A lot happened 40 years ago. Our papers, the Columbia Flier and Howard County Times, just wrote about Tropical Storm Agnes and the devastating effect it had on Howard County when it hit June 21-22, 1972.
June 23, a day later that same year, another storm of change happened.
Title IX, a part of the Education Amendments of 1972, was passed into law. The premise of Title IX was to provide equal opportunity in education. It opened the way for more women to get into medical school, to become CFOs and CEOs and engineers, but it’s greatest impact is thought to be on providing equal opportunity for girls (and women) in sports.
Saturday’s Baltimore Sun ran two articles on Title IX.
They read like a diary from my pre-Title IX era.
I grew up in basketball crazy Indiana. My high school, one of the largest in the state, had three gyms. The big one was for boys physical education and basketball (boys, of course).
The girls had two much smaller gyms on the opposite side of the campus.
The boys had the “big” three sports — football, basketball and baseball, as well as wrestling, cross country and track and field.
The girls had “nada” unless you count the Girls Athletic Association, which occasionally met for intramurals or to participate in playdays, which were low-key gatherings of teams for friendly competition.
Basically, the boys got the use of our two gyms after school.
It didn’t seem right, but that’s the way it was.
Even though we played baseball together in our backyards, the boy who lived on my street could play Little League baseball; I could watch.
We had to use his gloves since girls didn’t own such things. It was his bat and ball, too.
It was somewhat different in college. The girls had the West gym; the boys had the main floor of the field house.
We did have girls intramurals and we had girls sports teams, but the seasons were short.
What a thrill it was the one time we got to play a basketball game on the “big” floor instead of our gym.
Our school had a nationally famous coach, but as a female physical education major, I wouldn’t take any of the coaching courses that he taught. It never occurred to me, or my classmates, to challenge that.
It was what it was.