The U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s World Cup victory got us thinking – women athletes rock! It also got us thinking about how fast things have changed for women and girls on the playing field. In our hometown, back in the 1970s, girls played softball (and only softball) in mismatched uniforms and uneven socks, some even wore sandals (ahem, I’m talking to you illumiNITE President Sue Teixeira).
Today, girls have choices and access to training and equipment that a was dream forty years ago. So in celebration of the World Cup victory and all the girls out there running for the goal, swinging for the fences, or just kicking butt and taking names, here are sixteen fun bits of women’s sports history.
1950 Kathryn Johnson cut her hair, renamed herself Tubby, and was the first girl ever to play Little League baseball. She played for the King’s Dairy in Corning, NY.
1966 Roberta Gibb of the U.S. is the first woman to finish the Boston Marathon.
1971 Billy Jean King is the only woman to win a U.S. tennis singles title on grass, clay, carpet, and hard court.
1972 Title IX is passed by Congress and signed by President Nixon. It states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
1978 illumiNITE President Sue Teixeira shines at first base for the West Bridgewater Devil’s softball team.
1982 Cheryl Miller scores 105 points during a high school basketball game.
1988 Stacy Allison of Woodburn, OR becomes the first woman to climb Mount Everest.
1990 Jean Driscoll wins the first of seven straight Boston Marathons in the wheelchair division. Her record time: 1:43:17
1997 The WNBA holds its first game.
1998 Colleges start offering ice hockey scholarships to women.
1999 The Women’s U.S. soccer team wins the World Cup.
2002 Laila Ali (daughter of Mohammad Ali) wins the super middleweight championship.
2005 Michelle Kwan wins her ninth U.S. national figure skating title.
2008-2010 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team wins 90 games in a row. That’s a record!
2014 Mo’ne Davis age 13, throws 70 mph fastballs to lead her team the Taney Dragons to victory in the Little League World Series.
2015 Before Title IX, 295,000 girls participated in high school sports. That number has grown to 3.5 million.
Girls + Sports = Awesome!