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A Tiny Moment of Awe
This morning, those of us who were born just in time to take advantage of Title IX noticed one more small result of the 1972 legislation (prohibiting gender discrimination at schools that receive federal money). Back then, we heard from our mothers about "all" that we could do—and then we took to the soccer fields and running tracks, trying to figure out what the heck the "all" was. The potential was exciting, for us and our mothers, aunts and neighbors who weren't invited to join high-level sports and almost yanked out when they did (hello, Boston Marathon 1967).
And yet, seeing the U.S. Women's World Cup victory yesterday on the front page of The New York Times sports section and the U.S. Women's Open for golf covered inside has given us a whole new kind of joy, especially the soccer story.
It was also covered, via AP reports, in The Detroit Free Press, Atlanta Journal Constitution and elsewhere. With good reason: For the first time in years, the Americans aren't favored to win this World Cup (competition in women's international sports is heating up—drama!). The team played Brazil, who has Marta, perhaps the current Pele of women's soccer. The game itself had ups and downs, and the quotes afterward—from the players to the coach—were lump-in-your-throat inducing. (Really, go read them.)
But it was this sentence in The San Francisco Chronicle that got us: "Running low on hope and time, the Americans were surely beaten. ... And then, with one of the most thrilling goals in U.S. history, they weren't."
Not U.S. women's sports history. In sports. Full stop. Which is nice. But what's nicer still is that it means if you are 7 or 10 or 12 years old, you don't have to imagine a woman doing one of the most thrilling things in U.S. sports history. You can watch it here.
Elsewhere you can watch female Olympic hockey teams, LPGA golfers and collegiate lacrosse players compete at top levels, and you will read about their victories and losses in the papers. Also thrilling, no?
That was today's discovery. That there's a difference between hearing what women could do and seeing them do it this very minute. The difference between the girls we used to be and the girls right now, who can look at these mightily talented women and think, "I can do what she did...and I can do it even better."
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