Title IX: Pioneers

August 10, 2012

As part of our season-long celebration of Title IX, the Storm is honoring some of our area's pioneers in women's sports. They will be recognized at the Aug. 16 game against the Phoenix Mercury. We talked with four of these women about what sports mean to them and how Title IX has impacted their lives.

Dr. Colleen Hacker

Dr. Colleen Hacker serves as the mental skills coach to professional, international and Olympic athletes in a variety of sports, including Major League Baseball, the NFL, WNBA, professional soccer, swimming, crew, speed skating, track and field and tennis. She is also currently a professor in Movement Studies and Wellness Education at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma.

What does sports mean to you?
Sport has been part of my DNA since the moment I could walk. From youth sports to three high school sports to three intercollegiate sports to an invitation to two Olympic Trials in two different sports (field hockey and handball) and now as a marathoner (five) and half-marathoner (25), there has never been a time in life when sport and purposeful physical activity has not played a significant part of my true and authentic self. Sport, for me, represents a chance for me to discover important and enduring parts of myself that no other activity on earth can provide. I've run on almost every continent, I have served on the coaching staff for four Olympic Games and traveled the world through sport. Many years ago, I set a goal to try one new physical activity every year of my life and that goal has led to amazing and memorable opportunities to challenge myself, to learn, to grow, to problem solve, to succeed, to fail, to recover, to endure pain, to laugh, to be with loved ones, to change, to persevere ... the list, thankfully is endless! In the past four years alone I have rock climbed in Alaska, stand up paddled in Hawaii, run two marathons four months apart, paddled an outrigger canoe and zip lined through the jungle. I can't wait for this year's adventure!

How has Title IX impacted your life?
Title IX has impacted my life, my career, my opportunities and the lives of girls and women, men and boys in significant and powerful ways. I went to college prior to Title IX - no scholarships, no equality in facilities, uniforms, travel, notoriety, etc. etc. Then to witness the explosion of opportunities for participation at all levels in ways that I could never have imagined is both inspiring and incredible. Title IX positively impacted ALL human beings in America, NOT JUST girls and women. Everyone can see strong and talented women now. Everyone can see capable, high-achieving and hard-working girls and women in a wide range of sports and at all levels of participation and competition. Sport now provides the opportunities for girls and women to access the benefits enjoyed by boys and men for decades. Those opportunities have led to benefits in school, in sport, in business, in relationships, and in life. We are not done. Leadership opportunities still lag behind, greater access must occur for girls and women of color and those with less economic affluence but we are hopefully getting there.

JoAnn Carbonetti

JoAnn Carbonetti taught and coached volleyball and basketball at Bishop Blanchet High School beginning in 1972. Her teams earned volleyball Metro League titles three times and made three trips to the state volleyball tournament. Carbonetti became athletic director at Blanchet in the early 1980s and is currently principal of Park Place Middle School in Monroe in addition to representing the state's middle level principals on the WIAA board.

What does sports mean to you?
A chance to push myself physically and see my potential. Most of my social life was around sports and athletics. I learned my strengths emotionally and physically that led me to leadership positions in teaching and in high school athletics.

How has Title IX impacted your life?
I started teaching and coaching in 1972 at the the high school level. With the passing of Title IX, the "girls" got to participate in "real" leagues, and get equitable time in the gym and on the fields for our practices. I was able to continue to work with girls' team and compete in league, regional and state competitions, helping many young ladies learn their capabilities as athletes and young leaders.

Karen Troainello

The former Karen Blair was the named plaintiff in the landmark Blair v. Washington State University lawsuit in 1979 that brought about greater gender equity in college athletics. The case argued that women were denied an equal education by WSU because the women's athletic programs received less support than their male counterparts. Some three years later, Blair and her fellow plaintiffs won the case, leading to better resources for women's sports at the collegiate level.

What does sports mean to you?
I see people having such joy playing sports, whether they are golfing, playing softball with their co-workers or if they are jogging with friends early in the morning. While my forte was in individual sports, I know that being part of a team is an exciting and motivating factor for many students. Professional sports offer community focus and the potential for role models - people who have worked hard to hone their physical and mental skills, play fair and behave well, too! Few of us will ever attain professional or Olympic status, but many people who enjoy competing will go on to be coaches who will help others. I love that there are soccer leagues, field hockey groups, and that people head to the hills to ski and snowboard. Our lives would be poorer if we did not have the physical outlet offered by sports.

How has Title IX impacted your life?
I spent a great deal of my adult life saying, Title IX had nothing to do with me, because the lawsuit, Blair v. Washington State University, was filed using the state's Equal Rights Amendment, as officials were still arguing about whether Title IX really could be used for sports equity. However, I've learned a lot more about Title IX (everyone involved in women's sports should read Karen Blumenthal's book, Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX) and even though I knew nothing about it in 1972, it was written for me! (And you, and you, and you!) We all have so much to be grateful for because so many women (and men) before us blazed the trail for women to feel free to find the path meant for them, whatever that might be. Our country is better when we encourage every person to find their talents and different ways to contribute to our community.

Catherine "Kit" Green

Catherine "Kit" Green is the former associate athletic director at the University of Washington, where she served in the athletic department for 20 years. She was elected to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame and the Husky Hall of Fame.

What does sports mean to you?

Sports encompass physical activities that one engages in for many reasons - physical fitness, a competitive urge, group affiliation, social engagement and simply pleasure. Athletics are a subset of sports.

How has Title IX impacted your life?
My greatest involvement in sports was a result of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX's implementation at the University of Washington led directly to my appointment in 1974 as the Associate Director for Womens Intercollegiate Athletics. Later, I became Senior Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics with responsibility for all women's and men's teams except football and men's basketball. In this capacity I recommended candidates for coaching positions, prepared team budgets, traveled to events, served on NCAA and Pac-10 committees, and otherwise generally oversaw the functioning of Husky intercollegiate teams. I retired from the University of Washington in 1994 and was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame in 1998.

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