Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Summer Ball 8th Grade
Happy 40th Birthday Title IX! You are only two years younger than me, but your birth has impacted not only my life, but all women in this country. The passage of this law is one of the most beneficial lasting acts of the Nixon presidency in 1972. I was 2 when it was born. I have been actively involved in sports since I first played soccer on boys' team when I was in 5th grade over 32 years ago. To give younger readers' perspective, I played sports before sports bras were sold. Note: Active women through-out history have sought different ways to bind themselves. Women were always active and playing sports before Title IX, but they didn't receive the support on an equal basis as men. Names such as Babe Didrikson and Wilma Rudolph are celebrated female athletes who persevered in sports before the passage of Title IX, but lesser known females paved the way for all of us as well.

My grandmother was a competitive swimmer and she was unable to continue at college since the predominant belief during that time was that women didn't need a college degree. In fact, she had to give up her job with AT&T due to the company policy's about married women. My mom played basketball and volleyball. When my mom talked to me about playing basketball, she often talked about how some positions on the court weren't allowed to cross the half-court line. The rules were different and they didn't need to be. My mom still was a fit-role model my entire life by jogging, taking aerobics, and roller-blading. Now in her sixties she swims and bikes. My aunt played basketball and tennis in college. Scholarships didn't exist and her team was lucky to have funding. Later she coached women's basketball and I remember traveling with her basketball team when I was little. Her players managed a dual role of cheerleader for the boys and then played basketball themselves. She too has stayed active her entire life as well. She hikes, bikes, and walks a tenacious 6-8 mile trek almost daily.

I played basketball, soccer, volleyball, and softball growing up. Later I played ultimate Frisbee and still do recreationally on a co-ed team. I work on strength training in gladiator camp and on my cardio by walking\running 3-5 miles as often as possible. Female athletics matters, not just for the competition, but by developing women who will engage in activities toward the pursuit of life-long fitness. It matters. This pursuit is something I hope to pass to my daughter as she swims and dances. Movement matters.

Women's athletics is only one of the ares that Title IX covers. Its reach extends to higher education, employment and other aspects of life. The greatest impact on my life with Title IX is that it has allowed me to to play sports. In the long run, the passage of Title IX is about staying active for as long as possible and the friendships I have that were deepened by our experiences playing together on a team. Everyone knows that support matters.

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