In Response: The Sports Page

What athletics do you, or did you participate in? Like the person I was talking to, did you once excel at something? Has age or injury caught up with you, or do you still enjoy running, hiking, biking, dancing, riding, skating, rowing, swimming, diving, bowling, sailing, fishing, fencing, soccer-ing, tennis-ing, lacrosse-ing, hockey-ing, etc., etc.?

Unfortunately, Title 9 was a new fangled thing here in the south. The product of those pesky women’s libbers in 1972. For those who don’t know, Title IX, is the landmark federal civil right that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education.

By the time it actually was implemented across the board, I was well into middle school and a mother who made it very inconvenient to play sports for me and my 4 brothers.

I remember both parents offering my older brothers money not to play football in elementary school. Me, be a cheerleader? They would never have it! just never ever….that is sexist! And I so wanted to be dolled up in a cute pleated skirt with ponytails at the time. I never told my parents that, I could already feel the ridicule.

I think it was a combination of injury and time commitment that my parents hated. Mom was a single child, raised in eastern Montana, by the time she went to high school, her parents put her and another girl up in an apartment in the closest town with a high school. She spent her time in theater, newspaper, etc. no sports.

Dad was a western Montana guy, oldest of 5, started school in a one room schoolhouse (football team?! ha!) and not much money to go around so sports were not really thought of much.

Together they raised us five and ran the family business. Sports were introduced to me by my brothers. They were runners, tall and lean, and good ones too, eventually playing soccer on the high school teams. Me, I tried, but eventually pressure from my parents to quit and then falling grades got the best of me. I never tried to join a sporting team again.

My athleticism was found much later in life.

I had a husband that ignored me and worked for a company that had a gym. In order to fill my time in a constructive way, I started by going to step aerobics to nights a week, then yoga, pretty soon cardio kick-boxing, and finally boot camp classes. Oh my god, how I loved cardio kick-boxing class! What a great way to get out the days’ frustrations!

I was there 4- 5 nights a week. Then I’d come home, make dinner, watch a little TV and go to bed. That was my life. By the time I filed for divorce, I was in great shape. Exercise staves off depression which many people experience during a divorce. Not me, I couldn’t stop smiling.

So, I hear about other people who had been state champs at this or that or Olympic hopefuls. I wonder if they chose that sport themselves or if it was influenced by their families. How strange and wonderful it must have been to have a parent who took genuine interest in your games.

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