Title IX and a tale of two tomboys
Celebrating women's athletics and holding space for what could have been.
I had a sport for every season when I was a kid.
It started with soccer, basketball and softball and transitioned into volleyball, racquetball and even a little Ultimate Frisbee.
I was a player who could chew and spit sunflower seeds like it was my job, a fan who knew every player on the Bulls' roster and, at my first newspaper, a cub reporter covering local sports.
I loved being part of the game. Any game.
None of that would have been possible without Title IX, a not-so-little part of the Education Amendments of the 1970s that unlocked athletics for women.
Fifty years ago today, this civil rights law opened so many doors for women like me, and those newly opened doors led to not only new experiences and skills but also new ways of thinking about ourselves.
Playing sports is where I learned how to perform under pressure and in front of a crowd. It’s where I learned how to think quickly and make decisions in a fraction of a second. It’s where I learned how to be coached by someone with more experience than me.
My relationship with my body, with leadership, with teamwork, all come from athletics.
Without Title IX, I’m not sure who I would have become.
That’s why, last fall, my heart broke when I heard my mom share something with the group of women who’d gathered to play basketball at Alamo Park in East Austin.
“I never got to do this,” she told the women, her voice wavering.
She’d been a tomboy, too.
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