Fagan presents a historical perspective of women’s hoops

Fagan takes us on a Hoops Muses journey through the history of womens basketball
Fagan takes us on a Hoops Muses journey through the history of womens basketball
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Author and ESPN “Around The Horn” veteran Kate Fagan takes Nestor on a women’s basketball journey of history and the inspiration for her new book, “Hoop Muses.”


book, als, game, maryland, stories, women, people, baltimore, basketball, playing, fagan, iowa, lamar, years, 80s, history, girls basketball, young ladies, author, ravens


Kate Fagan, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

What about wn st Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive you’re positively taking the Maryland crab cake toward back out on the road delicious crab cakes might be some oysters involved here in April be a Costas we’re also gonna be doing fade Lee’s giving away these Maryland scratch offs the instant lottery throwback 50th anniversaries and our friends of course when donation 866 90 nation you buy two you get two free two years 0% financing keeping the bugs out this time of year. It’s Lamar Lamar Lamar and Maura Lamar and opening day and of course March Madness in the Terps. And I always love having authors on when I get cool books and different stories where I don’t have to talk about Lamar Jackson 24 hours a day. Kay Fagan has written a book, you know her from the worldwide leader in around the world, muses an insider’s guide to pop culture and the women’s game. Everybody writes books about the men’s game. So when I had a chance to have Kate on for the first time, and her great headset, welcome, man, how are you? I’ve seen you on my television from time to time. Every time I see Fagan. I was actually the Artful Dodger in Oliver in 1981. I have some grainy videotape of me singing, it’s wild. And I think Fagan was the you know, the lead character. So how are you?

Kate Fagan  01:14

I’m great. Thank you so much for having me and talking about this labor of love here. So I appreciate it.

Nestor Aparicio  01:20

You know what, every time I have an author on and I am one, I’ve written a couple of books, my two primaries were on the Ravens first championship and the Ravens second championship. So I understand the labor of love, and oh my god, I’m gonna write a book and I’ve got an index and I got some stories, and I want to tell them, and even if you have a publisher, and you’re well compensated for the work of doing it, yours is a I can tell by the pictures in it, that it’s made for a whole bunch of different kinds of people. But more than anything, when I think of the women’s game in the history that’s getting longer now. And especially with Maryland, having great success here and I’m cut the nets down, that there’s an entryway for every young lady, every young person or even an old guy to say, hey, I want an entryway into the women’s game. The history is part of like having fun with it. And I think putting something like this together where you are. This must have helped you go back into the wayback machine a little bit up.

Kate Fagan  02:08

Oh yeah, I went into the Wayback Machine. Speaking of entry points, we do have Christie tall covers a game winning shot in the 2006 NCAA title game. I’m sure your Maryland fans remember this moment when y’all beat Duke for that NCAA title is one of the 10 of all time grish shots of all time in the book. But yeah, going into the Wayback Machine. I mean, I played college hoops, and you know, been at ESPN. So I’ve been around the game my whole life. And I thought I knew the history of women’s basketball. But once you dig into it, you know you there’s some really incredible stories from like, 1896, to the 1904 to the 1930 stories that if they had happened on the men’s side of the game, we would have had HBO scripted shows about them, we would have they’d be famous stories. But of course, they’d been buried by history. So it’s really fun to go back in time and learn even more about a game that I love. All of those stories.

Nestor Aparicio  03:05

There’s a Hoosier somewhere in a gym in the 50s involving women. We just heard they said make a movie about it, you know. And listen, I went to high school in the 80s and the women’s game in and around and I was a high school sports writer, prep writer at the Baltimore Sun back in the 80s breezy Bishop was your western sending kids down to to Pat Summitt, you know, a lot of these ladies, I’d say young ladies like Danny, Danny Johnson, not young my age, but I mean, the there was a pipeline out of Baltimore, not just for Mugsy Bogues, and for Ross and for what John Thompson was doing a Georgetown went left, he was trying to do make us to UCLA and the East. But but the women’s game is rich with that. And certainly fertile here, I think, in Baltimore, and in Maryland, and in Connecticut, and in Tennessee, and at Louisiana Tech, and an Old Dominion and all these places where there was a reputation. And before I don’t even before George Senator came along in the 80s.

Kate Fagan  04:00

That’s right. Yeah. I mean, of course, you know about a lot of these modern stories, right? You’re mentioning I mean, somebody that I always had at camps, when I was playing Brenda Frese at Maryland, and all those folks that you just named, like, the old dominions. I mean, those were for anybody who’s casually paying attention to women’s basketball. Those are stories that you usually absorb. But like one that I hadn’t even heard of was in 1925, Iowa, the powers that be in Iowa tried to cancel their girls basketball state basketball tournament, it was just there was a blowback happening about like team sports for women, and I tried to cancel it. And this one man, John and stood up and he was like, gentlemen, you are wrong. And you will be on the track when the train runs you over because I know that people love this game. And so he saved women girls basketball in Iowa and kept the state tournament going and there’d be six 7000 People at the state tournament, the 1930s like stuff you hadn’t heard of, which directly ties to win I watched Caitlin Clark at Iowa like the Phenom playing in Iowa today. I in the arena sold out. I always kind of think back on the history of that moment almost 100 years ago that led to Iowa even the state of Iowa, like you mentioned Louisiana and Tennessee and Maryland and UConn. Even the state of Iowa has rich stories that we’ve never heard.

Nestor Aparicio  05:20

Okay, Fagin is our guest. The book is a hoot muses you can find anywhere good books are sold, you can obviously find her out on the Twitter thing and with ALS, and I want to get to that before we disappear as well make sure we do a good turn here. But you know, haven’t you want to think and I don’t know enough about women’s basketball to have. You have you know, and I don’t know enough about men’s basketball. I’ve been joking all week that I always lost my pool because I would refuse to take Duke on my pool, my Maryland guy, you know, like, so like, I’m not ever so I was lost at the pool I never collected so. But I was thinking about this just in the context what we’re talking about. You mentioned history in the 19, late 80s, I covered a girl’s basketball, high school basketball. And I got to know Dave Greenberg over Mount, Mount Hebron, and my late great friend Bobby, Nick at Wilde Lake, and they were sending young ladies to Richmond to play and they were getting into tournaments, and they were getting scholarships. And again, all these people are 4550 years old now a little younger than I. But then I really thought about the history. There’s a game your i n d and mercy I’ve been playing each other for 50, there was 25 years then used to play it at the Towson center. You know, not hundreds 1000s But not 10,000. But 2500 People would come out to this game every year. And that was in the 80s these rivalries that have existed in girls basketball, and to find stories that you don’t know, I think you say labor love. What do you put out the beam to everybody, you know, and say, Tell me the coolest story? I don’t know. And I’ll put it in my book. Because that’s kind of fun. Yeah,

Kate Fagan  06:50

I wish that was the way I’d done it right. I’m not sure that any of my friends would have known some of these stories because they just, you maybe could find one historian who cared about it and wrote something about it, but they just weren’t widely disseminated. But like you said, like the the storylines that have driven some of the modern understanding of the game, whether it’s locally in Maryland, or or more of our national understanding, like the PAT SUMMITT versus Geo, Gino Arema, kind of feuds, that stuff actually was also existing Long, long ago in the history. I mean, you’ve got, it turns out that the first college basketball game on the West Coast men, men or women was played by Stanford and cat. And this was 1896. So you’re talking about like, almost immediately after the game was invented, women are loving this game, because it’s not football, there’s like there are rules structures in place that you can make it so that women are allowed to play because before then all they were doing was calisthenics, you had some women playing tennis, but otherwise, basketball was the first game played in a gym with certain rules that you could have where you could limit physical interaction. And so women were loving this game. Actually, in the on the West Coast, even before men were playing it inter collegiately. But it very quickly got shut down because it was seen as unseemly, you know, and not something that women should be doing physically there thought there would be bad ramifications. But that’s all to say that a lot of the storylines and steaks that we love that have been grown over time, on the men’s side, we’ve got a shorter life that we know them on the women’s side. But you know, the effort in this book with like joy and vibrancy is to sort of reintroduce some of these stories and build back some of that mythology and history that has been lost on the women’s side.

Nestor Aparicio  08:31

How do you know when you’re done,

Kate Fagan  08:34

you don’t have a publication deadline. And you just got to send it off at some point. You know,

Nestor Aparicio  08:40

it’s done when they say it’s done. Right. They thank you this year, I hope nobody goes out, checks out the book, you know, we haven’t done a lot of your on, on women’s basketball for you and taking this topic on and where you are, and you speak to sports in so many different ways. Give me the seed of the idea in taking this on. And saying this is gonna be a different kind of book because it really is a different kind of book. It’s not just the way it’s it, I think it was meant to be unique in that way.

Kate Fagan  09:08

It’s supposed to be a work of art, it’s supposed to be something you keep on your coffee table of all ages. It’s not something you’re supposed to read, cover to cover, you know, it’s just to pick it up, maybe pop into a chapter or a graphic or an illustration and absorb it and then go about your day. And the seed of it was that, you know, I had long loved women’s sports. But I spent a lot of years at ESPN trying to like tell people to care, you know, like at the end of around the horn be like beating the drum for something. And you realize that that doesn’t work very well is telling people to care about something. And so I decided instead to like pour my heart into this book to reflect the experience I had had in women’s sports and covering it like, instead of being bitter and angry at its place in society show the joy and love and vibrancy and humor and fun that exists in the game and In the ways it collides with pop culture. And so I hope when people see this book, either they do right now or if they see it on a shelf, it’s supposed to be joyful, and fun and eye popping, because I think when you write a book about women’s basketball history, most people think, Oh, that’s not for me. But this is supposed to be for everybody. Because people love good art. And they love good ideas. And they, you know, comic book art and movie posters. And that’s what this book is filled with, in an attempt to get you to see the kind of beauty and love inside of this game.

Nestor Aparicio  10:31

Anytime I have an author on I always try to talk about people buying books and the importance of books. I was a sports writer at the newspaper in the 80s, and importance of newspapers and the journalism and all the things that we do to hold power accountable at the top level of journalism. But writing a book I wrote the Ravens book in 2013, they won the championship, Joe Flacco great story had inside access big book, tried to sell it to fans than in Ocean City, Maryland at a 10,000 people were there, they’re all all the basements are purple. Everyone’s got purple beer, purple beards, purple everything. And they took a look at the book and they’re like, at booking got new pictures. And, and I was like, Whoa, and then Trump got elected. Here we are. I worry for authors, I worry for every Barnes and Noble. And for publishers. I know, we’ve been like, on the sides of caves, we were like, you know, leaving things behind. But books as they are and the portability of them. I like a book and I like physically holding this up, as opposed to holding the PDF or whatever it is. But for you to write, you’re a real author, and I know you want to write more of these things, and other people do too. It’s important for people to read.

Kate Fagan  11:43

Yeah, well, it’s, you know, selling a book, you know, selling a book is hard. There’s a few authors who just excel, whether it’s Stephen King, or JK Rowling or you know, name, there’s like a handful where

Nestor Aparicio  11:53

Patterson and Lubicon, a couple of weeks ago, you go

Kate Fagan  11:56

like those things just fly off the shelves. But for the 99.9% of books underneath those had a big name authors like it’s a hustle, just like you talked about talking about Lamar Jackson at the outset. Like, sports fans can name six topics that we spend 99% of our time with in the media, whether it’s LeBron James or, you know, Lamar Jackson, or whatever it is where we beat that thing to death. And there’s a lot of really rich, beautiful things underneath those sort of the Star Power Stories. And, you know, so this book is one where like, you know, if you pick it up, and you happen to love it, like the only way that this book is going to spread is through word of mouth. And if you think it’s beautiful, and you think valuable, then you share that with your friends or family members. I mean, that’s the way books sell if they don’t have that kind of high end starpower at the outset. And certainly what about the history of women’s basketball, even if it’s illustrated is one of those words gonna have to be like word of mouth for people to say they love it.

Nestor Aparicio  12:59

So if you want to book that’s, I didn’t know that about women’s basketball. This will be the book who uses Kate Fagan is our guest. All right. You want to say anything about Lamar? Are you gonna be Lamar free? I’m happy. I you know, I’m in Baltimore. You know, why was Lamar it out in November?

Kate Fagan  13:13

Yeah, no, I’m gonna mark it out. And frankly, I’m not sure I know the latest update. You don’t need to tell me. I’m good without it. So I feel like I might, I might flub it. Yeah. I don’t know what’s been happening in the last couple

Nestor Aparicio  13:23

of days. Talk about in the next segment, I’m sure. All right.

Kate Fagan  13:26

I’ll stay tuned and I’ll and I’ll get updated. Last thing

Nestor Aparicio  13:30

for you. I saw your als advocacy. And you know, I do a lot of things. My wife was diagnosed with leukemia 10 years ago, and I was nasty Nestor doing sports radio last 10 years, we do a lot more serious issues, obviously, our crabcake tour and the charity stuff that we try to do. But ALS is a thing. I think 3040 years ago, oh, I remember the famous guy. Now everybody knows someone. And it’s, I think it’s touched so many people. And I appreciate your advocacy, and just want to give you a platform to talk about what you do as an ALS advocate.

Kate Fagan  13:57

Yeah, so my dad died of ALS a few years ago, and he had been a professional basketball player and it tends to hit ex military and athletes at a at a higher rate for reasons right now that that remain a mystery to doctors and scientists. But it really when you say like awareness about ALS, I do still think that’s important, because I still think there was a study done by IMLS that showed that a majority of people when you talk to them about ALS, they don’t know some key details about it like that. It’s 100% fatal. You know, it’s kind of a lumped in with MS and other diseases, which of course, we also need to talk about, but just understanding what ALS is and the devastation that it wreaks, I think is a really good starting point for people because I think if you knew that this disease existed, and you truly understood what it did, shutting down muscles, slowly all the way into you know, like that your eyelids eventually, people would not want a world where that kind of devastating disease was was a possibility. So I try to talk about it as well. just I can’t do work to raise money because it’s it’s not a it’s not an incurable disease. It’s just an underfunded one in terms of finding some level of treatment where they’re really still is no treatment that really does anything and may slow slightly, but nothing that really really impacts the progress of of this disease. So it’s just something that’s close to my heart because I was dad, my dad taught me the game of basketball. So we certainly shared a bond.

Nestor Aparicio  15:25

Man, I drove into boulder once I never wanted to leave, I tell Chad Brown that every time I have a show, you don’t want to leave boulder when you go there, but had you went up in Philadelphia coverage? I mean, I don’t know. Listen, I appreciate you coming on and for my heart with the ALS thing Oh, Jay Brigantes. As someone who walked into my studio as a young man playing for the Baltimore stallions in the 1990s, and then became a Ravens champion and became a Ravens employee, there’s a whole chapter in Purple Rain to about him and the work that he does in the Brigantes brigade, which we have on all the time. So I’ll start to get Misty, it’ll get it you know, the dust will be rolling in here. So I appreciate you good luck with the book. Please come back and visit again the next time you write because we need more old sports writers to write books and stuff. Okay, well, thanks.

Kate Fagan  16:12

Thanks for having me.

Nestor Aparicio  16:14

Thanks for being here. Cape COVID que Fagan joining us here follow her journey out on Twitter and add on the worldwide leader and everywhere they go who amuses is the book. You could find it anywhere good books are sold. You could find me out peddling Maryland lottery free giveaways and the instant lottery scratch offs in the 50th anniversary as well as our friend to win donation. We’re going to be Costas we’re going to be fade these in early April. Don’t forget March Madness a bounce play responsibly. I am Nestor. We are wn st am 1570, Towson, Baltimore. All things Lamar coming up next. Stay with us for Baltimore positive

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