Friday, July 19, 2013

Nine for IX - An Inspiration

Summer Olympics 1996 I was sitting in my preferred spot on our living room floor in front of my family's TV watching in awe. My heroes at the time, The Magnificent Seven (who I'll be calling the M7), had just won their gold medals. The following school year suddenly we all wanted to be gymnasts again. My friends and I had always done cartwheels at recess, but now we were inspired. These girls were our idols. I can remember wanting to be Shannon miller (that hair!) as well as wanting her poster for my wall. (I never did get one - I'm thinking b/c my mother and I had a mutual, unspoken agreement that such a poster would clash with my ballerina decor. Also, it was made very clear that we didn't poke holes in Mom's wall.)

As time went on other figures covered those walls (i.e. NSYNC) and the inspiration I got from Miller, Strug, Dawes, Moceanu and the like was replaced with, well, let's face it, hormones.

Recently, though, women like the M7 have been popping up on my radar and, as a result, I'm feeling more inspired than ever.

Partly responsible are super stars Gaby Douglas and the rest of the Fierce Five as well as track and bobsled star Lolo Jones. But the majority of the credit goes to the women being featured and honored in ESPN and espnW's Nine for IX series this summer.

The purpose of this 9-part film series — featuring films about women in sports, created by women — is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX. The series does so by focusing on celebrating women coaches and athletes like Pat Summit, Sheryl Swoops, Venus Williams and many others.

The first film, "Let Them Wear Towels", aired last Tuesday (will re-air 8/27). It focused on the first women sports writers who fought to be allowed in locker rooms in order to do their job. Being a journalism major in college this first film really hit home. I remember being in class discussing that time in our history and asking why being in the locker room mattered. Now I really know the difference it, and these women, made.

I know we typically avoid sports on this blog. I think though, that theses films fall under the pop culture umbrella and I encourage each and every one of you to take the time to at least watch the trailersThen, seriously, tell me you're not inspired. The films themselves will air every Tuesday night on ESPN at 8 for the following eight weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm going to start making some room on my walls.

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