Friday, October 13, 2006

Owned by Title Nine

last weekend F and I went to the sallies invitational XC meet in the Creek where, if all goes well, we’ll be coughing up lungs at the end of nov. the invitational hosts high schools from DE, MD, NJ and PA on a tough, hilly 5K course – the top guys were running just over 17min; the girls around 20.

i never ran XC in high school – badminton (don’t laugh, fuckers) was my fall sport – but surveying the runners last saturday, i wished i had; and it once again reminded me how good sports are for kids. 10min before the race, guys were doing striders and plyometric drills in team syncopation; 5min before, the air rang with guttural cheers and team chants while girls joined arms and high-stepped over the tall grass and then broke up to cheer their teammates when the horn sounded. parents clambered atop stone walls to encourage or exhort their kids to move faster, smoother. old men were young again.

i wondered how long it’d take someone to recognize F from his running days @ glasgow. 5min later, kenny introduced himself; F barely recognised him. that’s kenny? he marveled as we walked away. he used to be so short and dorky.

kenny and many strong runners of delaware’s past & present now coach high school XC & track. st. marks is coached by the olympic steeplechaser and his wife lauren, who told me one of their junior runners was thinking about attending her alma mater, JMU, largely because of the strength of the running program and lauren's high opinion of the coach.

the week before, the boy went to visit JMU, and after meeting with the XC coach he called lauren to tell her the men’s XC program had been axed because of Title IX, which stipulates spending on sports programs must be commensurate by percentage with the percentage of student population by gender. JMU's student population is 60% female and 30% male, so men’s sports get 30% of the total budget for sports programs. Citing inadequate funding, JMU’s shutting down its men’s XC, track and swim teams – and its mens’ and womens’ fencing and archery teams.

fencing and archery i can see as intramural sports, but what college doesn’t field running and swimming? running has got to be one of the cheapest programs on the planet. you could fund it on the football team's gatorade budget, or the money you'd spend on legal defense for members of the team indicted for gang-banging a cheerleader.

i am all for parity for men and women in academics and sports, but let's be reasonable. there are certain staples in college athletics, and swimming & track are right up there with the F-word. (hockey, too. Go Big Red.)

5 comments:

Subhangi said...

Hey, I played pretty decent badminton in school myself. It ain't funny.

[sigh] The only running and swimming I ever got to do after I went to college was when I went home for the vacations. Sadly, most colleges don't bother with including sports with academics. When I was doing my bachelors, I eagerly signed uo for basketball (was pretty decent at that too) but my studies took up ALL of my time. At my current college, basketball and soccer matches are held entirely based on the interest of the students., and again I haven't been able to do any of that because I barely have any energy or enthusiasm left at the day's end. At some point, when you're out of touch completely, you lose interest. It's sad, really.

finn said...

indians and asians Get badminton. whitey though just laffs and says, o badminton. i played that once in the backyard after thanksgiving dinner. we played with a shuttleCOCK nork nork.

god, subh -- if you're good at basketball at 5'1" you're a freaking goddess. i'm in awe.

fatmammycat said...

I am so going to make my imaginary future sons be swamped in all things sporty as soon as the poor little farts can wear breathable/easily washable material.
Have a good weekend missus.

Subhangi said...

Was good, Finn. Was. [sigh]

Anyhow, I wasn't that good a good shooter - I never managed a 3-pointer, for example - but my size did come in handy while dribbling and passing. Egads, basketball's a rusty old memory now. [more sighing]

finn said...

at least your basketball memories are pleasant, subh, unlike FMC's and mine. jammed fingers and moments of shattering ineptitude are all i can conjure.

thank god for sports that require neglible coordination.

run forrest run!