Readers’ Workouts — the Mother’s Day edition
Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.
Last week’s 11 Random Exercise Facts about Me combined with the upcoming Mother’s Day observance this weekend, got me thinking about the differences between my mother and me when it came to exercise. Most of the difference came courtesy of Title IX.
I was just the right age to see the impact of Title IX. In my first two years of high school, the only interscholastic sports I could play were basketball and track. I tried basketball my freshman year (I sucked) and no one ever suggested that I try track.
Volleyball came along when I was a Junior in high school because the schools needed a fall sport for girls when the boys had football. I had just enough skill, in a sport that we were all learning from scratch, to be an asset to my team in volleyball. The team appreciated me most, it must be said, on pep rally days. Someone had to represent the team at the mic in front of the whole school — leave it to the egghead. Aside from my ability to memorize a short speech, I didn’t have a reputation for coolness to protect.
Looking at one year of basketball and two years of volleyball (but I didn’t play the second year due to injury), it doesn’t seem like much. But it was everything. My brain had the concept, from a young age, that women exercised and played sports. My mother still wrestled with that concept when I was playing. She was careful to not let her prejudices limit what I did, but I witnessed the struggle sometimes. The most visible, although I didn’t fully understand it at the time, was her insistence that I wear a skirt on the aforementioned pep rally days when I stood in front of the whole school.
With that early experience behind me, I’ve almost always had some form of exercise in my life — even when I was overweight. As an adult, I took exercise classes (aerobics in a variety of styles, yoga, stretching), played racquetball and softball, swam, ran, walked, hiked, snowshoed. All things my mother didn’t do or think to do. When she had aches and pains, she rested and went to doctors and took pills. When I have aches and pains, I try to figure out what movement is lacking or being overdone — and I almost always work out a solution. What a great tool!
Title IX passed in 1972, but it took a few years to work its way into the form we think of it today — volleyball showed up at my high school in 1978. How has Title IX effected you? Do you see differences between yourself and your mother when it comes to the role of physical activity in your lives?
For Readers’ Workouts, talk about your fitness activities on your blog (feel free to grab the logo) and link to your post below or join us in the comments! Be sure to visit the other participants to see how we all did.
What a great question. I was born in the early 80s so I always took it for granted the availability of sports for girls. The boys’ sports were still bigger and more celebrated, but playing a sport was always an option.
I wasn’t really into sports in high school, but I do remember that there were options. Raising my kids (both boys) I was very aware of the fact that both boys and girls had a multitude of options. When my boys were little they were on co-ed baseball teams and I loved that it was just a natural occurrence for them from a young age. This is when your attitudes develop.
Title IX passed one year after I graduated from high school, so it was a little late for me. Nonetheless, I was thrilled that girls would finally get the same opportunities as boys. My daughters played sports in high school and it was one of the best parts of their adolescence.
What really resonated here for me was your observation that we work with our bodies now to solve problems instead of just putting things into them. I love seeing this awareness in my own children – to know what they can ask of their bodies and how in turn the body responds.
Like Helene, I was a year late for Title IX. In my high school field hockey was the only sport for girls. Tall big girls with sticks in a cold muddy field did not appeal to this short small easily chilled girl!
My Mother was a big golfer. She walked the course and played for over 45 years several days a week. In High School she won so many tournaments that with the prizes being a gift card at a sporting goods store, I was able to buy a new jacket, pants, gloves and hat! Not a golfer she encouraged me to bike and I try to bike daily. My knees hurt if I don’t get on the bike or do some sort of exercise!
I was very surprised to find Coach Davis looking back at me in my twitter feed today. I don’t recall the names of everyone in the picture, but there are several on that team that I didn’t recall as playing sports.
Did you find me on Twitter as a librarian book blogger? Or did I find you as a writer? And, then it turns out there’s the Louisiana, MO connection? The world seems small today!
Love this post. When I was in 5th grade my elementary team started a co-ed soccer team (city league, for your school). I signed up and have fond memories of running the field, spiking the ball. The issue… when I went to junior high (sames school district), they didn’t have soccer. So I played for two seasons.
Great question! I never played high school sports, but I did play recreational softball until I was a senior in high school. That was a lot of fun, although I never remember being much of an exerciser. I never spent much time thinking about what it must have been like for kids to be in school when Title IX went into effect — sounds like a good thing for you and the rest of the girls at your school!
Wow, I am so late this week. Anyway, I had no interest in athletics in school. We had options I just didn’t care. I was in the band though and marching band can be a workout.
I went to eh gym last night and ran about 4 miles on the treadmill – slowly, but still I was proud of myself.
Ohh I have no idea what Title IX is, but I suppose for the context that it’s a kind of law for girls to be allowed to play sports in schools, is it?
In my case, I was born in the early 80s so I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. I did rhythmic Gymnastics for several years, and at the age of 18 I started to work in a gym as an instructor, so I have always done exercise.
My mother’s case is the opposite because she hates exercising, so she has never done anything apart from the exercise she did at school; it’s a shame, because my father, who is her age, is very sportive, but he can’t get her to do the same!!