Saturday, August 11, 2012

But don't call them ladies

Want to know the one, simplistic thought I have had running through my head throughout these Olympic games?  Yay Title IX!

Because the US is nowdominating the medal count (sports bring out my jingoism...) and it must be recognized that the women had an awful lot to do with that.

Basketball. Soccer. Water polo. Gymnastics. Our only real stumble in team sports was in volleyball, where we had to settle for silver. Our swimmers dominated the relays and won individual race after individual race. Much like our track team. We were assured a gold (and silver) in beach volleyball before the first spike in that final. And tennis. Let's not forget sweeping the gold medals in women's tennis events.

I get so frustrated when people rail about schools wasting money and time on sports. Sports are such a good thing for kids to be involved in. They're good for health, physical and mental. They're good for self-confidence and teamwork and discipline. For girls, the statistics are compelling. Girls who participate in sports in school have lower rates of teen pregnancy and higher rates of college matriculation. Why on earth shouldn't we support that?

And, hey, when we encourage kids to get involved in sports, especially girls it would seem, we come away from the Olympics with the most medals of any country, so supporting sports is the patriotic thing to do. I personally thought it was amazing to watch all those women taking the top spot on the medals stand with their teammates, holding hands. I hope it inspires another generation of young girls to pursue excellence in sports just as the first wave of Title IX athletes inspired this generation.

Title IX helped make it possible for girls to pursue sports even when people weren't sure they should, or even wanted to. I think it's awesome that 40 years later, we as a nation have produced the finest crop of female athletes the world has ever seen.

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