Title IX: Women in Senior Sports

by Donn King

I would like to offer a prediction: it is my belief that within 10 to 15 years, the Creakers population will be at least 50% female. Women are in ascendency in every field of endeavor, and thanks to Title IX, none more than in women’s athletics. Title IX prohibited sex-based restriction to educational programs or institutions which received federal money. It was more a you-can’t-do, as opposed to a what-you-have-to-do, kind of bill. Title IX was written by Senator Birch Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, in 1972 and passed into law in 1973.

Here is the entire text: 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.

The bill was not explicitly about women’s athletics, but suddenly, women’s sports in schools were required to receive the same funding emphasis as men’s. If your institution wanted to continue to receive federal money, you had to offer equal opportunity to women, and that included athletics. Of course, there was a lag time, and inconsistent enforcement, and it took a while to take hold in schools all over the country, but eventually it did, and it changed the athletic landscape in the US for women, for all time.

Most of the current Creaker population grew up way before Title IX. Most of us are children of an era when boys played sports and women cooked and kept house. Consequently, our current aging sports environment is dominated by men. By the way, God bless us. Men have made lots of mistakes, but we’ve tried our best, and we’ve had a good run. But what will happen when the post Title IX generation wives and mothers who are retiring, their children out of the house, remember how good it felt to hit the ball hard and catch a fly ball? When will they start looking around for a senior softball league?

Spoiler alert: Women don’t throw like girls anymore.

And even more softball specific: Today, there are virtually no male fast pitch, or slow pitch, softball programs in high schools or college athletics. My informants who have daughters and granddaughters assure me of this. Those programs are all female. Where do we think these women will want to go to stay active now that they have some discretionary time? There are also arguments that boys spend more time indoors these days, on video games screen time, and less time on the playing fields. That may amount to less demand coming from senior males in the future.

Currently there are already several women in the Creakers. I predict that in the near future there will be a steady stream of women coming into the Creaker Nation. If you think it seems that all the accountants and physicians, lawyers, judges, and politicians are all female these days, just look around and see who is playing next to you at shortstop and behind you in left center. Can she hit a line drive on the grass, or stretch a single into a double? I bet she can; can you?

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