My daughter's field hockey team just qualified for the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. I'm a proud mom. It is resurrection for a team that has risen in the last year above challenges athletically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, collectively, and individually. I'm an empathetic mom. In a few ways. I played college sports (tennis and field hockey), too. I was in that first generation of title niners in the mid 70s whose favorite subject after English and Geometry was recess. The year Title IX became a federal mandate (1972) our girls high school basketball team was still wearing the boys hand me downs over white t-shirts. Legislation rarely ensures immediate compliance- federal or otherwise. Hey, at least we had a team. I remember riding in a parent's car instead of on county buses to matches and games, some of which were over 2 hours away. But, at least we had a team. We did not get meal money for away trips like the boys who played football. We ate at McDonalds while they sat down and had steak and pie. Booster money was for football and boys basketball. But hey, we had a team. Pretty progressive stuff for a little high school of 600 students in the middle of the high desert. Now this next generation is enjoying the fruits of a year round labor, all expenses paid, hotel, per diem for meals, gear, shoes, coaches with impeccable reputations of the international ilk and most importantly, the joy of playing a physical and intellectual sport hard with your best friends!
As I write this I'm en route to my college field hockey team reunion. It's been almost 30 years. Talk about dilemmas! I had to make a choice between attending her game or this reunion. I have my daughter's blessing even though it could be her last collegiate game. Love that kid. As I torturously pondered the choices I finally realized I wanted to go to honor two coaches and some teammates who were such a positive and powerful influence on me personally and professionally. These were mentors who brought out the best in you, who developed your every dimension through a daily dose of sport and hard work, and did it without yelling. They were my family and women before their time. So after almost 30 years I'm acknowledging the bonds of friendship, family, and sport as much as anything else. It is the same bond I know my daughter will enjoy for the next 30 years with her coaches and team... and hey, do they ever have a team!