Please read this amazing article written by Jo Ann Kurz of the Meridian Tennis Association! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication, Jo Ann!
Landmark Directive Will Open Up Opportunities
I find it ironic that 40 years ago I played high school sports with no district or state championships for girls. I just went back to Kettering, Ohio to be inducted into Fairmont High School Athletic Hall of Fame and I had to (got to) give an acceptance speech. I reflected on how Title IX in 1975 changed everything for girls’ sports as young women would then receive equal funding/opportunities with boys/men from schools across the country. My life playing tennis at the University of Texas changed instantly. Our tennis team went from driving to Arizona for tournaments to flying to California, Michigan and Louisiana. My tuition waiver (Texas was only one of four schools in the country to offer athletic assistance to women) became a greatly enhanced scholarship over the next few years. Our women’s team was able to use the same state of the art facilities as the Longhorn men were using.
Many girls growing up today take these equalities for granted. I came to realize that the coaches, teachers and parents of my era laid the foundation for this change. I was able to pursue a career in tennis for the next 30 years; something I never even dreamed I’d have as an option when I began college.
The irony of going to Kettering, Ohio to give my acceptance speech was for me to see the headlines on the same day of my induction—January 25, with a new “Title IX”. (Washington Post article ) The U.S. Department of Education just passed a landmark directive for disabled athletes to have equal accommodations for competing on mainstream teams. If the modifications fundamentally change the way the sport is played then the schools are obligated to provide opportunities for modifications, such as wheelchair teams.
What will this do for sports? It will open up so many new opportunities for disabled people to compete on sports and gain the benefits of goal setting, teamwork and competition. How can we prepare? Let’s ramp up our wheelchair opportunities in tennis!
To Randy Corbett, Emily Kovarik, IWTA (Idaho Wheelchair Tennis Association), Robbie Hogue, Juan Reyes, Eldon Hatterveig, Greg Proctor and countless others I am not mentioning; thank you for laying the groundwork for this revolutionary change. One day just as females growing up today have never known sports opportunities to be any different than males, disabled students will grow up never knowing the difference competing with accommodations.
Jo Ann Kurz
Meridian Tennis Association
United States Professional Tennis Association