Women in Sport Conference

by

By: Shana Levine
Associate Athletic Director

This past fall I had the privilege to attend the Girls and Women in Sport Conference hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center (http://www.cehd.umn.edu/tuckercenter/).  I had never been to the University of Minnesota, so it was a really cool (literally – in November) experience.

This conference was a celebration of the progress women have made in the fields of sport and activity, as well as identifying issues on the horizon and how we can work for change in those areas – very inspiring.  I was hoping to learn about the new and upcoming research in the field to help me in my Women in Sport spring term course.  And the conference did not disappoint.  It was basically a who’s who of scholars in the field – including Don Sabo, Judy Sweet, Michael Messier and Mary Jo Kane.

The hospitality area at TCF Bank Stadium

One of the coolest pieces of the conference was the location as we were set up in the hospitality area of the University of Minnesota football stadium, TCF Bank Stadium.  We all had a great appreciation of the irony of the physical space we were in – we were hosting a women in sport conference in a space traditionally only used by males for sport, a football stadium.

I met great folks and learned a ton.  Among one of the more entertaining facts that we learned – first known use of a protective cup 1874 (cricket) was more than 50 years before the first known use of a hard helmet. Hmmmm…  It really makes you realize what body part was perceived as more valuable and worth protecting!

So, I am reflecting on this conference as we are starting spring term registration today and I am working on my syllabus for this year.  I hope to bring in two fantastic guest speakers – one who was coming of age in high school and college at the time of title IX and received one of the first women’s athletics scholarships at Old Dominion.  She is now an athletic director at a school in our conference and she is great.  The other is a fellow W&L alum, Austin Calhoun.  She is actually very close to getting her Ph.D. from the Tucker Center and she is going to come and talk about media portrayal of female athletes.  It’s official, I am a huge nerd, because I am getting really excited just thinking about all the fun stuff we are going to do and learn this spring.

It’s amazing how surrounding yourself with people who share the same passions can be so energizing and invigorating!  Always a great reminder when you are in need of a little energy to get to work on updating that syllabus. 🙂

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