It bounces in near Pachy’s toes.
Pachy’s down the court so fast.
Scans her teammates. Needs to pass.
. . .
Behind the foul line Pachy aims.
Two shots. Two points.
Back to the game.
from Dino Basketball
written by Lisa Wheeler
illustrated by Barry Gott
After I split with my baseball-loving high school boyfriend, I tried following basketball. Basketball is the opposite of baseball. Basketball is fast. Baseball is slow. A basketball is large. A baseball is small. Basketball games have high scores. Baseball scores are low. Indoors vs. outdoors. You know. Opposites didn’t attract, that time, though. My next boyfriend liked his car more than he liked me.
Anyway, girls’ sports were not a “thing” during my high school days. Girls were cheerleaders. I was not, but that’s a different story. Boys played sports.
It would take an act of Congress, namely Title IX, an amendment to the Federal Civil Rights law, to prohibit gender discrimination in all federally funded education programs. Including sports.
Signed into law as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, President Richard Nixon assured all girls, starting with the ones who graduated the year after me (whew!), equal access to all kinds of opportunities, including sports.
Myself excluded, there was lots of pent-up desire on the part of girls and their families for organized sports. In those early days, before 1971, only 1 in 27 high school girls played sports. Now half of all high school girls do. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/birch-bayh-former-indiana-senator-who-authored-title-ix-dead-at-age-91-2019-3-14/
Even though Title IX’s best known aspect is the inclusion of access to sports, it is not limited to that access.
The original text reads:
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 education program or
activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
I guess high school and college sports are about the most visible and the most blatantly discriminated aspect. But, unheard of as it was, one of the boys in my class of over 800 students, fought hard and won a place in Home Economics. Before Title IX.
Senator Birch Bayh, who passed away recently (March 14, 2019), co-wrote and introduced Title IX, and worked hard to get it passed into law. After his co-author, Congressman Patsy Mink, died in 2002, Title IX was officially renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_IX Well, she’s a woman, and the amendment protected against gender discrimination, but Senator Bayh was one of the really good guys.
The P.T.M.E.O. in E.A. (Title IX) might be the most well-known part of his legacy, but not his only impact on all our lives.
The year before, in 1971, when several of my high school classmates graduated, joined up, and went to Viet Nam, Bayh sponsored the twenty-sixth constitutional amendment lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. It was ratified that same year on July 1, in time for me to request an absentee ballot. I sent it in from college.
And before that, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, the vice presidency remained vacant for over a year. There was no provision for filling the office between elections. Birch Bayh recognized the need to provide for presidential succession and crafted the 25th Amendment. It was ratified in 1967.
Maybe the person who gained the most from its passage was Gerald Ford. He succeeded Spiro Agnew as Nixon’s VP. (Agnew resigned as the result of a criminal investigation dating back to his time as Governor of Maryland). Then Ford meteored to the White House when Nixon resigned.
And here we are in the middle of March Madness. Collegiate sports are still segregated by gender. And only the boys compete. I’m not saying we need to integrate boys and girls teams, but maybe the girls could have a little madness of their own!
RIP Senator Birch Bayh
January 22, 1928 – March 14, 2019
-—stay curious! (have fun)