Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The pain Title IX hath wrought

I just finished reading Michael Sokolove's lengthy cover story in The New York Times Magazine, "Hurt Girls." The storyline is not new -- the topic of adolescent girls and ACL injuries has been covered in other publications.
I think the topic is an important one -- just as the story about injury rates in boys' high school football is also an important story. My problem is the way this story is framed. The subhead for the story (in the print edition) sets the tone: "Everyone wants girls to have as many opportunities in sports as boys. But can we live with the greater rate of injuries they suffer?"
I won't bother providing a number of obvious responses to the question.
A major problem with the story is its reliance on anecdotal evidence to present girls as generally not suited for the rigors of sports. Sokolove does, well into the story, tell readers that "boys suffer more sports injuries," but writes that fact off to football and a higher participation rate, then keeps moving through his thesis.

I'm not the only one perplexed by why Sokolove's story got as much ink as it did. For interesting reading that quickly reveals a number of flaws in the piece, see the hundreds of reader comments left on the NYT Web site.


Carol said...

I wish people would remember that the article is excerpted from a book. Some of the complaints (from all over the spectrum) may be satisfied by a full-length work. Then again, those who feel girls shouldn't play sports are beyond learning anything new.

And people who are in a kerfuffle about the NYT Magazine cover and layout of the story need to know that writers have little control over such things. Blame the editors.

I submitted comment #139, by the way. I was present about 15 years ago when Katia Foucade, University of Washington Husky guard, tore her ACL. I will never forget her scream of pain. It's high time we did something about these injuries!

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting blog...

...please help me out (off topic)...why are so many men's swimming programs being cut at major universities across the nation?

We both know it isn't money. University of Nebraska is a good example. Warren Buffet could and would write one check and take care of that if it was about money. Didn't matter. Men's swimming was cut.

Did the politics of Title IX do this? Is that how it is suppose to work? Was that the ultimate purpose? Other sports are being cut as well and they are men's sports. Is that the true intention or do we have some misguided A.D.s and Presidents?

Anonymous said...

Why is it always the same sports being cut at private and public universities across the United States?

What kind of message are we sending?

What is this all really about? You seem like a very intelligent person. Please explain this to me. Shouldn't both male and female sports be treated FAIRLY without having to hurt anybody?