Saturday, June 23, 2012
Title IX: Lessons Beyond the Playing Field
This week marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the landmark legislation signed on June 23, 1972 to expand opportunities in higher education for women. The discussion around Title IX typically centers on athletics, which fell under the educational programs umbrella.
Reading the stories this week from countless female athletes from different decades, they all pointed to the lessons sports taught them off the field. Having spent all four years of my college experience at Michigan State on the tennis team, the message resonates. A 2002 survey by Oppenheimer Funds found that 82% of female business executives participated in organized sports after elementary school. This probably does not surprise most men, who have long realized how lessons learned early on the playing field translate later to the boardroom.
Sports teach us how to win and how to lose. They teach us accountability, selflessness, time management, sportsmanship and resilience. We learn how to work within a team- when to be a leader and when to be a role player. Sports teach us how to bounce back from adversity and understand that calls won’t always go our way and that there will be bumps along the road to success. We learn how to communicate and how to deal with different personality types and management styles. It’s not hard to connect the dots and see why the lessons we learn in sports last us a lifetime.