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Friday, March 31, 2023

Real Life – Getting into the game


Life is full of unintended consequences.

When my parents enrolled me in an all-girls’ boarding school in 1964, it was unlikely, for their daughter, that their decision tree included planning my future enjoyment of athletic opportunities.

Primarily, I imagine their goal was to facilitate my immersion in a challenging academic environment. But I also remember how fearful they were of how quickly society was changing; of the rise of the counterculture movement, in general—and of hippies, in particular.

My father, born in 1920, had been educated in a religious seminary through two years of college. His own experience would have caused him to hope the same positive influence would be exerted on the development of my character as had been exerted on his—though for me, it would be only women at my new school home’s helm: The Religious of the Sacred Heart.

Many of my parents’ aspirations were indeed realized.

I acquired a wonderful educational foundation, albeit more liberal than my parents had intended, as well as an early exposure to feminist values, and the opportunity to lead various school organizations.

But in 2022, as we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of Title IX, I realize now that I also enjoyed something most girls my age at the time never got: the opportunity to play competitive sports.

Throughout high school, I played both Junior Varsity field hockey and basketball, competing against local private schools, and other Sacred Heart Schools, both in and out of state. I played soccer, and learned to play tennis. We cheered from the benches, when not in the fray ourselves.

We were participants. We were competitors.

It did not occur to us that our “sisters” in other schools might be experiencing less.

Physical health, mental health, and social skills were ours for the honing. The values of responsibility, team work, and fair play became ingrained.

Unintended consequences which now are rights.

Society profits from this progress. ©

Patti Koltes
Patti Koltes
Real Life © by Patti Koltes. Contact her at pkoltes@gmail.com.