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The Pitchfork

Striking out stereotypes in womens’ sports

Sports have the ability to transform people’s lives and can drive gender equality through instilling in women and girls teamwork, self-reliance, resilience, and confidence. Women in sports transcend gender preconceptions and social standards, and demonstrate equality for men and women.   

Softball is its own sport with a distinctive set of rules and origins. It shouldn’t be referred to as “women’s baseball,” but rather its own sport. Given its unique status in the world of female sports, softball is regarded as much more than an athletic endeavor. It’s become a symbol for women’s progress, for female athletes’ rights to be treated on their own terms and to attain the status that men have held for so long. And despite these gender barriers,  Marietta strives for equality and creates a level playing field for all athletes.

Brandon Durden, a teacher at Marietta High School, earned the position of head coach a few years ago. He’s coached before, so he leaped at the chance to mentor Marietta’s budding softball team. And the team has taken great strides since he took authority.

“Girls are dedicated, hardworking, and are phenomenal to coach. But, they lack the exposure to sports that boys do when watching football, basketball, and baseball on TV.  However, I believe there will be more opportunities to play in the future,” Durden said. 

This is not to suggest that no guidelines have been put in place to combat prejudice in sports; specifically, Title IX. Particular rules meant to avoid gender-based discrimination in sports participation were put in effect in 1975, giving educational institutions three years to meet Title IX criteria. Subsequently, the Department of Health enforced equal opportunity for men and women in all educational institutions in 1978. Title IX guarantees female athletes the right to equal opportunity in sports in federally funded educational institutions ranging from elementary schools to colleges and universities. Title IX had a direct effect on the make-up of auxiliary staff as well. Previously, athletic trainers and conditioning coaches were largely male, and women’s teams did not receive the same degree of assistance.  Women trainers now represent an equitable gender mix, with women supporting both male and female student-athletes. Having said that, Marietta High School has made significant contributions to the growth of our softball program and the advancement of the sport for female athletes in our community. This has led to increased participation, recognition, and success for female athletes. 

Women’s involvement in sports has improved considerably in recent years. Youth programs have grown in most sports, which has aided the development of college and professional leagues. Additionally, the vast majority of women who participate in professional sports have done so since they were a kid, and the number and caliber of athletes has increased as a result of the increased interest in sports among girls. 

“As a little girl, I always wanted toplay tackle football, but was unable to because they only offered flag football for girls,” Kennedi Young, senior softball player said. 

Most women contend with similar issues, believing they will never be as strong or agile as male athletes. But, times have changed, and female athletes now have a thriving community and network. The groundbreaking gender equity law made a lasting impact by increasing the participation of girls and women in athletics. The number of high school girls participating in athletics rose from 295,000 in 1971 to 2.8 million in 2002-2003, an upsurge of more than 840%. 

“Despite barriers, women have fought — and continue to fight — to be seen as equal in their athletic abilities,” Ahubrey Carter, a senior softball player said.

Softball offers a fun and competitive team environment, where players can showcase their skills and bond with teammates. The sport also provides a great opportunity for women to stay active, build strength, and improve their coordination. More so, softball has a strong community and a long history of female athletes, making it a beloved sport for many women. Marietta is dedicated to fostering a sense of equality for all sports participants, regardless of their gender, race, or nationality, and a commendable example of how women are breaking down gender boundaries in sports is the growing popularity of the softball program at Marietta. 

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About the Contributors
Addison Moreland, Section Editor
Addison Moreland is an honors, AP, and IB student, who began her sophomore year at Marietta High School and Section Editor of the school newspaper, The Pitchfork. As well as participating in events throughout the school, such as being an MHS Varsity Cheerleader, sophomore Student Council treasurer, and member of the MHS Musical Theater Department, she is an active member of the Marietta Community. Addison enjoys babysitting and is an active member of JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), she also is a member of Stonebridge Youth group. Addison is a straight-A student and enjoys both ELA and History. Though she isn’t certain what lies ahead in the future, she would like to pursue a career in journalism and/or criminal justice.
Ady Grace Miller, Staff Writer
Ady Grace Miller, a first year staff writer on Pitchfork, is a class of 2026 AP/Honors student at Marietta High School. She is also a varsity athlete who plays volleyball, flag football, and golf. In addition, she is a part of Model United Nations, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Lax Ladies. Outside of school, she babysits, volunteers at Must Ministries, and participates in her youth group.
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