This is a throwback Thursday! And this is a picture of the team I was on when we won our high school league championship in 1981.
I began thinking of my participation in sports this week, when on the same night two events played out on the evening news: we witnessed history with the nomination of the first woman elected to lead her party in the U.S. presidential election and my high school’s football program was hit with sanctions culminating from years of activities that involved big money and big ambitions.
How do they relate?
It began with a phone call to my mom, after we had listened to Mrs. Clinton delivering her speech. My mom was fighting back tears. And it wasn’t because she had forgotten to put something together for dinner. Nor was it about politics. It was about being 84 years old and being alive and present to witness a phenomenal event of a – woman – leading a party to be President. I know that to some, this does not seem like a big deal But it is.
And then, we talked about my high school and the state of youth sports.
As a kid, I played soccer from the time I could run. I was unaware of the fight going on in the background. I didn’t know then that the very existence of our girl’s teams was due to people like my friend’s mom, Mrs. Anderson, who fought tirelessly for the creation of sports teams for girls that equaled the sports teams of the boys. And the sacrifice made by men like Mr. Turbak and Mr. Prichard who volunteered and left work early to coach my friends and me through those early years when our teams were formed and struggling to find fields to play on.
One culmination of these fierce efforts occurred in 1981 when this same era of girls won the league championship. We didn’t have a booster club. We didn’t have sponsors. I doubt we even had cheerleaders at the game!
It wasn’t about money or power. It was about what was fair and right. And it was about some women and men who fought for our right to play as equals with the boys.
35 years later, a woman is nominated for President.
In that same amount of time, my mom with a group of her “Old Girl” friends founded the City Club of Seattle and the Washington Women’s Foundation among many other accomplishments. They did not get paid for their efforts.
In that same period of time, my high school’s sports programs and others have gone a little nuts.
Have we come a long way baby?
The “ambitions” of high school sports – maybe not so much.
But thanks to folks like Mr. Turbak, Mr. Prichard and Mrs. Anderson and my mom, I think, at least for this week, we can say we women have.