Wednesday, June 14, 2023

What Sports Have Meant to Me

On Friday evening I attended my first ever professional women’s soccer game — the new San Diego Wave FC team was taking on the Racing Louisville FC. And they were celebrating 50 years since Title IX was passed.

If you’re not familiar, Title IX was passed in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments. Sex-based discrimination was no longer allowed in any school or education program that received federal government funding. Because of this, sports programs for girls and women started receiving funding.

At age 8 in 1981, I benefitted from the cultural and financial shift of Title IX when I was able to join a county girl’s soccer league (photo below).

I have always played sports in one way or another, and the identity of “athlete” is still incredibly meaningful to me. Sports taught me about communication, teamwork, competition, winning well, losing well, resilience, trust in my body, appreciation of my body, and mental toughness.

And 41 years later, I continue to practice these skills and lessons (and have so much fun!) through my team sports.

I teared up during the Title IX ceremony, and again when the crowd roared because our goaltender, Carly Telford, made a great save on a penalty kick.

I never had professional athlete role models in the sports I played growing up; I’m so glad that little girls today do.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus — Intimacy Speaker, Sociologist, & Communication Coach

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