After graduation, I came to Baltimore County to teach physical education. Thanks to supervisor of physical education and athletics Mildred Murray Baltimore County was ahead of its time. I was amazed at the sports offerings for girls — volleyball, field hockey, basketball, gymnastics, tennis, softball and girls lacrosse, which I’d never heard of.
The teams had uniforms and equipment that was separate from what the regular physical education classes used. They practiced every day after school. We didn’t even do that in college.
When Title IX went into effect, change came slowly, but it did happen.
More sports opportunities became available to girls, not only in high school but also at the local recreational level. Moms and dads suddenly realized that their daughters wanted to play organized sports. To fill the need HCYP, CYBA, CBA, AYRA, SAC, EYO and the Savage Boys & Girls Club, among others, awaited.
High schools began awarding athletic letters to girls — my daughter has 10. That's the neat part of Title IX. My daughter had opportunities that I did not.
More women’s sports, and athletic scholarships, were offered at the college level. Sometimes, unfortunately, at the expense of a male sport, like wrestling.
On the national level, women’s professional leagues in tennis, basketball, soccer and softball came into being.
Now there is women-specific equipment — a girls softball and basketball are smaller. Someone finally realized that our hands aren’t as big as a man’s hands.
Newspapers and television started covering girls and women’s games. There was even, briefly, a Sports Illustrated for Women.
To paraphrase the old Virginia Slims slogan: We’ve come a long way, baby.
I wonder what changes will happen in the next 10 years?