Athletics, Films, Photos Abound at espnW During Summer of W

espnW is running the Nine for IX film series Tuesdays at 8 p.m., starting July 2. (Photo espnW)

I always hope to interest more geek moms and kids in sports and fitness, and at espnW the focus is on women in sports– both female athletes and amateurs at all levels.

This summer, a daily photo challenge and a film series on trailblazers in women’s sports are both worthy of notice. And the improvements and new programs offered this summer at the redesigned, mobile-friendly espnW website also should be checked out.

Nicely scaled to fit into our summer lives,  the 98 Days to Shine photo challenge started on Memorial Day and runs to Labor Day. Each new day means a new photo theme posted at the challenge web page. Competitors post an appropriately tagged photo illustrating the day’s theme to Instagram or Twitter. EspnW aggregates the photos on their page and declares daily winners. It’s fun to see all the day’s photos gathered in one big bunch to contrast different interpretations of a single theme.

Daily, weekly, and grand prize winners will be determined; if your pulse is now accelerating, be sure to read the rules on the challenge page to get all the details.

On television, EspnW debuts the Nine for IX film series featuring women in sports and created by women filmmakers this summer. The series airs on Tuesday evenings starting July 2 at 8 p.m. on ESPN, with tennis powerhouse Venus Williams in Venus Vs. She leaves her mark not only with her killer strokes but also by leading the charge to win equal prize money for female tennis players. Other documentary subjects include issues faced by female sports reporters, the 1999 U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, and pioneering basketball coach Pat Summitt.

The dates, titles and directors for the entire Nine for IX series are:

• July 2: Venus Vs. (Ava DuVernay)
• July 9: Pat XO (Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters; produced by Robin Roberts)
• July 16: Let Them Wear Towels (Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern)
• July 23: No Limits (Alison Ellwood)
• July 30: Swoopes (Hannah Storm)
• Aug. 6: The Diplomat (Jennifer Arnold and Senain Kheshgi)
• Aug. 13: Runner (Shola Lynch)
• Aug. 20: The ’99ers (Erin Leyden; produced by Julie Foudy)
• Aug. 27: Branded (Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady)

Another film, available now at espnW, is Coach. It is about C. Vivian Stringer, a respected and impressive college basketball coach who experienced personal and social challenges. This  short film was executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg and honored as Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival. It shows Stringer, her family, and her championship teams handling all that is thrown at them. I bet that you’ll be fired up after you watch Coach and her players.

EspnW is calling this the Summer of W–Enjoy every bit of the alphabet they are bringing our way!

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Kay works with engineers, scientists, and programmers as a writer and editor, which she prefers over working with muggles. When sufficiently caffeinated, she geeks out over words, communication, biology, needlework, and recreational sports. And, of course, chocolate. Her children _may_ have been exposed to D&D at a too-young age, but they continue to play happily to this day.