Lorie Hankins

"Title IX? I didn't understand it until I was taking classes for an education degree in college. But Title IX provided me with opportunities in high school that I wouldn't have had otherwise. It taught me the meaning of "team," hard work, reaching a goal, and never quitting — all of the values you learn from participating on a sports team.

"In the spring of 1973, I tried out for the first softball team at Severna Park. I made it and was given a uniform.They were left over from years past, found in a closet and given to the girls' teams to share.


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"The following year, we got new uniforms. Each of the three girls teams still used the SAME top, but it came with both shorts and longer pants, for softball.

"We didn't have a softball field, so we hoofed it to Cypress Creek Park for a year. That was our "home" field! The next two years, we were given a field that backed up to the boys' backstop — so, as a second baseman, I had to be very aware of foul pop-ups from the boys.

"We had a blast, played our hearts out and paved the way for future girls. In the 1973 Severna Park yearbook, the girl voted "most athletic" was a cheerleader! By the time I graduated in 1975, there were girls on the tennis, gymnastics and track teams. We were pioneers. We were no longer relegated to being just managers of boys teams or cheerleaders.

"Was it equal? No, and as a parent of a girl, it's still not equal — but what a huge step in the right direction."

Alison Hankins

"As a child of the late 1980s, when I entered second grade and stepped onto the field hockey field, I thought things had always been that way. As far as I was concerned, every girl before me had the same opportunity to play all the sports that I was presented with. It wasn't until one day when my Mema and mom told me about sports in their time that I realized how lucky I was.

"I couldn't believe that Mema had had no opportunities to play sports, and that Mom had had limited ones. Because of Title IX, I have had the opportunity to play all the sports I wanted to. The only reason I got to play my favorite sport [field hockey] was because of Title IX. Green Hornets [Severna Park's youth sports program] had to put field hockey into place to make the number of girls and boys sports equal. Title IX gave girls opportunities to play sports, and my Mema reinforced it in our hometown.

"Spending time on the sports field, from second grade up through Severna Park High, was a huge part of my growing up. Sports taught me how to make friends, cooperate and get along with others, and work as a part of a team. Sports are a huge part of what made me who I am today, and they have made me successful. Without Title IX and the girls before me, I might have missed out on these opportunities."

mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972

"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 educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

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