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Carol Perkins: Title IX
Previous Column: A Long Winter's Nap
By Carol Perkins
The Metcalfe County High School celebrated fifty years of Title IX recently during Homecoming 2023 and invited former girls' basketball players and coaches to attend. Girls from the first team in 1974 until last year lined the sides of the gym.
What a grand night of celebration and a thrill to see former students. The first girls' basketball coach was Gary Richardson, affectionately referred to by his teams as GL. Beside him was his first assistant coach, Mary Alice Yokley. Both received standing ovations.
The onset of Title IX called for equal rights in all schools for girls and boys without sex-based discrimination. This would mean for every boy sport, there would need to be one for girls. It would be ten years after I graduated from MCHS that the first team was formed. Finally, when the gates opened, athletic girls (and some not so athletic) embraced this chance to play ball, and later softball, tennis, golf, track and field, volleyball, etc.). Until that time, a girl could be a cheerleader, but that was the only "sport" granted her. She could otherwise be a "fan" and cheer for the boys.
Girls' basketball wasn't immediately embraced. I watched many spectators arrive at games during halftime. They were simply not attuned to watching girls play ball, even when the finest players later played college ball. Family and friends were loyal, but that didn't fill the home side. However, attendance has significantly improved at Metcalfe County High. That Friday night, the stands were filled before the jump ball.
When girls' basketball began, playing schedules changed. Freshmen and JV now played on a different night. (I don't think we have JV anymore, do we?) Cheerleaders could cheer both games or we could have two squads. I don't remember the process during the early years, but by 1979 (I think), Ms. Yokley and I were sponsors and came up with an idea. We would have our freshman and sophomores be the Girls' Varsity squad and the juniors and seniors the boys' varsity squad. Even then, we often rotated the squads. Our first Girls' Varsity squad won our regional competitions (KAPOS) and competed well at the state. By then, other schools had boys' and girls' squads.
Fifty years. Has it been that long? Yes, I guess it has. Many thanks to head coach Heidi Coleman, her coaching staff, and the administration for making this night happen.
You can contact Carol at email@example.com.
This story was posted on 2023-01-13 07:14:52
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