When I was 8 years old and Title IX was 24, I told my parents that I wanted to play softball in college. From that point on, I was unshakeable in my pursuit. I played on school teams, little league teams, all-star teams, and travel teams. I went to camps, clinics, practiced in my garage, and soaked up the great sports movies of my childhood—Sandlot, Rudy, the Mighty Ducks—all the ones where the heroes win in the end, as heroes should. I couldn’t get enough of it.
It doesn’t surprise me to hear that high school athletes are far less likely to participate in drugs or sexually risky behavior and that they typically have higher grades. My drive to succeed and become better was simply more intriguing than any high school scandal and I had coaches who insisted on high academic standards. I worked hard and was lucky enough that my dream came true: I was recruited all over the country to play the sport I loved.
On my first day of NCAA practice, my coach called us over to give what I assumed would be a welcome speech. He said, “You need to recognize that everyone in this league is at least as good as you. Many are better. So we need to work hard enough to overcome that.” Read more »
This guest-post was written by Dominique Dawes and is cross-posted from on Fitness.gov.
Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day! Each year, this observance provides us with a tremendous opportunity to help get more girls in the game, and make a significant investment in the future of our Nation. I am proud to serve as co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and sound the alarm about the importance of ensuring equitable physical activity opportunities for all Americans.
Throughout my life, I have been transformed and inspired by sports. Since the first time I tumbled into a gymnasium at six years old to becoming an Olympic gold medalist, I was motivated and excited by the opportunities presented to me as an athlete and a coach. I owe my participation and success in gymnastics (and so much more) to the passage of Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, which has transformed the lives of millions of girls by granting them greater access to participate in sports.
One amazing example of making this investment is in Daly City, California with the Benjamin Franklin Middle School girls’ basketball team. Their coach is 28-year-old Sarah Egan, who in addition to teaching social studies also teaches how to dribble, make layups, and block. The school has mostly low-income students from immigrant families, and Sarah faces significant challenges with her athletes. Read more »
University of Maryland basketball players meeting with my daughter’s Brownie troop
Since I’m not busy enough in my day job here at the National Women’s Law Center, I volunteered to plan something for my 9-year old daughter’s Brownie troop to do in celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. How could I not, given all the work that I do to ensure that Title IX is enforced and girls get equal educational opportunities, including the opportunity to play sports? The temptation was irresistible (I am a sucker for this stuff), and the troop leader was cool with it, so the project was mine.
Last year for NGWSD the girls got a visit from a teenage girl who plays lacrosse for one of our local high schools. She rocked; in fact, she has since gotten a scholarship to play lacrosse in college! I spent some time telling the girls about Title IX, and they were interested, but I knew they were ready for more this year. Not knowing what to do, I “cold” emailed someone in the U of MD athletics department to see if a female college athlete would be willing to come meet with our troop.
I got much more than I bargained for! The athletic department got right back to me, and planned a terrific event for last Sunday, for our troop and some other community groups. Read more »
Anybody who has ever met me can agree on one important point: I am a pop culture addict, with a list of favorite TV shows and movies a mile long. Some of my all-time heroes are fictional ones – which is why, when I think about women and girls in sports, my first thought goes to my favorite fictional female athletes – so here is my top five list:
5. Emily Fields, Pretty Little Liars
My number one TV guilty pleasure is the ABC Family show Pretty Little Liars – the scandal! The romance! The outfits! – and the series’ Emily Fields makes my list of not only one of my favorite fictional athletes, but one of my favorite characters on TV today. Read more »
Hi all, and welcome to another weekly blog roundup! This week we’ve got stories about some anti-choice bills in Virginia, a new video and call to action on SNDA, an update on Samantha Garvey, some of the perils faced by pregnant women on the job, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure decision on Planned Parenthood, and some wrap-ups on blog carnivals we participated in this week, all after the jump. Read more »
After a day like Wednesday, the rest of the week seems painfully ordinary. When I told my friend this, she said I sounded like Timmy Turner asking for Christmas every day.
National Girls and Women in Sports Day may not have been Christmas, but it was a gift.
As a journalism major, I’m supposed to have a way with words, which is why I make it my business to own all of my opponents in Words With Friends, Scrabble, and Bananagrams. However, I realized yesterday I couldn’t tell a single story about the day without repeatedly using the words “great” and “amazing.”
Whether I was relaying Lillian Greene-Chamberlain’s sports and advocacy stories, bragging about meeting Barbara Mikulski or talking about how Representative Linda Sanchez can talk some serious softball, I couldn’t help reiterating those same words. Read more »
NWLC Staff with Cornell McClellan, Grete Eliassen, and Olympians Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Donna de Varona and Lillian Greene-Chamberlain of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
As you all know, yesterday was National Girls and Women in Sports Day (check out all of the awesome blog posts about NGWSD here). As part of the celebration recognizing the strides girls and women have made in athletics since Title IX was enacted in 1972, the Center participated in a panel focused on the importance of physical activity for girls entitled “Title IX at 40: In it For the Long Run.” Panelists spoke of why sports participation is important for girls, including a discussion of how sports improve the position of women in the workforce. They also discussed the High School Athletics Transparency bills currently pending in Congress regarding gender equity in athletic programs. Read more »
Reading over Leila’s blog on her life growing up in sports, I had very mixed feelings. First, I felt anger. Anger that I had missed out. Anger that it never even occurred to me when I was a kid that it was unfair that the girls only did aerobics during gym class and boys got to do everything else. That was the standard, and no one questioned it. I’m angry that I didn’t get the opportunity to play sports and be part of a team, and that I didn’t question the status quo.
You see, when I was growing up, there was no Title IX. Read more »
When I started my freshman year in high school, one of my biggest goals was to make the varsity tennis team. I remember being very intimidated during the first few days of tryouts as I tried to keep up with conditioning exercises and with seasoned players in my matches.
I didn’t make the team that year, but I was ambitious as ever to make it the next year. I worked with my coaches on my spin serve, split-step, and volley technique and attended extra practices. It wasn’t easy, and there were days when I would get home from practice feeling discouraged. But the hard work paid off and I played doubles for the varsity team for the next two years. Read more »