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This year, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX. Over the four decades since Richard Nixon signed Title IX into law, ensuring equal treatment of the sexes in any educational program receiving federal aid - including sports - the value of participation in athletics for girls has been demonstrated time and again. This goes far beyond the WNBA and other professional leagues. It's about giving girls strong female role models, and the life lessons learned on the court or field that translate in the business world.

Force 10 Hoops, LLC

Lisa Brummel: "It's amazing to me now to see the evolution from where we were, having to wash our own uniforms, to the ability that girls have to participate in sports at a very early age. I wonder, had I been able to do this in an organized way starting at age six or seven or eight, what it would have been like for me. I think it's fantastic and wonderful that we can give back to see those opportunities come to fruition for a lot of girls these days."

Ginny Gilder: "Rowing became the centerpoint of my life in college. We got very involved in Title IX because the facilities the women had in the rowing program were very different from the men's, so we staged a big strip-in that ended up hitting the international wires. It went out all over the world. Our university was embarrassed and ended up building an addition to the boathouse the next year. I got my introduction to the politics of women's sports and the inequities in college. Sports and my belief in equal access to opportunity started with my involvement as an athlete."

Storm Staff

President and CEO Karen Bryant: "I'll never forget the first time I watched Cheryl Miller play. I don't remember how old I was, but I might have been out of high school. As I was really developing an interest in basketball, I never had an opportunity to watch girls play professionally. I knew there was a barrier. I could go to a UW women's game and watch girls play basketball, but if I was going to sit at home and watch basketball with my dad on TV, that was going to be men's college or the NBA. It was a real message to me as a young girl, however subconscious, that there was a limit on how far I could go. The WNBA symbolizes that the same opportunities that are there for men are now there for women, too."

Corporate Sponsorship Service Coordinator Shanon Burke: "I was very shy when I was younger. Playing on the soccer team at my high school offered me a chance to get out of my shell and meet new people. As a part of the soccer team, I also learned valuable lessons about teamwork and how to create a functioning unit when not everyone agrees."

Vice President of Marketing Shannon Burley: "I would not be in the position that I am in if it were not for sports. I would not have a college degree and I would not have learned the intricacies of not just playing on a team but of how to work as a team to accomplish a goal. Playing sports helped me to understand just how rewarding hard work truly is."

Account Executive Lisa Nielsen: "Playing sports at the high school level specifically gave me an avenue to express myself, my athletic abilities and ultimately gain confidence in myself as a strong female. Sports allowed me an opportunity to not only showcase who I was as an athlete but also as an individual, teaching me so much about myself and how to communicate, collaborate and appreciate others."

This story involves all of us. Tell us what the opportunity to play sports has meant to you in the comments. Selected answers will become part of this page!

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