Title ix celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Until I looked at a photo of myself and my daughter at a trail race this past weekend, I never considered the impact of Title IX on my life and my daughter's life. I had only a cursory brush with women's athletics thanks to my 2 years of field hockey in junior high.
When I look at the options available to my daughter and her brothers now, the world of sports has changed enormously. No longer do we have Little League and football programs only for the boys; boys and girls play soccer, baseball, and basketball on the same fields and courts, and often side by side. Football is the only sport in my area which is still boys-only. However, there are amateur and professional women's football teams locally which we don't hear about because they receive less, if any, recognition in the media.
Speaking from my personal experience, women bring a different perspective to sports that I think has brought about a greater emphasis on sportsmanship and playing honorably. When I think about doping scandals in the news over the past ten years, not a single woman athlete comes to mind. I don't doubt there are women athletes who have used drugs; no one is perfect. It's the men who are front page news.
During my very brief stint playing women's soccer casually a few years ago, I had a fantastic time. I showed up and was immediately welcomed. I was encouraged by the other players and supported in my efforts to improve and learn new skills. I came away feeling like I could be a player. Only time and more children have prevented me from going back.
Now that I'm back into running, and racing a little, my plan is to bring my kids along as much as I can. While I have never seen my mom play sports as an adult, I want my kids to think that their mom running in races is normal. I want them to have the opportunity to support me in my endeavors as a runner just as I support them by attending their games. I want my daughter to learn that women can do a lot of things in life if they choose to and put in the practice time.
Barb is a mom of 5 kids who spends her day keeping track of socks, stuffed animals, library books, and a 4 year old when she isn't writing about all the frugality, gardening, cooking, and reading she manages to fit in between the chaotic moments. She can be found at A Life in Balance, Frugal Local Kitchen, or on Twitter with daily doses of life in 140 characters or less.