Saturday, July 17, 2010

Women in Sports (then and now)

I can see the awesome improvement in women's sports in just one generation. We weren't that great (except for my sister - if she had been born now she would have been a professional!) but we were better than our mothers were. Title IX was enacted when I was in grade school and all the gym teachers told us that it would change the face of women's sports. Apparently they were right. Money is the great equalizer.

We used to look around at our hand me down equipment while being told they didn't know if we could play because there wasn't money to pay a coach. It looks like all that has changed now with astounding results for women. Women are making a fortune in sports now and who knows by the time the next generation comes around things will probably be even better. They would ask us every year if we wanted to play if they could scrounge up the money. We were told it was important so that the little girls could see what they could do some day. So we played. We played on substandard equipment that was falling apart but we played.

Usually my dad's car dealership would end up sponsoring the team because nobody else wanted to sponsor a girl's softball team. He and my mom would also buy uniforms and my mom would take the whole team out to dinner (even if we lost). I can remember carrying giant coolers full of gatorade and water to the games and practices because the girls weren't allowed to get stuff at the boy's little league concession stand. My mom said she did it because she didn't want any of "her girls" dropping from heat prostration and it didn't hurt that it was good for business. Thankfully it was also because my mom wanted us to know that as girls we could do anything we set our minds to. She didn't let anybody tell us we couldn't do something because we were girls - including my dad!

When I tell teenage girls that we didn't have sports when I was their age or that I didn't join the military because they wouldn't let women fly a plane back then. They look at me like I'm from another planet. That's good. It shows just how far we've come.

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