Title IX and the athletes left behind
Not feeling very motivated to write lately, this one has caught me by the heart. I am 58 years old. In 1972 President Richard Nixon signed the Title IX legislation that made it illegal to discriminate against women in sports. I graduated in 1971.
I was a tomboy from birth I guess. I had little toy guns on my diaper pins. My daddy was a baseball playing fool, and I benefited from that with many evenings of catch in the backyard. Fortunately for me, my dad did not believe in cutting any slack to anyone (not even a girl) and I learned to catch a hot pepper just as well as any boy. It was that or get hit with the ball and catching it was much less painful. At the age of 12 we moved to a small town that had girls’ basketball, and even though it was three on three, I loved it. By the time I was a freshman, the game had changed to the boys’ version of five on five, and I existed for sports. The by-product of that was my coach made sure we kept our grades up, and I excelled on both the field and in the classroom.
By the end of 1968 our school board in Everman, Texas had decided that they could no longer afford to fund five basketball teams. At that time there was a varsity girls and boys team and a junior varsity girls and boys team and a boys freshman team. That board, made up of entirely men, decided it could only fund three teams. I imagine you can see where I’m going. So behind the cloak of secrecy, it put in a girls’ coach with instructions to let the program go as far downhill as possible. She held not one practice the final year we played. Imagine – a team that did not practice one time. We even went so far as to go to the gym on our own until we were barred for lack of supervision at which time our parents began coming with us. We were then banned completely without a coach and our coach would not come – I imagine for fear of her job. We got a petition up with many, many community signatures that was presented to the Board. They thanked us. That was all they did. We lost miserably. I had already had college coaches talk to me about playing for them, but with our program completely deleted when I was a sophomore that went down the drain as did my will to continue.
I lost the thing I loved and that motivate me the most. I quit caring about school; I experimented with things better left alone and who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened anyway, but I don’t believe it would have. You SOB bigoted all male school board took the very thing I was the best at and loved the most at that time because you were making decisions for women without any regard for women’s’ feelings. I will always resent that and will never forget it.
Kind of reminds you of today doesn’t it? Leave my vagina alone and guys — give up trying to make decisions for women. We are quite capable. I hope the young women and their parents of today are stronger than we were.
How many stories are there like this?