We are iSport360 and are passionate about youth sports, not just about the time spent on and off the field as a youth athlete. But the many lessons learned from sports and the opportunities it opens. Here are 4 stories, each one from a different perspective from someone on our team. Read our 4 Title IX Stories.
- The College Athlete from the 90’s
- The current DI Track and Field Athlete
- The Girl Dad, coach, volunteer, CEO
- The former DI basketball player and coach
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
– Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972
AMY DANTE MASTERS – NCAA 2X NATIONAL CHAMP/ALL-AMERICAN FIELD HOCKEY
It was the early 80’s and I was dragged to sign up for baseball. Maybe dragging is a bit harsh lol. My dad grew up with 7 brothers and my mom had 3 sisters and 8 brothers. Baseball was big. And having 2 girls of their own, well, we were going to play sports. I knew how to throw a spiral and a baseball, I could spit without making a mess and I shook hands with a tight grip.
While in the line to sign up for baseball, a man came up to my dad to tell him that there was a new girls softball league. Well the next 10 years were history. I played softball, was selected all county and all conference. But my true love happened in 9th grade when I picked up a field hockey stick. I was athletic enough to play varsity and tough enough to withstand a lot. I knew I didn’t want to end my career in high school.
After visiting a lot of big colleges (some to the likes of Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers), I met Sharon Taylor. She was the head coach at Lock Haven University in PA. It felt like being in the presence of the “Vince Lombardi” of field hockey. I walked out of her office, turned to my dad and told him I was coming to LHU. That was it.
Title IX opened up doors for me that I really never thought one second about. It allowed me to play sports, learn so many life skills from playing sports, helped me get multiple jobs in the business field and meet amazing people.
SARA PUSKAR – CURRENT D1 ATHLETE – TRACK & FIELD
Anyone who has ever competed in track has heard the obvious cliches like “I bet I could beat you in a race” or “I could definitely run faster than you.” These playful comments help contribute to one of the most important tools I’ve learned through competing which is confidence.
As a woman, it’s so important to have confidence in yourself to be successful in sports and life in general. Sports have allowed me to find this in myself that wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the hundreds of practices, games, and new teams I’ve been a part of. Growing up, I played around six different sports. This ranged from being on a travel soccer team to competing in downhill ski races. All of the time and effort my parents put into driving me around, showing up to my games, and cheering me on at every event is something I will never take for granted. Having this kind of support through my family and friends created the feeling that I could do anything I put my mind to. This feeling correlates to what I’m currently experiencing at the collegiate level.
At the beginning of my track career, I was in seventh grade and told my parents that I wanted to be a long jumper. Although they were doubtful at first because of my size (5ft 3”), they watched me win the very first meet I ever competed in. From there on, I became successful in high school with records and first place titles.
These successes lead me to Binghamton University where I’m currently a student athlete for a Division I track team. Anyone will tell you that being a Division I athlete is hard work, but you don’t understand how difficult it is until you’re in it. I’m surrounded by powerful and confident athletes that provide each other with unconditional encouragement. I look up to the captains on my team who advocate for the girls on my team and women in general. I’ve always loved how sports connect people together and being a part of this group of women that provide so much support for each other makes all the difference in my collegiate experience. I’m truly grateful that Title IX will continue to give young girls the opportunity to follow their dreams like I currently am.
IAN GOLDBERG – #GirlDad, VOLUNTEER COACH AND CEO of iSport360
Since my two teenage daughters have had the opportunity to play every sport they’ve ever wanted without bias or discrimination, I sometimes forget that girls and young women faced a very different environment before Title XI. But I was reminded of that years ago when I took my 5 year old daughter to the sporting goods store to buy her first baseball mitt and bat….yes, I did say “baseball”, not “softball”. Yet the white-haired salesman at the store kept nudging us towards the softball gear and my 5-year old just looked at me like “dad, why is this guy not getting the picture that I want to play baseball not softball”.
Since then my life has been filled with days at the ball fields and basketball courts with my daughters….usually as their coach but always as their biggest fans. Watching my daughters and their teammates thrive as athletes and as young women makes my life whole. And I have to admit, as I occasionally watch boys teams training nearby: I wouldn’t even know what to do with a team full of boys. I love the focus, maturity, dedication that young women bring to their sport. And that’s why Title XI is so important to me..
AMBER DEANE – DI BASKETBALL AND COACH
I can’t imagine my life without sports. Specifically basketball. I made my first hoop when I was just three years old. Granted it was a ‘granny-style’ shot, I didn’t care – I just loved the way a ‘swish’ sounded. I fell in love with everything basketball had to offer.
I watched countless hours of WNBA and NBA games and played pretend games in my backyard. While dribbling toward the hoop, I would shout “5 4 3 2 1” at the top of my lungs before shooting a pretend gamer winner so often that I could barely speak at school the next day due to a sore throat.
Reflecting back on my adolescence, it’s hard to remember much outside of school and basketball. I still have my first pair of basketball sneakers, my first ever uniform and my first ever trophy. I was and still am smitten.
My youthful passion only intensified once I stepped foot on the University of Dayton’s campus as a very excited freshman. It was day one and I wanted to go straight to the basketball gym. In order to get there, I had to pass through Dayton’s “Athletic Hall of Fame”. I stopped and read about all of the wonderful athletes that attended the school before me.
My jaw dropped when I saw Ann Meyers – more specifically, her uniform. I was amazed at the difference between hers and the one I would be wearing in a few short months. I then went on to read that she was the most decorated athlete to ever attend the University of Dayton even 40 years post-graduation.
Meyers was a three-time All-American and led Dayton to a national championship, scoring a whopping 40 points in the game. But here is the real kicker – she was not a full-ride scholarship athlete. The University of Dayton did not offer full scholarships to female athletes in 1976.
Meyers’ scholarship was half for academics and half for athletics. As a full-ride scholarship female student-athlete, I stood there both quiet and humble. I later learned that Ann Meyers was a Title IX trailblazer.
Title IX has helped me so much and I’m forever grateful.
For more information from iSport360, see below.
To read more about Title IX, click here. And to read more from iSport360 on how we are supporting female sports, read our post from Eyekonz Lacrosse founder, Jazmine Smith. Learn how Jazmine has created an inclusive environment for youth lacrosse and field hockey in inner city Philadelphia. For the article click here.
And for more about Title IX, click here.