Celebrating equality in sports

Photo submitted by Sheldon Green. Students model old and new sports uniforms at the athletic department’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the educational amendment that allowed women to participate equally in school sports. The event featured a video of Cobber women’s athletics from years gone by and a panel of women’s coaches and athletes past and present.

Students, athletes, alumni and community members gathered in Memorial Auditorium on Dec. 2 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX, an amendment enacted in 1972 giving women equal rights in educational programs and activities receiving federal funding. This amendment opened up school sports for participation by women.

Senior women’s administrator and associate athletic director, Rachel Bergeson, opened the program with a slide show of past and present female Cobber athletes in action.

Looking at the photos in the slideshow, Bergeson pointed out the athletes’ confidence.

“A game face is a confident swagger you bring out when you’re about to tackle something difficult,” Bergeson said of the women shown in the slide show.

Concordia’s head women’s basketball coach, Jessica Rahman, then took the stage sporting her old warm-up jacket from her Cobber days.

Rahman teaches a course called Women in Sports, which focuses on Title IX, and she said she is very passionate about gender equality in sports.

“Title IX is important, not only for women, but for everyone,” Rahman said.

Rahman explained that Title IX has had a significant impact on the American education system, providing equal educational, athletic and financial opportunities.

Title IX has been extremely effective, she said. In the years previous to Title IX, one out of every 27 women participated in sports. Today one in three women participate in a sport, Rahman said.

An alumni panel consisting of four women and two men spoke at the celebration. They each shared stories of their days as women’s coaches or athletes, and the adversity they faced.

Duane Siverson, a panel member, has been a coach at Concordia for 34 years.

“All but two of my 34 years (at Concordia) I’ve coached at least one women’s sport,” Siverson said.

Siverson said he is proud to have been an influential part of bringing women’s athletics to Concordia.

The program concluded with a video of lady Cobber highlights, and Bergerson read aloud a quote she felt summed up Title IX’s accomplishment.

The quote read, “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s whether you get to play at all.”


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