Lindsay Gibbs is a freelance sports reporter who writes the “Power Plays” newsletter and co-hosts the “Burn It All Down” podcast. Before moderating a Zócalo/ASU Global Sport Institute event, “How Have Women’s Sports Changed Since Title IX?,” she chatted in the green room about building community, the podcasts she’s listening to, and how Theresa Plaisance of the Washington Mystics is charting a new course.
Your first job out of college was on America’s Next Top Model. What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?
I left with a lot of empathy for reality television contestants. Having cameras on 24/7, with such little sleep and such heightened tensions is not a recipe for fun. I left feeling like if I were in a situation where I had people in my face asking me how I felt about every single thing going on, and if I was forced to talk to a camera every single day, I’d probably be getting in some trouble, too.
How have you used your work and your newsletter “Power Plays” to foster community around women in sports?
I got lucky. I’m constantly overwhelmed with the generosity and knowledge and how fun and smart and inclusive the community is. I don’t know if there’s anything I did, but I will say that something that’s really important to me is that this isn’t a community where basic human rights are in debate. It’s not that we’re not going to educate, and if people are coming in good faith that we can’t go have like conversations about things, but our community firmly believes that trans women and girls belong in sport. We respect pronouns. We believe these things that should be basic, but they are still up for debate in a lot of communities.
What’s a story from women’s sports history that you’re thinking about at the moment?
The story of Formiga. She’s 43 years old, and she’s now going to be on the Olympic Brazil women’s soccer team. When she was born, it was illegal for women to play football. That’s how long she’s been around. I'm really lucky that I work with Professor Brenda Elsey on the “Burn It All Down” podcast, who is a scholar on all things Latin American soccer. And so she’s educated me so much on Formiga. The fact that she’s on her seventh Olympics—that’s ridiculous.
What would we find on your most recent Google search history?
I am currently working on a project that has to do a lot with the WNBA history and the WNBA union. So there’s been a lot of looking back at old collective bargaining negotiations and things like that.
What’s a podcast you’ve been digging lately?
I listen to way too many podcasts. I want to give a shout-out to “Spinsters,” an NBA podcast over on Blue Wire hosted by Haley O’Shaughnessy and Jordan Ligons. I love listening to that weekly and just hearing their perspectives on everything. They include a lot of WNBA along with NBA talk in a very natural way. I really appreciate that. I was listening right now actually to “Full Time” with Meg Linehan on The Athletic. It’s on women’s soccer. And then something non-women’s sports I’ve been obsessed with lately is “Maintenance Phase,” which is a podcast taking down diet culture, and it’s very entertaining.
What's the last thing that inspired you?
Every night watching women’s sports, there’s an inspirational story and a reminder to keep going. One that I think is under the radar is Theresa Plaisance of the Washington Mystics. She remade her body from two back surgeries and just stayed the course and kept waiting her turn, and now she’s this key contributor. That inspires me. I like stories of people doing things later in their careers or toward the middle of their careers and charting new paths. Those are always the stories that inspire me the most as someone who is in my mid 30s and very much still figuring out life.