bicycling to Anna Seaton huntington on rowing, the first anthology of women's personal essays on sports.

With edge, passion, and depth, Whatever It Takes demonstrates the enormous importance of sports for girls and women. These essays deal with everything from finding a mentor -whether it's an Olympic gold winner or a neighborhood coach-to reveling in female team spirit. There are historical selections, as well as discussions of such developments as Title IX. The contributors, including world-class athletes and celebrated writers from Mariah Burton Nelson and Grace Butcher to Diane Ackerman and Maxine Kumin, tackle traditional favorites suchas basketball and softball as well as more exotic sports from boxing and motorcycle racing to rock climbing.

Both timely and riveting, Whatever It Takes will appeal to the rapidly growing ranks of female athletes and to their enthusiastic followers.

Author Notes

Joli Sandoz edited A Whole Other Ball Game (FSG, 1997) and teaches at Evergreen State College. She has played, coached, and written about sports since her first plunge off the starting blocks in 1961.

Joby Winans was a varsity collegiate athlete who now competes in road races and masters track and field. She works as a training and organizational development professional in Tacoma, Washington.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This impressive "gathering of women's personal writings focusing on participation in competitive sports" brings together memoirs, essays, and a few poems. The authors range from relative unknowns to Pulitzer winners, and the topics are equally diverse--from the amateur boxer who says she wandered into the sport while looking for "something to get me out of the house" to Annie Dillard, who recalls "walking that famously lonely walk out to the mound, our graveled driveway" to hurl baseballs against the garage wall. All of the contributors write passionately about their sports, whether it's a chubby 45-year-old psychologist who gets a kick out of ice skating or a woman who equates motorcycle riding with youthfulness. For browsing or reading straight through, this collection speaks to anyone who harbors a competitive spirit. Sue-Ellen Beauregard

Library Journal Review

A companion to A Whole Other Ball Game, in which Sandoz collected women's short fiction on women's sports, this book collects women's essays (and some poetry) on the same subject. The authors of the 56 pieces include Diane Ackerman, Annie Dillard, Grace Butcher, Mariah Burton Nelson, Maxine Kumin, and Jewelle Gomez. Although the book covers the expected wide range of athletics, the writing is so superb that it does not feel as if the pieces were selected just to be representative. Standout essays include Teresa Leo's self-deprecating "Seconds," about her high-school decision to leave her dead-end Pennsylvania mining town, and Megan McNamer's "Longing and Bliss," about the importance of basketball in her life despite its being a boys-only sport in her youth. The few short historical pieces included seem pale by comparison. More suited to public libraries, this book could also be added to women's studies collections in academic libraries. Highly recommended.√ĄKathryn Ruffle, Coll. of New Caledonia Lib., Prince George, BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This anthology of 56 essays and poems covers sports from baseball to yachting and includes selections by the classic Frances E. Willard on bicycling to the sometimes controversial Mariah Burton Nelson on swimming against her mother. The introduction contains an insightful commentary by editors Sandoz (Evergreen State College, Washington) and Winans (both master athletes) on women's struggles to overcome being overlooked or labeled in sport. The majority of the pieces were written in the 1980s and 1990s in response to a call for manuscripts and are light and easy to read. The more formal earlier ones (horseback riding in 1854, gymnastics in 1899, basketball in 1909, and football in 1925) are perhaps most illustrative of the theme of the book: the "disturbance of social order" caused by women competing in sport. Several entries have a strong overt or covert lesbian theme, and most are written from an intensely personal perspective. These women demand to be noticed and are unambiguous and unapologetic about athletic participation. In short, they are prepared to do "whatever it takes" to get beyond what larger society may deem to be "ladylike." Recommended for general readers and practitioners. S. H. M. Reekie; San Jose State University

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