By Carley Crain
For this year’s National Women and Girls in Sports Day celebration at Springfield College, things were a little different. Over the past year, the 50th anniversary of Title IX was celebrated – a monumental law that forever changed the landscape of American society – has been commemorated. Embracing Title IX and “the future is female” message was in full force in the field house on Saturday, Feb. 11.
Dozens of girls from the surrounding community gathered to learn and connect with numerous women’s varsity sports teams. The day started out with Springfield College president Mary Beth Cooper addressing the crowd with this question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The little girls looked at each other with smiles as they raised their hands with excitement and then explained their dreams for the future.
For some, being on a sports team at Springfield College might be a part of that vision.
“Our student-athletes are what made this event great,” said Michelle Lee Scecina, assistant athletic director for compliance and student-athlete wellbeing at Springfield College. “They come in with great enthusiasm and are good role models for the girls.”
The day then transitioned into stations that were led by the women’s volleyball, dance, field hockey, soccer and tennis teams. Each block of time with the different sports exposed the girls to numerous activities such as dancing, running, or hitting a volleyball. The variety of activities provided at the clinic gave the young girls the opportunity to see that women do belong in sport.
The Springfield teams wanted every girl to leave knowing that no matter what they wanted to do, it could be done. Title IX gave them that opportunity.
“We are celebrating the fact that girls can play and have the same opportunities that the boys do,” Lee Scecina said. “For me it is really meaningful because I had opportunities but not as many as the boys. To see it come sort of full circle with this event is really nice.”
Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics Kathy Mangano was in attendance as well. She gave a presentation about the basics of Title IX, alongside some of the varsity athletes. The short slideshow provided a brief history of Title IX and some female pioneers who have paved the path for women, like Simone Biles and Alex Morgan. When the photo of Biles jumping in the air appeared on the screen, the young crowd of girls pointed in awe. They instantly recognized the Olympic gold medalist.
After learning about the importance of Title IX and the implications it still has, the girls returned to the individual stations.
The day ended with the girls cheering on the women’s basketball team in Blake Arena as they defeated NEWMAC opponent Emerson College, 81-47.