This is the third installment of “Old Pueblo Abuelo,” a Sunday thought on positive things happening in the Old Pueblo from a sometimes cranky and often times humorous grandfather actually born in Tucson.
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. (Title IX/1972)
We are only 18 days away from the beginning of the football season with 1A programs taking the lead before the “bigger” schools jump in. Flowing Wells will visit Amphitheater and Pueblo will travel across town to play Sahuaro in the Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic on Thursday, September 2 and then it will be a race to cover as many football teams as possibly through the playoffs. Heck, many are covering football teams now.
There’s so much more to the fall season than football: Girls Volleyball, Fall Soccer, Cross Country, Golf and Swim and Dive. The forgotten sports get little to no coverage until the state playoffs, and even then, many of the stories we see down here are borrowed from other publications and that’s a shame.
I was once told, “You will never catch us watching a regular season girls soccer match” as if it was some sort of badge of honor. On the contrary, it’s an alarming signal to the parents and athletes of young women that we have so much more to do to make things right. Chilling really.
Title IX was passed in 1972. By now, you should know its main purpose was to provide for equal opportunities and protection on the basis of sex in institutions that use Federal funding. Title IX also takes into account other areas of protection including sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. This area of the act was weakened over the last four years in a “boys will be boys” atmosphere.
Several years ago, the AIA addressed part of that issue with more strict requirements for media members who interact with student athletes such as no contact with players in the dugouts and sidelines. Many of the “writers” in the state are in their early 20s and some have yet to “grow up” enough to know texting high school athletes late at night (boys or girls) or trying to score a date with them is a severe infraction of trust. Heck, I’ve been notified of a guy in his 60s making inappropriate comments about high school girls to their faces or on social media and it sickens me.
But the media isn’t bound by Title IX requirements, only an often incorrect guess on what sport will sell. But, I also suspect lack of knowledge of the other sports and of the athletes also comes into play.
Golf starts on August 17. Girls Volleyball starts on August 30. Fall Soccer starts on the August 31. Cross Country starts on September 1. Swimming starts on September 1.
The boys and girls of all of these sports were the same colors as their football classmates and their struggles are as real and their stories are as compelling. I should know, I coached high school softball. One of my daughters was an All-State setter and the other two won multiple state championships in softball. One daughter played college softball.
About a decade ago a major reporter in the Phoenix area stood up in a press box during a high school baseball championship and proclaimed that he would never cover a high school girls game of any kind. I wasn’t privy to the conversation that sparked his chest thumping so I don’t know what madness drove him to this conclusion but I do know he is no longer employed.
“It’s better to do good than well,” Hector A. Morales.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019 and he is a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com