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Rant from an Early Title IXer

Alex MorganUpon waking up the other morning, I opened my phone to check my “Google Alerts” for the day, to see what was newsworthy in the world of female athletes.  I always get excited when I see news about the Portland Thorns, as I am a true fan of the game and live in Portland! My love of soccer goes back to when I was on my first high school team, (yes, I AM that old) followed by playing on my University team, playing into my 40’s, and coaching recreational, high school and club teams for over 20 years.  Imagine my surprise, when I discovered that the “Alert” was asking if I could guess which Portland Thorns player was going to be gracing the pages of Sports Illustrated’ famous swimsuit edition!  She isn't the only athlete to appear in the issue - the WNBA's Skylar Diggins and surfer Anastasia Ashley are also featured.

ImageI must admit, the Title IX supporter/survivor in me was not happy…actually I was outraged!  I wondered if any of her past coaches ever envisioned this for the athlete they watched develop into one of our nation’s finest!  My thoughts took me to “how can this be, it is 2014?” How and why does female athletics still have to somehow fit into a man’s world?  We all know that those are not the kind of bathing suits that we see on any of our family beaches…at least not on Oregon Coast! Why has it remained at this level?

Before I actually brought out my keyboard, I happened to catch an interview of Alex on the Today Show, and heard her excitement!  She loved every minute of the shoot, and hugged everyone and thanked them for letting her be part of the issue...again!  It is hard to remain “disappointed” when you see someone with such happiness on or her face, or is it?

ImageIt is true that our professional female athletes do NOT share pay equality with our male athletes, so it is necessary for them to reach outside the realm of their game, to earn extra income, to help make ends meet.  Yes, she is in incredible shape, and I admit I would’ve loved to have EVER looked like that in my lifetime!  Of course, she has pushed her muscles to their limits, and asks an incredible amount of her body, EVERYDAY!!  Alex chose to do the shoot, as she is not only a professional soccer player, she is also a professional model. She is living so many young girls dream, by earning a “living” playing a game she has loved for many, many years. I guess I long for the day, when our young female athletes aren’t bombarded with the message that your looks are still going to be a part of your athletic ambitions. Let’s admit it, even in 2014; sexuality is STILL a part of the picture.

As it is every year, she will undoubtedly help sell millions of magazine copies, and get a paycheck for her efforts. Hopefully, all those young female players that admire her, and aspire to follow in her footsteps, won’t have to add donning a bikini to get there!  Remember, this is just my “humble opinion” that comes from a “seasoned” female sport supporter that has seen a lot of milestones accomplished during her lifetime, and would like us to keep moving in a positive direction, where athleticism and drive are enough for the young female athletes as they observe their role models.