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Essay # 2
March 5, 2004
Are you crying? There's no crying…there's no crying in baseball!" Serving as the manager of the Rockford Peaches, a professional baseball team, Jimmy Dugan doesn’t tolerate crying from any of his players. Baseball of course being such a masculine sport, a game over flowing with testosterone, jock-itch, and 5 o’clock shadows….right? Not when your shortstop is wearing lipstick and the right fielder has a “c-cup!” During the Second World War women took the jobs of men in professional baseball while the games best players fought over seas. A League of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall, depicts the story of a pioneer breakthrough for women’s rights in sports when gender roles are reversed.
World War II forced America to make adjustments in even the country’s past time, Professional Baseball. Owners of professional teams struggled to establish interest and acceptance for women in a man’s game. With hard word and dedication the league became not only a success but the inauguration for an equal rights movement in women’s athletics. Thirty Three years later this battle continued triumphantly. Title IX was established through the National College Athletic Association in 1972. This bi-law created opportunities for female athletes by dividing all athletic scholarships evenly between male and female teams. Controversy continues to exist because male sports usually bring in the majority of income at college and universities nation wide. How successful will schools be able to generate interest and income with fewer scholarship funded educations to offer potential male athletes?
The University of Connecticut couldn’t be happier with the results Title IX has helped earn them. In the span of 25 years, UConn has established the premiere collegiate women’s basketball program. After winning the 2003 national championship Coach Geno Ariemma stated, “twenty years ago this school couldn’t even afford me a paid assistant, now my seniors are signing professional contracts and there offering me millions of dollars to do what I continue to love!” The growth of this program has set a standard for all female athletics. Connecticut’s citizens even ranked UConn women’s basketball the number one most popular team in the state in 2001(http://www.ctpost.com/). Following in a close second with 12,000 fewer votes was the UConn men’s basketball team.
Women’s basketball eventually created such an immense fan base that in June of 1997 the Women’s National Basketball Association began. Sherryl Swoops became the first women’s professional basketball player when she signed on October 23, 1996. Her $30,000 playing contract for the Houston Comets doesn’t remotely compare to the lucrative 1.2 million she earned in endorsements just last year. Like Title IX, the WNBA has allowed women the opportunity to compete at a higher level of competition than ever before. The value of female athletes has increased so significantly that some earn more than even professional male athletes playing the same sport.
What about those women that don’t play for money, but rather for the love of the game? During the early 1900’s women were not offered the opportunity to earn a higher education. Most raised children and worked as homemakers. Some of the all time best female athletes could have been overlooked due to the lack of opportunity given for them to exhibit their talents. Is it possible that Sally “the riveter” might have had a beautiful jump shot or even a great curveball? Title IX helped allow more women the opportunity to earn a college education at no cost. The bulk of them will go on to become a professional in something other than sports. Without scholarship educations the potential of these females could have been wasted.
Lauren Redler, a lacrosse player for Georgetown University, graduated high school with dreams and admirations of becoming an Orthopaedic Surgeon. Her grades and SATs were very similar to other top admissions candidates but her athletic ability set her beyond all. Lauren’s athleticism helped her earn admission to Georgetown while also aiding in tuition cost with the scholarship awarded. Because of the developments made in collegiate gender equity rights brilliant female minds will be put to use adequately in the future. These opportunities can be directly attributed to the Title XI ruling that provides females with scholarships that normally were given to males.
Women’s roles have changed radically since World War II. The fight
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