Next step to focus on professional athletes


The joke in our family is that my dad always wanted a college basketball player. There was a brief stint where he thought he could still get that out of me, but then I fell in love with softball.

I threw him almost every night in our driveway, and my dad trained me no different than he did my brother. It hasn’t been easy with me.

It just so happened that a neighbor who watched our father-daughter train for years also sat on our school board. One day, as I was preparing to enter high school, he said to my father, “I think our district has a problem with Title IX.”

It was one of the first times I remember hearing about Title IX.

Every baseball team in our district had a baseball diamond at school, but softball teams did not—most had to compete in a city park.

Our neighbor raised this issue with the school board and before I started high school, my school built a field for us to play at home.

I was part of one of the first classes that was able to play all of our games on our pitch.

I’m happy for those in my life who stood up for my Title IX rights for me, but in the next 50 years of Title IX, I hope we don’t have to fight so hard. I don’t want to face those same struggles if I have kids. Title IX is in place because women deserve equality. We spend as much time or effort being athletes as men or boys. The sooner we move beyond reiterating these basic points, the sooner we can start focusing on our next challenge: supporting professional female athletes.

The fact that I even have to preface the phrase “professional athlete” with the word “woman” is part of the problem I’m talking about. I never thought of myself as a female athlete, just an athlete. I trained like an athlete who wants to be the best at what she does. I happen to be a her and not a him. What we do is not inferior to what men do. So, let’s level the playing field.

Talented professional athletes – who happen to be women – shouldn’t have to work side-by-side to support themselves just to play the game. coming years.

In my time in track and field, from youth to college and professional ball, drastic measures have been taken. We are going in the right direction. But Title IX does not extend to the professional field. Creating more equality at all levels of sport starts with small gestures, like making sure high school girls have a pitch to play on. But it shouldn’t stop there. Let’s expand what Title IX means in the professional field. Let’s go beyond simply guaranteeing home-field advantage and insisting on adequate compensation for talented female athletes who have dedicated their lives to their craft.

Cat Osterman is an Olympic gold medalist and two-time softball silver medalist and National Player of the Year with the University of Texas. A graduate of Cypress Springs, she also played professionally in the National Pro Fastpitch league.


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