Edit Letter & TOC: Driven to Make Our Own Spaces

As always with our themes, there were multiple approaches to take with this issue’s topic. When we originally envisioned this theme at our annual staff retreat in September, the idea was to write about the state’s professional women athletes. The stories that emerged as we began to pull ideas together for this issue, however, paint a picture of the ways that women are incorporating movement, fitness, and team camaraderie into their day-to-day lives.

  • Marla Khan-Schwartz, for example, was diagnosed with breast cancer at She found fellow survivors who train and compete together in dragon boat racing.
  • Carla McClellan is a newly retired firefighter who shares what she did over the course of her career to stay physically and mentally sharp.
  • We glimpse the inside of a women’s sports bar — the third in the country and the first in the Midwest.
  • We learn how physical activity inspires the imaginative working life of prolific Minnesota author Kate DiCamillo.
  • Emily Ford shares thoughts about her upcoming adventure, aiming to be the second Black woman to finish the grueling Iditarod race with her sled dogs.

You will find a photo gallery from staff photographer Sarah Whiting focused on the post-championship celebration of the new Minnesota team in the Pro Women’s Hockey League. Defender Nikki Nightengale shares a few thoughts about her journey to this whirlwind year.

On a Personal Note

My career started in sports writing, when the community newspaper editor in Prior Lake — Bev Simonson — gave me a job at age 16 covering high school sports. I knew nothing about sports, but I was eager to get into journalism, so she opened a door.

I recently looked up Bev’s 2014 obituary and discovered that, decades ago, she had been a member of the Minnesota Women’s Press Association (MWPA). Says magazine co- founder Mollie Hoben, the association was a women’s advocacy group that supported media surveys to remind people of how rarely women’s names were mentioned in the news — the impetus for the creation of this publication.

A 1999 media guidebook, Covering the Community, pointed out why the research findings were important: “Leaving out 52 percent of the population and vast numbers of minorities and special groups is a dangerous practice in a democracy.”

To support our uniquely diverse media — which is suffering financially as most print publications are — please become a Badass member. womenspress.com/be-a-badass

Table of Contents

“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” Simone Biles, Olympic gymnast

Tapestry — Why Sports Matter to Me

Healing — Being in the Same Boat: Breast Cancer Survivors Are Racing Teammates

Equity — The Inner and Outer Life of a Firefighter

Money & Business — A Bar of Their Own

Art of Living — Kate DiCamillo’s Writing Life Is Fueled by Walking

Books — Grace & Grit: A Dance Compilation

Family/Home — Minnesotan Aims to be Second Black Woman to Finish Iditarod

Buy Local — How to Help Small Farmers