I guess I can safely say that at my age, I have seen the complete emergence of women’s sports.
When I joined the high school coaching ranks, high school girls played sports at a club level, at best. That is they did not have recognized teams, no organized schedules and played games that were designed to protect the so called ‘weaker sex.”
The sports pages rarely followed the women sports except at the professional level, and that was mainly tennis and golf.
Girls basketball for example, had many games with six players — three played offense, three played defense, and if you were on one or the other, you never crossed the center line.
The number of sports was very limited, maybe club track, or club softball or volleyball. Today there are as many girls teams in most high schools and colleges as boys teams. And they are in competition for league championships, and state and national titles and drawing good crowds, too.
The female athlete of today is not the one I remember growing up. First and foremost, today’s female athlete does not run like the female of my younger day. They had a delicate little jaunt that looked like they did not want to look like a male, or mess up their hair. That day is gone.
My daughters went through what I might call the transition era. They ran track but they were still on the feminine side. Although they played hard, they were promoting their looks more than an athletic side. One in fact played tennis on the boys team I think because the practices were not as tough and more boys were on hand.
However, my granddaughters played soccer and ran track. By that time, the female athlete was making a break through and they played hard and to win.
I saw where a minor league class AAA baseball team named a woman as their manager. Pro sports for women are booming today. Over this past weekend I saw a female rugby match between Australia and France.
No protective equipment and they were pounding each other.
And unlike some pro soccer players, when they got hit, they bounced right up and did not remain on the ground in pain for whatever reason.
I could picture one of those women coming home, bruised from head to toe, a tooth or more missing, and yelling to her husband as she limps through the door, “What did you fix for dinner sweety?”
I think the whole picture is great. My old school habits still cause me to watch more male sports than female sports, but I find myself watching several female sports and admiring the athleticism of the participants.
Don’t you guys agree?
Tony Lamke is a former coach. He writes a periodic column for the News Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.