While thousands of high school students return to class this week after Spring Break -- surely ready to regale their friends, teammates and teachers with tales of their adventures on vacation (or "stay-cation" for some), I thought it might be fun to show you what we've been privy to over the past week.
Welcome to #SocialStudies, the Back-to-School-In-Spring Edition.
As usual, it's a hodgepodge of ridiculous, funny and sporty. Enjoy, and don't forget that a little moisturizer makes that tan last a lot longer.
1. Stayin' Alive in the Magic Kingdom
For the marching band at Dexter High School, Spring Break meant traveling to Orlando, Fla. -- and performing before the Main Street Electric Parade at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Congratulations to the Dreadnaughts Band, who clearly enjoyed its time down south, and gave the Mickey & Minnie-loving crowd a sweet Bee Gees jam.
2. Buckle up
Any adrenaline junkies out there? Yeah, I figured as much. If you haven't ridden this coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio -- think about making the trip. Just try not to get all amped up around 50 seconds into this front-row POV vid from the spectacular Erie-lakeside Millenium Force. Keep your hands and arms inside the car at all times, and enjoy your ride.
3. Even the pros do it once in a while
We've all been there. If you've played a sport, you know that sometimes the desire to try something spectacular can sometimes end in sheer disaster. This is why coaches tell you to take the "easy two." In that spirit, I give to you a sure-fire NBA Hall-of-Famer, Vince Carter, missing a wide-open layup.
4. Lots of Laughs
To be perfectly honest, when schools are out of session, our office gets a little too quiet. The phones ring less, several staff members take vacations to coincide with Spring Break, and it's typically the week after our winter tournaments (read: CRAZY TIME!) conclude.
As such, those of us left in the office need to get creative with how we stay engaged. Here's one way we got through last week without you all. I make no excuses. (As an aside, big congratulations to our Assistant Director of IT, Jordan Cobb, on the birth of his first child, Zoey!)
As always -- if you find something worthy of us watching, send it over. Links, photos, stories ... whatever strikes your fancy that week. Make it part of our #SocialStudies!
To say that American female athletes dominated the recent Olympics in Tokyo would be an understatement.
Among the 66 medals earned by American female Olympians – most by any country in the history of the Games – were gold-medal performances by the U.S. basketball, volleyball, water polo and beach volleyball teams. Eighteen medals were earned by the U.S. women swimmers, female track and field athletes claimed 15 medals, and the U.S. women’s softball and soccer teams won silver and bronze medals, respectively.
In the past 30 years of the Olympic Games, the United States has dominated the women’s team sports of basketball (nine golds), soccer (four golds, one silver, one bronze) and softball (three golds, two silvers) — not to mention the untold number of medals in track and field. And this past summer, the U.S. women’s volleyball team claimed its first gold medal.
These performances by some of our nation’s most skilled female athletes never would have been possible without the passage of Title IX and the offerings of these sports through our nation’s schools. With the chance to play afforded by the landmark Title IX legislation in 1972, girls participation in several high school sports skyrocketed in the years that followed.
When the NFHS conducted its first participation survey in 1971, basketball and outdoor track and field were the primary girls sports, comprising about two-thirds of the 294,000 total. However, with the opportunity to play additional sports, girls flocked to volleyball and softball first, along with cross country and eventually soccer.
Soccer, in fact, has had the most remarkable growth. In 1971, only 700 girls were playing high school soccer. Twenty-five years later, that number had climbed to almost 210,000; and as the 50th anniversary of Title IX approaches, there are now almost 400,000 girls playing high school soccer – a staggering 56,200 percentage increase in 50 years. Soccer now ranks fourth in popularity among girls high school sports – all because of that opportunity in 1972.
There are many other success stories, however. The pre-Title IX survey in 1971 indicated that 1,719 girls were participating in cross country. With increases every year until 2015, today, there are 219,345 girls competing in high school programs and the sport ranks sixth in popularity.
Although participation numbers have leveled a bit the past 10 years, fast-pitch softball is another sport that flourished after the passage of Title IX. With fewer than 10,000 participants in 1971, the numbers quickly rose to 220,000 by 1985 and 343,000 by 2000, and softball is currently fifth among girls sports with 362,038 participants.
Since track and field and basketball were the primary sports in the early days of girls sports programs, increases in those sports have not been as dramatic; however, they remain the first and third most-popular sports, respectively, today. Volleyball, however, much like soccer, continues its upward climb.
Without a doubt, volleyball has seen the steadiest increases among girls high school sports the past 50 years. After starting with 17,952 participants in 1971, the numbers jumped to 300,810 by 1990 and 409,332 by 2010 and 452,808 by 2018. During its climb, volleyball surpassed basketball as the No. 2 girls sport.
And among the top six girls sports from 2010 to 2018 (numbers are not available the past two years due to the pandemic), volleyball has gained the most participants (43,476), followed by soccer (32,549). And all of this has occurred thanks to legislation passed in 1972 that was not fundamentally meant to address opportunities for girls to participate in high school sports.
The NFHS is leading a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which officially occurs on June 23, 2022. “Title IX at 50 – Celebrating and Growing Opportunities” is highlighting the law’s impact by celebrating the inspirational individuals and landmark moments in the history of Title IX, and continuing to grow the educational and competitive opportunities for the future.
More information, including a Title IX Timeline, Title IX Milestones, The History and Importance of Title IX, Title IX Fact Sheet, Title IX Frequently Asked Questions and several Title IX videos, can be accessed on the NFHS Website.
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is beginning her fourth year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.