Jeremy and Sarah Timms will confide that their three daughters’ involvement in sport can sometimes lead to a hectic family life, but they make it clear that’s not a bad thing.
Lauren Timms is a golfer at Augustana University, her sister Sydney will start playing volleyball at Augustana next fall and sister Brietta is a 15-year-old athlete at Sioux Falls Christian who plays varsity volleyball at Sanford Pentagon.
All three have improved as athletes, building friendships while building character and life skills at the Sanford Sports Complex.
Log into the game: Personal and team fitness with Sanford Sports
This summer marks 50 yearsth anniversary of what we know as Title IX, the legislation that opened the door for girls and women to participate equally in sports. Sanford Sports is part of this in terms of opportunities for young athletes through Sanford POWER, its sports academies and tournaments.
500K female athletes
In the past year, Sanford Sports operations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and California have opened their doors to more than 500,000 visits from female athletes. This ranges from strength and conditioning training to sport-specific work and tournament hosting.
Figures like these clearly confirm what early advocates of this legislation argued: the values and joys we associate with athletics are not based on gender.
In this case, a change in the law precipitates a dramatic change in culture. Because of this, a family with three athletic daughters in 2022 like the Timms can talk about how sports have helped them the same way a family with three sons can.
“The first word that comes to mind is ‘busy,'” Jeremy Timms said. “Sometimes it gets a little crazy. I will say that it’s not always easy to balance everything, but learning time management skills and learning to make choices is very important.”
The Timms probably didn’t spend much time talking about Title IX at the dinner table, but they were still the beneficiaries of that part of the education changes of 1972.
The Impact of Title IX on Sports
Title IX, which was enacted on June 23, 1972, prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against employees based on sex. Surprisingly, the official language surrounding the amendment does not mention sports. However, generations of women and girls have since embraced the sporting opportunities created for them that did not exist before.
“I remember my mom growing up in southwest Minnesota talking about how she had the opportunity to be a cheerleader, but that was it,” Sarah Timms said. “There wasn’t really anything else available to girls at the time.”
Fortunately, these limitations would seem incredibly strange to the Timms sisters. That in itself is a sign of progress. Specifically, access to the personal growth that can come with sports participation is also there.
“Sports for girls really helps with confidence,” Jeremy Timms said. “Especially when you’re working your way through junior high and high school. Being part of a team is also a very important part. They have learned to be both team members and team leaders.”
Sports as a career
Melissa Moyer began working as a physical therapist at Sanford in 2009. She now serves as the facility’s director of therapy and rehabilitation. As a physical therapist, she specializes in sports rehabilitation and biomechanical evaluations of running-related injuries.
Moyer sees girls leaving the sport in their teenage years and would likely benefit from staying with them.
“It’s that critical age — 13, 14 and 15 — when they need to feel like they belong,” Moyer said. “They shouldn’t feel like they have to be the best athletes to continue with the sport. A college scholarship should not be the reason they participate.”
Moyer herself left organized sports when she was in her teenage years, but the sport never left her. She wanted to be a physical therapist, and to that end she worked as an athletic trainer in college before going to PT school.
She enjoys being part of the Sanford team working to support athletes. Their motivation can become her motivation.
“They’re driven to go back to the things they used to do,” Moyer said. “When you have competitive kids like that, they’re often competitive within themselves. They do their homework, in other words. They want to do anything that will bring them back to enjoying the sport.”
Sport as an outlet
Dr. Josephine Combs grew up in Germany, outside the influence of Title IX, although her experience as an athlete was similar. The opportunity to play volleyball in college brought her to the United States. A career in medicine has kept her here.
As a neuropsychologist at Sanford, Dr. Combs helps athletes evaluate, manage and treat concussions at Sanford. He also works as a sports psychologist. In both roles, she helps athletes overcome barriers.
“The most obvious benefit of playing sports is physical health,” said Dr. Combs. “But more than that, it provides children with new experiences. It can help them find things they are good at – things that get positive attention.”
Answering questions about how Title IX legislation has changed the world of sports from the perspective of women and girls, Dr. Combs keeps coming back to the lessons that sports teach. In doing so, she also brings to light why Sanford has made access to athletics such an important focus, regardless of gender, over the past 20 years.
“I always want to convey to the female athletes I work with the message that they can do anything they put their minds to,” said Dr. Combs. “This whole idea that women should be meek and shy – that’s not true. They can be strong. That’s the beauty of women’s sports, isn’t it? They can be just as passionate about sports as men. It can provide amazing output. It adds a whole world of things to learn as you develop lifelong skills.”
Dedication to goals
At the Tim family home, they occasionally talk about goals with their daughters. It’s not always about sports, but it’s a sports household, so it gets its share of air time.
Title IX and the people who brought it up played a role in making these conversations necessary.
“We joke that we’re either going to pay to keep them out of trouble or we’re going to pay to get them out of trouble,” Sarah Timms said. “Whether it’s through the Pentagon at Sanford or through other organizations, as parents you put money into it, but the kids have to make a commitment, too.” I know it has helped them and will continue to help them with time management skills and the ability to manage many different things.
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