Thursday, February 01, 2007

Surprise! Girls' sports don't suck

This editorial by a sports journalist in Virginia whose job basically mandates he cover women's high school sports has an odd tone. He confesses to being raised in an era when women's sports were so second class he never even bothered to pay much attention.
But surprise!--he has been excited to see the progress in women's sports since his school days. He credits Title IX--though spreads some misinformation about how a school achieves compliance. (He has the three prongs but implies that all three need to be met for compliance.)
But overall he portrays women's sports as so bad before that there is the implication of "nowhere to go but up."
He also measures progress using hegemonic sport as a model. For example, girls' sports must be better because girls are now practicing their sport year-round. He also recognizes the high level of coaching in both girls' and boys' athletics. But he fails to note that after the passage of Title IX the number of women's coaches dramatically--over 50 percent in some sports. Because of the belief that women were not as qualified and the increase in salaries that made coaching women's sports more lucrative and this respectable. Also, it's much easier to be a good coach when you have what you need like equipment, facilities, assistant coaches, etc.
I like seeing, in print, praise for girls' and women's sports, but not when it comes in the form of "it was once so bad but now it's more enjoyable--like men's sports."

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