Britni de la Cretaz (they/them) is a freelance writer who focuses on the intersection of sports and gender. They are the former sports columnist for Longreads and for Bitch Media. Their work has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, espnW, Vogue, The Washington Post, Teen Vogue, The Ringer, Bleacher Report, The Atlantic, and more.
Hail Mary chronicles the highs and lows of the National Women’s Football League, which took root in nineteen cities across the US over the course of two decades. In an era of vibrant second wave feminism and Title IX activism, the athletes of the National Women’s Football League were boisterous pioneers on and off the field: you’ll be rooting for them from start to finish.
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Britni: I’m a sucker for history and love to include historical context in all of my writing. It is pretty rare that any of us are the absolute first to do anything, but so many narratives get written out of popular tellings of history. I was trying to write a piece about the current-day women’s football leagues and wanted to include a bit on what had come before and went looking for a book, only to find that none existed. The more I read, the more I kept coming back to the Toledo Troopers, the winningest team in pro football history, who had played in a league called the National Women’s Football League. There was a little bit available about them but hardly anything about the league itself, or the other teams the Troopers played. I knew we needed to tell these women’s stories and to document and preserve them while the women were still here to share them with us.
Lyndsey: Learning about the women who played in the NWFL and whose stories and experiences in football have been largely ignored and written out of the history books. We wanted to give them a voice and the recognition they rightly deserve.
Britni: I’m disabled so I do most of my writing from bed! When writing a research-heavy project like Hail Mary, it often involves having hundreds of pages of interview transcripts and newspaper clippings spread across my bedspread. For fun, I’ve also included a photo of the visualization of Hail Mary’s structure that I made with Post-It notes in my hallway.
Lyndsey: I’ve been obsessed with Kristin Hannah lately. I read The Nightingale in the spring and have been quickly scooping up her other books. She is an incredible author, one of the best I’ve ever read. Right now, I’m knee-deep in The Great Alone by Hannah, which came out in 2018. I highly recommend any of her books, and there are a lot of them.
Britni: I’m reading Postcolonial Astrology: Reading the Planets Through Capital, Power, and Labor by Alice Sparkly Kat. I love their interpretation of astrology and find it incredibly enlightening and meaningful. I will also recommend Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between by Eric Nusbaum and Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women and Queer Radicals by Saidiya Hartman, both of which I read as craft inspiration for Hail Mary.
Lyndsey: I am a longtime fan of Judy Blume. Her books shaped my youth. Once, when I was in Key West, I went to her bookstore (she lives there and owns a bookstore right in town). I was hoping to catch her, introduce myself, chat her up. It was the one day of the week she wasn’t there, and I was leaving early the next morning. So, I’d love to get the chance to meet her over lunch. That would be cool.
Britni: Leslie Feinberg. Stone Butch Blues is a life-changing text (that I was thrilled to be able to cite in Hail Mary) and Leslie is one of the most inspiring writers and activists I’ve ever come across. I would love to have had a chance to speak to her about literally anything.
Britni: I’m a Sagittarius sun, Virgo moon, and Cancer rising. Yes, I think they’re accurate! I’m a chaos muppet who tends to avoid having to feel my feelings and will fight you if you screw over my friends.
The groundbreaking story of the National Women’s Football League, and the players whose spirit, rivalries, and tenacity changed the legacy of women’s sports forever
Hail Mary chronicles the highs and lows of the National Women’s Football League, which took root in nineteen cities across the US over the course of two decades. Drawing on new interviews with former players from the Detroit Demons, the Toledo Troopers, the LA Dandelions, and more, Hail Mary brings us into the stadiums where they broke records, the small-town lesbian bars where they were recruited, and the backrooms where the league was formed, championed, and eventually shuttered. In an era of vibrant second wave feminism and Title IX activism, the athletes of the National Women’s Football League were boisterous pioneers on and off the field: you’ll be rooting for them from start to finish.