Winner of the 2010 Kenneth Harwood Outstanding Dissertation Award – from the Broadcast Education Association

I grew up in a household of women, with five sisters and no brothers. Even the dogs were female.

In those pre-Title IX years, professional and school-and community-sponsored women’s sports were limited to cheerleading, dance line, and gymnastics. I grew up knowing nothing of sticks, mitts, jock straps, and scorekeeping, and little of the strange male creatures that played such games.

Years later, after I had a daughter, I had a song. When he was six and wise well beyond his years, he sat his single mother down and in a serious voice delivered a well prepared presentation on the importance of sport to a young man. He wanted to play hockey, and he wanted me to enroll him in a PeeWee league. He carefully traced his proclivity for the sport, reminding me that he enjoyed watching it on television, that he liked banging a puck into the garage door, that he thought he might even be pretty good at it, if he practiced. He recognized that I might have heard it was violent, and he reassured me that he would not himself be hurt nor would he intentionally pound on others. He would need equipment and he knew it would cost money, and if forfeiting his allowance would help bridge the gap, he was willing to offer that up for the cause. His Uncle John was going to coach; he would join Uncle John’s team, and surely I trusted Uncle John. And then he said, with great dignity and with his chubby little hand on my knee, “This is what men do.”

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