Joy Drop: Brittney Griner's release a highlight of great week for women in sports

The Miami Heat display a welcome home graphic for Brittney Griner prior to a game against the L.A. Clippers on Thursday. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters - image credit)
The Miami Heat display a welcome home graphic for Brittney Griner prior to a game against the L.A. Clippers on Thursday. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters - image credit)

Friends, it has been a while! What wonderful developments in the world to reignite our Joy Drop.

In a piece about joy for Chatelaine magazine, I wrote "hope is a cousin of joy." And hope, prayer and incredible public and possibly private support secured Brittney Griner's homecoming.

Griner was imprisoned in Russia after a vape cartridge was found in her luggage. She was accused of drug possession and smuggling. For 294 days, the WNBA community has been rallying for her freedom.

Her release was secured in a prisoner exchange orchestrated by the U.S. government.

There is no question that this news is a highlight of the week and dominated news cycles the past few days. Her safe return to her wife and community is a source of joy and something that felt so impossible, particularly when Griner was moved to an undisclosed penal colony. But as the great Nelson Mandela said: "It always seems impossible until it's done."

Marie-Philip Poulin is not only the greatest women's hockey player in the world, but she is also the newest winner of the Northern Star award — formerly known as the Lou Marsh trophy. It has been a fantastic year for our fearless leader, who led the Canadian national women's team to gold in Beijing and a world championship a few months later. So well deserved. Watch her in action this weekend on CBC Sports during the PWHPA All-Star weekend!

One of my greatest issues of non-joy has been that there is no domestic women's soccer league in Canada — until now. This week, CanWNT captain Christine Sinclair and now-retired CanWNT legend Diana Matheson went public with the news that they will be spearheading a professional women's league in Canada starting in 2025.

This news is huge for soccer in Canada. We have the talent and the drive and now the possibility. I am so excited about this and my happiness matches the joy shared in the Canadian soccer community across the country — and the world.

Speaking of soccer (which is all I have on the brain lately), I wanted to throw in a story that I crafted for Twitter that went viral. It's a fun read I wrote as a proud mama. It made a lot of people smile, which makes me very happy.

 

It is a moment in time in the soccer ecosystem when the underdogs are thriving and the ones that no one bets on are winning. The Lions of Africa, anyone? I would be remiss if I didn't mention this beautiful piece written by my friend Maher Mezahi about the secret formula of the Moroccan team: parents and fans.