Female athletes serve kids, schools

John Andrews

John Andrews

Last week, the South Dakota State University athletic department helped honor female athletes by celebrating the 16th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

According to senior women’s administrator Nancy Neiber, about 60 student athletes, coaches, trainers and assistants visited elementary and middle schools in Brookings last Wednesday. They provided some instruction in their respective sports and gave out T-shirts and posters. They also talked with the students about the importance of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

“The young folks in Brookings had a great day with the athletes from South Dakota State,” Neiber said.

Freshman volleyball player Sarah Simet worked with eighth grade students on serving skills at the Brookings Middle School. The response she got from the kids was favorable, she said.

“I think they thought it was pretty cool,” Simet said. “A nationals team came in and helped them out, so they were kind of amazed.”

National Girls and Women in Sports Day began in 1986. It was established through a Congressional resolution to celebrate the achievements of girls and women in sports. The day was also designed to honor Flo Hyman, captain of the 1984 United States Women’s Olympic Volleyball team. Hyman led that team to the silver medal. Two years later, Hyman died of a heart attack during a match in Japan.

The day honors a different athlete each year. This year’s honoree is Dot Richardson. Richardson, an orthopedic surgeon in California, played shortstop on the 2000 U.S. Women’s Olympic Fastpitch Softball team that won the gold medal.

The theme for this year’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day was “Celebrating 30 Years of Title IX.” Title IX is a piece of legislation that was added to the Educational Amendments of 1972. It bans academic and athletic sexual discrimination in schools.

“The premise of Title IX is ‘let’s do the right thing,'” Neiber said. “If you have the opportunity to do what you want to do, the person next to you should have the same opportunity.”

SDSU complies with Title IX by offering 10 sports for men and 10 for women.

SDSU’s tribute will continue Saturday with a reception between the women’s and men’s basketball games against the University of Nebraska-Omaha. According to Neiber, all past and present female student athletes, coaches, teachers and any others who have given girls and women opportunities in sports will be invited.