We no longer need to be Cheerleaders to be on the Field.

I grew up in a house that was full of girls, yet was totally male centric. This was due to the fact that my father was a professional football coach and my mother had a love of football that was equal to my dad’s. My mother was also of a generation that was totally deferential to men. In addition, Title IX was not yet the law of the land. What this meant for my sisters and I was that we were always aware that there were limits for us regarding how integrated into the sports world we could be. And, there were limits for us in terms of how much we could share with our dad.

So we sat in the bleachers or on the sidelines and cheered the teams he coached for. We tried out for cheerleading in an effort to get onto the field. We strutted whatever stuff we thought we had at spring practice. And, we dated only athletes.

Given this upbringing, you can probably imagine how path breaking it was to see Phyllis George march onto the field with a microphone rather than pompoms; how impressive it was to see Jill Arrington on the sidelines at college games; how surprising it was to see Robin Herman break into the professional locker room; how absorbing it has been to watch the Jemele Hill stoke the dialog about race.

What is clear here is that women are now a force at every level of amateur and professional sports. They expand and raise the level of discussion. They broaden the fan base. They inspire all of us whose only path onto the field was cheerleading.