Thursday, February 18, 2010

You GO, girl . .

I am, as I've frequently noted, a woman of a certain age. 

I've always loved basketball. So much so that when I was a kid growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina, I used to regularly get in trouble for listening to ACC games under the covers on school nights when I was supposed to be asleep.

I also grew up in a neighborhood of all boys. To play pick-up sports, I had to mix it up with the boy next door. I played games hard and physically. Basketball at the park meant rocketing up and down the court, jostling for the ball, going up hard for rebounds.

The first time I played organized basketball was, I think, in the seventh grade. And I still remember the outrage I felt as I had to stand there and listen to my gym teacher explain that there were different rules for girl's basketball, because we were -- well -- girls.  As such, we were deemed too fragile to run up and down the whole court. We played a half-court game.

What this meant was that, as I liked to play defense, if I stole or rebounded the ball, I could only dribble to  half-court. Then I had to pass off to an offensive player, so as not to...what? Sweat? Offend society? Burst through one of the taboos that hog tied women with male-dominated society's ridiculous concept of femininity?

Even in the seventh grade, I knew this was hooey! I was both as feminine as the next girl, and I was fully capable of playing full-court basketball!

So, when Lindsey Vonn skied down that hill yesterday, obviously in pain, obviously adjusting her run to accommodate her badly bruised and swollen right shin, crossing the finish-line in Gold Medal time on one ski, she not only skied for herself, her family, and for America, she skied for all us uppity women who now happily compete in what is no longer quite such a man's world.

Fragile, my ear!

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