[EDEQUITY] Personal Experience

From: RGondek@edc.org
Date: Thu Nov 30 2000 - 15:29:35 EST

Addressing Amber and Jessica Gavora's concerns:

I now am certain that neither Amber nor Jessica have ever participated in
highly competitive, collegiate-level sports based on their messages on this
subject of men's sports funding. I, on the other hand, worked each and
every day to play at the highest level of competition possible for me in a
very tough sport, made even more difficult by the fact that I was far and
away the smallest member of my team in a sport that exemplefies the large,
powerful athlete.

As the female team at a popular, sports-crazed school, we obviously enjoyed
some perks that other teams could never dream of, but we also had no locker
room at our practice area, had to arrive 15-20 minutes before the men's
team (so that we wouldn't disturb them, since we were just eye candy,
according to their coach), were given uniforms and sweats that were
hand-me-downs from other teams (we wore our sweat pants that lacked elastic
bands as a symbol of how women's sports were treated), and yet we walked
around a campus (and shared a practice area) with men's teams that always
had the best and brightest equipment. They never had to make personal
phone calls begging for money for necessary equipment, and they never had
to take the opposite sex's team leftovers and hand-me-downs. In fact,
despite the protestations that men's football is the big-spender sport, I
saw teams such a men's soccer and crew receive plenty of funds each year,
not only for equipment, but also for scholarships. While the women's teams
might have one or two scholarships, the men always had five or more (on
smaller teams). In our university, there were third string players who
never entered a game in their entire college career who attended the
university on full scholarships.

When the men's team in my sport was threatened with the cutbacks that Amber
described, their alumni somehow found the money to not only keep
scholarships going for a team that never won anything (while the women's
team won year after year, all competing just for love of a sport - not
money), but also tried to ensure that the new practice facilities were just
for the men's team. Luckily, Title IX is in place and the men's team
cannot justify this, as they already have practice facilities, and are
simply allowing the women to use them as well.

Therefore, I am certainly not against giving top level athletes their dues,
but I refuse to be disturbed by the fact that Title IX mandates that men's
teams trim off a bit of excess (which generally effects mainly players who
are not at the highest level of competition) and may signify that men's
teams must be relegated to the status of club sports in order for women's
teams to be included more fairly. Most men's teams will continue to
survive, even if their numbers diminish slightly or become club sports, a
status most women's teams can tell you is not ideal, but at least they get
to "play."

Rebecca Gondek
Technical Assistance Specialist
WEEA Equity Resource Center
Education Development Center
55 Chapel Street
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: (800) 225 - 3088; Fax: (617) 332 - 4318
Email: rebecca_gondek@edc.org

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