Friday, June 11, 2010

The Girls of Summer Explained

The first “Girls of Summer” were the all-female baseball teams of the late 19th to mid 20th century. But the “Girls of Summer” the cats were referring to are the Indiana Fever, a WNBA team based in Indianapolis. Karen and Gale are big fans of women’s basketball; in the winter they follow their local university team, and in the summer they travel to Conseco Fieldhouse to cheer for the Fever. The Fever, who lost in the league championships to the Phoenix Mercury in 2010, will begin their 11th season on May 7th.

It may seem odd to some, who consider basketball a winter sport, but for fans of the WNBA, summer is the perfect time for basketball. For the owners of large arenas that would otherwise sit empty most of the spring and summer, a women’s professional basketball league has been a good fit. These games are very family-friendly events; the tickets are affordable and readily available, and there are a variety of pre and post-game events geared toward children. Best of all, it gives these athletes a chance to compete in their own country after college, although a large number of the women also compete overseas during the winter months.

A few words about Title IX: Title IX was enacted in 1972, and declares that no educational institution that receives federal funding can discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs. This simple declaration threw open the doors of opportunity for generations of women; 38 years later, grandmothers are still in awe at the number of sports and other activities their granddaughters take for granted that they will be allowed to participate in. Just recently, Vice President Joe Biden announced the Obama administration would be closing a loophole in Title IX, which since 2005 had allowed enforcement of Title IX to be somewhat watered down. I’ll let Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, explain the impact of the new ruling (she’s much more eloquent than I am):

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