Sunday, October 7, 2012

More Girl Power

Our budding writer received another honor this week when she was asked to read her essay on Title IX at a statue dedication ceremony for former Lady Longhorn Coach Jody Conradt. It was a lovely, very crowded, event, but all of the Ann Richards girls did an excellent job, and Georgia got an enthusiastic response to the story of her great aunt, Ruthie. There were over 600 folks in attendance, so the best picture I could get was of the giant video screen!

 Even with 900 career wins, the most important number to Coach Conradt is 99:
the percentage of her players who graduated from college.

 Out of 683 essays, one girl from each grade was asked to read hers.
Several people at the ceremony were friends with Ann Richards, 
and it is always extra special to hear, "Governor Richards would be so proud of you."
Georgia's essay:
What Title IX Means to Me

         Title IX is important to me because it promotes fairness. It requires that boys and girls be provided with equal opportunities to participate in sports and other school activities. It also requires that female athletes receive athletic scholarships, equipment, and coaching that are equivalent to what male athletes receive. Because it promotes equality, I think of Title IX as civil rights legislation, and I am grateful for the opportunities it has given me, especially since I know that other women in my family never got those same opportunities. 
        My great aunt grew up playing baseball, and when she was in high school during World War II, she was asked to play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). Many male professional baseball players had joined the military, so the female players were brought in to keep baseball going while the men were away. At first, the crowds made fun of the women, but once people saw that they could really play, the league became very popular, and my great aunt was a crowd favorite and All-Star player. But after the war was over, the men returned, and the AAGPBL eventually closed down.
         Title IX wasn’t enacted until 1972, so my great aunt didn’t have the opportunity to play sports for her school because there weren’t any girls’ teams. She only played with friends in vacant lots, and they used old equipment. Her family didn’t have much money, and without an athletic scholarship, she couldn’t afford to go to college. She worked for the government her whole adult life, but she was able to coach several girls’ softball teams and helped many girls in her town win championships and get college scholarships. Her athletic skills were finally recognized in 1988 when the AAGPBL was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but I’m sure if Title IX had been enacted for her generation, her life would have been much different, and baseball would have been an even bigger part of it.
         Even though I don’t play sports, I know that I have been affected by Title IX. When I was little, I played on soccer and basketball teams that sometimes included boys. It was a great experience for me because I felt like I was being treated fairly, and I had a uniform and a good coach – all thanks to Title IX. I also think Title IX has helped girls get other equal opportunities and created schools like Ann Richards that empower girls to “attend and graduate from college” and “lead with courage and compassion.” As I get older, it will help keep me focused and keep my eye on the prize – a college education!

 Thanks for everything, Coach Conradt - Hook 'em!

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