Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Philly girls finally get championship

This story about girls' basketball in Philly really struck me. In the early 80s, a girls' basketball coach, Lurline Jones, said that girls should have a city championship like the boys who had been playing a city championship since 1938. (The championship was a match-up between the Catholic League and the Public League.) So Jones filed a Title IX lawsuit charging discrimination against the girls who wanted to play their own championship. The archdiocese of Philadelphia decided just to cancel the City Title championships rather than fighting the lawsuit or hosting a championship for the girls.

Let me reiterate--the archdiocese cancelled the boys' championships. But Jones got all the crap.

Even today as she is recognized for being an invaluable advocate for girls' basketball in the city, some still hold her at fault as evidenced by this "praise" from a fellow coach:

"Everybody was upset for a lot of years," said Greco, who had two stints as the head coach of the Central boys' team and recently completed his 11th season as the school's girls' coach. "Everyone pointed the finger at her. But, getting past that, what she did for girls' basketball in Philadelphia was remarkable. She deserves a lot of credit."

Getting past that? As if it's some black mark on her record that she fought for gender equity and came across the rather staunch patriarchy known as the Catholic Church.

Jones retired but this year the city finally reinstated the championship--for boys and girls. Only took 29 years!