116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Thank you, J.R. Ogden, for your recent tribute to your father ('Remembering the inspiration behind The Gazette's Athlete of the Year awards,” June 21). Thank you also for acknowledging the time period in which he covered girls high school sports, 'a time when many thought girls shouldn't be athletes, shouldn't be athletic.”
My high school years occurred during your father's career and this was very much the case for me. While I did not understand it at time, I remember being conflicted as a teenager who would much rather play a sport than to do the things that 'real” girls did such as cheerleading. I had no problem with the 'girl” activities, but I just wanted to participate. I didn't really understand 'competing” but wanted to play.
My parents were from the depression era and World War II so sports for girls were not on their radar, so I did not have parental encouragement. I decided to try several sports including basketball, track, cross-country, tennis and synchro. Since I towered at nearly 5'2” I was able to dominate at none of these but just had fun! What a wonderful transformation has occurred in girls sports over the years - what opportunities there are today for them to know what is means to be an athlete and be feminine. Thank you to the C.R. community for supporting this transformation. Thank you to my Jr high school teacher who introduced me to intramural tennis, which I still play today.