Copyright © 2007 Henrietta W. Hay
Title IX is Not a Mystery Story
October 5, 2007
The Mercs won! At 93 I can shout Hooray (well, say it quietly)
The Phoenix Mercury beat Detroit 108 to 92 in the fifth game of the championship series of the Women's National Basketball Association.
That game was a direct result of Title IX, passed by Congress in 1972.
Very few people here in the Commons, or for that matter in Grand Junction share my enthusiasm, but I have been a Mercury fan since women's pro basketball became a reality. In fact, Mercury the Wonder cat is a fan too.
Although I feel rather lonely in my support for women's games, I am surrounded by sports fans.
There are, of course, lots of Bronco fans. In the fall on Sunday evenings, there are very few people in the dining room for dinner if the Broncos are playing late. But the number one fan said grimly last week, "They need a new defense".
I would rather watch C. U. football, although last year was a bad one. I have great hopes for this year. One of my friends here is a passionate Nebraska U. backer. On that special day she wears a crimson shirt, and I wear my C. U. one.
The Rockies fans are very happy this year, with eleven straight wins as I write this
Then there is golf. The golf fans are probably the most intense of all. Along with football, it has been known to cause people to skip dinner until the match is over or get up at five to catch the first drive. Personally, I have felt that watching golf on television was a little like grass grow, but I am being converted.
All these games are fine but to me nothing beats women's basketball.
Now there is a game to watch. It is quite different from the men's game. It is a game of skill and speed and team work, with practically no slam dunks.
The fact that in 2007 we have thousands of women athletes in various sports is directly traceable to Title IX. That bill allowed little girls, big girls and women to start learning and playing serious athletic games. I keep remembering that when I played basketball in the thirties the floor was divided in three sections for us delicate creatures.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, is a 37-word United States law enacted on June 23, 1972. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Wow - did that start a war! Athletic Directors in High Schools and Colleges across the country let out a yell heard 'round the world. Girls and women to have the same athletic privileges as the guys? Never.
Before 1972 girls and women in school played for fun. In college we had intra-mural games, but never inter-school. We were definitely second class citizens to the athletic departments.
Little girls began to play soccer, and High School girls began to understand basketball, and college women became experts in their chosen games. And now we have professional women's sports and Olympic teams winning the gold.
And that is why we have the Mercury and all the teams in the WNBA. I have been following them since their first game in 1997.
So go, guys. But also, go gals as you become skilled athletes, thanks to Title IX.