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Title IX – More than a Game; An Opportunity

Sports

By Elaine Guerrazzi | June 22, 2020

On June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed the Education amendment act, Title IX. The law says, “students cannot be denied participation in any school program solely based on their sex.”  Title IX is not without controversy, but I feel lucky to have been attending high school at the time.  As I reflect on the past 45+ years Title IX has been more than a game; it has been an opportunity.  

My Visual Blossom, titled “Title IX to Blog” shares my entry into sports and introduces the idea that the outcomes of sports participation exceed the physical aspect of active engagement.  I view the sports environment as a mini-society or participatory model of life. I feel that the developmental opportunities in the larger world and those in the sports environment are similar.

The most important outcome of my three years of high athletic participation and serving as a Senior Prep Assistant with Miss B was the understanding that blending the academic and co-curricular experience affects learning and development. Darling-Hammond, Flook, Cook-Harvey, Barron, & Osher (2019) confirm that human development is a lifelong process of acquiring, analyzing, and synthesizing information, ideas, and knowledge.

My education and athletic pursuits guided my career path

My competitive athletic life continued after college for another 20 years.  I ran road races from 5K to half marathon and competed in triathlons and duathlons. In 1987 I earned the “Open Runner of the Year” award and in 1995 I was the Senior Women Bike Time Trial champion. 

Serving as a recreational sports administrator for 10 years I contributed to the profession through presentations and research supporting the idea of the value sports participation on student development.  

The next 10 years serving as Director of Research and Assessment I studied the relationship between academic and co-curricular experiences and the ability of these experiences to facilitate student development and achievement.

As an adjunct faculty member in the School of Education Graduate Program for the next 15 years, I primarily taught research courses. In this faculty position I also directed my energy to mentoring doctoral students’ research initiatives as a subject matter expert on student development. 

Life stages overlapped and influenced others, but the foundation remained clear. I was the first generation to benefit from Title IX.  Title IX afforded many opportunities that led to many life lessons. The nine life lessons listed below is a partial list of what I learned through my sports participation that has carried over to other aspects of life.

Camaraderie (relationship building) from being part of a team

Sportsmanship being ethical and fair in my participation

Grace and resilience through experiencing successes and failures

Leadership through using my strengths to the best of my abilities through collaboration and cooperation

Confidence to pursue my goals

Time Management to aid in balancing life and work

Commitment to follow through on goals for self and for the team

Identity became grounded in principles and practices that define who I am

Integrity to abide by rules within the team and the sport

Title IX has directly and indirectly (formally and informally) influenced my life.  I strive to share my passion for life and learning by helping others connect the pieces in ways that matter.

Success is not how far you got,
but the distance you traveled
from where you started.
Steve Prefontaine

We all have dreams,
in order ot make dreams come into reality,
it takes an awful lot of
determination, dedication,
self-discipline, and effort.
Jesse Owens

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