Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not a Title IX victory

So there's an interesting column out of San Diego whose local Little League teams are in their playoff season trying to qualify for the LL World Series in Williamsport later this summer.
It comments on a situation in which a team manager appealed to the game umps after it appeared that the opposing team's base runner missed home plate thus giving the appealing team the win.
The manager who appealed is a woman. Mostly the story is about how apparently cutthroat Little League has become though the writer kind of shrugs that off and says "c'est la vie"--metaphorically--not literally.
He then turns it into a triumph of Title IX story that a woman is a Little League manager and that she was so bold and so confident in her competitive ways (honed in her days as an intercollegiate athlete in softball and tennis). So she's not some softy woman apparently. Loretta Barlow is tough and not interested in the feelings of the other team, the writer says and then, in what I see as a non sequitur, basically attributes this to Title IX.
First, I don't really see what she did--appeal a ruling--as anything indicative of super competitiveness. My softball team tries to appeal to the umpire all the time--to no avail every time--and we're in a very casual, feminist-inspired league. You can be competitive and still have consideration for the other team, for the game, for the sport. Women didn't learn that when Title IX was passed. What's sad is that most people have forgotten the basics of good sportswoman/manship.
And second I think one of the tragedies that has come in the wake of Title IX is the lack of awareness in female athletes themselves. That Barlow can say (and this is what inspired this whole post) "The only difference between me and the men who are managers is that I put color on my lips." Let me tell you, if you think the only difference between you and the mens is lipstick, Title IX and feminism as a whole really just went over your head. You have received the benefits without doing any of the work. Not even some basic observing of the world you live in.

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