Day 9: Words of Wisdom from the Front Lines of Title IX
Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Title IX, an Amendment that revolutionized the fields of opportunity for women. While the athletic implications of the law may have been an afterthought, Title IX’s impact on female athletes has become the most significant aspect of that legislation. There is not a woman or girl in this country who has not felt the impact of Title IX, and we want to hear from you!
Were you fighting to play before Title IX passed? Were you there when it happened or are you a beneficiary of the aftermath? We’re paying our respects to the Constitutional guardian of smelly gyms, taped ankles, and freshly chalked fields. So bring on those fuzzy photos and words of wisdom. We want to know how Title IX has changed your world for the better. Remember, no experience is too small. Don’t wait, get entered>
Today’s winner will receive free round trip airfare to our Chicago or Bay Area Title 9K running race, a free race entry, a limited eidition Power of 9 Tee and a Title Nine Water Bottle.
*airfare applies to flights originating within the United States only. Destination must be either (customer’s choice) Chicago, IL or the San Francisco Bay Area. Airfare must be redeemed in conjunction with the Title 9K running race (September 16, 2012 or October 21, 2012.). T-shirt & water bottle prize awarded based on availability – a substitute prize of equal or greater value may be awarded.
I was the first girl in shop class in my school. I had an overly protective mom that kept me from sports. I remember the first girls on the football team! It was so cool. I felt like we could do anything. Now I’m a grandma, I love to I hike, Zumba & cross-country ski.
Thank you Title IX and those who worked to make it happen and still work to make it happen everyday. Without Title IX, I would likely have never been given the priviledge of leading our high school Model UN delegation from Saudi Arabia. As a teenager, the irony was still somewhat lost on me but as I watch my daughter grow and dream, I understand the impact more and more. As a child when I sang the lines, “Anything you can do, I can do…,” It was as much a dream, a wish as a statement of belief. For my daughter, it is a definitive statement of fact. For me, wearing make-up and feminine clothing was a sign of empty-headed weakness. Guys button down shirts, polos and tailored jackets were fashionable–for girls. My daughter can wear a cute tennis dress and nail polish and still be seen as smart and strong, as acompetitor not to be taken lightly on the court or in the classroom. And while I shudder at the thought closing with a paraphrase of a cigarette manufacturing ad slogan, nothing else says it quite so susinctly or truthfully, we’ve come a long way, baby. And much of the way was paved by Title IX.
40 years ago was the dawn of all things possible. I was 11 …I can still hear the cinders crunch under my feet as I helped my PE teacher line the cinder track for our first track meet. I wanted to run in every event, which I think I did! I remember pleading with my dad to take me to every Hershey’s track meet and so proud of the medals and ribbons I brought home.
In high school I was on the gymnastics team and continued with track. In college I was on the first cross country team (there were 3 of us). The next year I fell in love with field hockey. After college I ran marathons whole and halves. And now I am recovering from knee replacement surgery. I know its because…….I played hard and if I was hurt I shook it off just so I could play harder. And I am pretty sure there are others just like me.
I am a physical education teacher, a coach, and a mom of 3 beautiful daughters. I am who I am today because of that cinder track and the coach who pulled it all together for all of us. I can’t imagine what it would be like had Title 9 been buried deep in legislation and over looked. Actually, I know we all would be playing ….its the equality that gives T9 it’s voice. Sometimes I feel like we aren’t quite there. But thanks to Title 9 I now am watching my 3 high school age daughters play varsity soccer. Next year one will go on to play in college ball. All because someone knew how important it was for everyone to have a chance to play on the field..
I am definitely a beneficiary of Title IV. Growing up, I could never have imagined that running track or playing soccer was just not something girls got to do.
Ironically, it was my brother who dragged me into the world of sports. One day, when I was a 15 year old home schooled, gangly girl, he (my older brother) came home from high school and basically told me I should join the track team with him at the local high school. I was very reluctant at first since I had always been terrible with ball sports and felt self conscious. However, once the first couple weeks of side aches and shin splints passed, I was hooked.
Given that it was Vermont, and still March in a low income town with no track, we ran in all weather, over all terrain. I remember snow, mud, water, and crazy loops through trails that barely existed. I ended up being the only girl on our team to run the 400m dash, and being so proud of running a race that others were afraid of. I loved the anticipation of the start gun, and the pain in my lungs when I rounded the last bend in the track, my feet ready to give up, and I loved the exhilaration of crossing that finish line. I also loved getting to share the team experience with my brother–it was an awesome bonding experience that we still chat about
Now I am a crazy busy mom of 4 young children. I started running again this spring for the first time since highs school. I completed my first 5K in April, and was so thrilled. I kept training, and ran another 5K a few weeks ago. The feeling of achievement after giving a race my all keeps me motivated to train more. I would have never dared consider myself a runner, or even considered myself an actual athlete if my brother hadn’t come home from school that day and asked my to run track with him. And I would never had been able to run track with my brother if it hadn’t been for Title IV.
I do not have access to any of my old high school pictures right now, so instead I’ll share a photo from my 5K last month. It has been truly felt awesome to lace up my sneakers again and run my heart out like I did in highschool.
As a 37 year old woman, I was recently reminded that all is not exactly created equal when I personally witnessed a situation in which my female manager did the same job as my male manager and the male manager received not only more credit, but more pay. That saddened me immensely as I was under the false illusion that this was no longer an issue and it also reminded me that there is still a lot of work ahead for us (as females) to gain complete equality.
As a female runner, I was also reminded that not too long ago women were NOT allowed to race in marathons. It is thanks to Katherine Switzer and other brave women like her that I am now allowed to compete in marathons alongside my male counterparts. As I approach my second marathon in October, I cannot fathom not having that freedom to run it officially, but K. Switzer’s story and others like it (Book: Women Who Run), remind me of just how lucky I am. When I think back to my grandmother (born in 1900)…she was as strong if not stronger than any man I know, but was never allowed to experience the things that I have.
Thanks for helping us celebrate and remind us of the 40th Anniversary of IX. Girls rock! And we can do ANYTHING that any guy does!
All through elementary, junior, and highschool in the early 80’s there was always some boy or worse, some man man telling me that girls couldn’t play sports. They’d tell me I would never be good at soccer as I ran past them, said I’d never be good at baseball as I rounded bases past them, and laughed as our girl’s swim team got hand-me- down warm-ups while the boys got new things.
Then I got to college and started rowing. I’ll never forget a phone a thon we did asking the alumni from the 60’s for support. Each and every woman I talked to wanted me to know that no matter what any man told me, women could and should row fast. They weren’t allowed to, but we should. I didn’t care how much money we raised that weekend. Their message stuck with me and I’m still rowing fast, because I can.
Thank- you title nine and thank you Milwaukee Downer alumni. Because of you, I am still doing what I love.
I have a daughter who knows that she can anything. We have been watching the olympic trials. She now wants the be a diver and a hurdle runner. Because title nine is in effect she will be particapte all.