With states and the feds all looking for budget savings, the fiscal squeeze is manifest in some unexpected corners. Last week the University of California at Berkeley terminated its baseball team, which the school had been fielding for more than a century. Some high schools are reportedly facing similarly brutal cuts to athletic programs.
Girls' and women's sports are protected from bearing the brunt of such cuts by Title IX, the federal law requiring gender equity in sports programs. Research suggests a link between engagement in sports and self-esteem, which is just one reason why I always wanted my daughter to play tennis or basketball or... anything. But my efforts to get her to join me on a ball field invariably elicited a terse "No thanks." She had started dancing at 3, and by 10 was doing it intensively at a renowned school. Almost 13 now, she’s thrilling to watch, but dance is not the sum of her days or dreams. One night last spring, I got home from work and she asked if I would pitch to her. Dark as it was, I happily complied. She'd been playing baseball in gym class and had taken a liking to it. Virtually every night over the succeeding weeks, I’d pitch a Wiffle ball and she’d swat it into the twilight. Then, just as suddenly, lacrosse mania swept through our house. Thanks to school, she's been able to ease her way into the sporting life in her own time, on her own terms. We’re lucky that local taxpayers have indulged her. But it seems she’s ready at last to play ball. Lacrosse tryouts are next month.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- America is doomed! (And other thoughts on our gloomy historical moment.)
- 11 weeknight dinners you can make without a recipe
- Your 2-year-old doesn't need to go to school
Subscribe to the Week