Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sports for Her

Sports for Her is a great book for high school, and middle school girls to read; or even parents, teachers and coaches for that matter. This book deals with many of the issues that girls who play sports or wish to play sports may face. Girls today may take for granted their ability and acceptance in the world of athletics, but it is important that they know some of the history behind it. “Girls’ sports programs were scarce in high schools until 1972, when federal legislation passed mandating equal opportunities for all in educational institutions (Hastings, 1999, p.7).” Today, one in three high school girls plays sports, whereas in the 70’s it was closer to one in 27 (Hastings). So these opportunities have not been around for all that long. The book even described how ancient artifacts, cave drawings, and written documents about earlier civilizations had very little evidence of women ever participating in sports. Obviously these topics are different in other cultures, but sports were thought of “in much the same way as warfare, with only the men taking part. Women, whose traditional responsibility was giving birth and taking care of the home and family, were exempted from fighting and discouraged—in most cases forbidden—from taking part in sporting activities (Hastings).” In this country, girls and women that participate in sports consider themselves both feminine and athletic; whereas other parts of the world still forbid girls to even take part.

This book also contained interviews from young girls and some of the problems they faced playing sports; one of the most common experiences was the biases they faced being a girl. Another girl they interviewed had been injured and out of the game for months. She said, ‘‘When I wasn’t playing soccer and running track, I was miserable. My weight increased and my self-confidence declined. I love sports! I can’t imagine a sedentary life.” Dot Richardson, 1996 U.S. women’s softball gold medallist gave another example. She grew up playing ball with her father and two brothers, when she was ten she wanted to join the little league team. They told her she could as long as she cut her and agreed to be called Bob. Thankfully she refused this! Can you imagine just wanting to play ball, but having to lie at that age to do it?

I have always been into sports; my parents got my brother and I involved in T-Ball at a young age. I always enjoyed playing but as I got a little older I wanted to keep playing baseball with my brother and the same kids in the neighborhood that we always played with. Yet in our little league, boys played baseball and girls played softball. I know this is how it is “supposed” to be, but I was pissed when I got put on an all girls team, and had to wear a pink jersey! Luckily today, girls sports are popular in school, and there are so many opportunities out there starting at a young age. Girls that are already involved in sports and those that are considering should read this book. They can learn more about different sports, and the rules; and also information relating to sports like how to deal with your coach, nutrition, and even their future opportunities with sports.

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