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Third Generation of Title IX: I have always felt qualified to compete

June 21, 2012 – 8:48 PM

By Molly Lynch

Title IX has always existed for me, and sports have always been part of my life.

In kindergarten, I played YMCA soccer. By third grade, I was on my town’s travel team. Throughout elementary school, we played “girls vs. boys” soccer at recess (and we usually won). In middle school, I was a three-sport athlete.

I was aware that in the past girls faced limitations, but those limitations never seemed to apply to me. I could never imagine girls not having the same opportunities as boys because I have never felt that I was less qualified to compete.

In high school, I began rowing. When we moved from Boston to New Haven after my freshman year, I refused to choose a new school that didn’t have crew. Since arriving at Choate Rosemary Hall sophomore year, I’ve worked to make myself, and my team, better.

This past year, as a junior, I woke up early to lift weights. I did ab workouts before bed each night. My legs have gotten bigger, my arms more powerful. My mom always says that I am the most competitive person she knows, but I have become even more driven. As a senior and captain, it’s my job to help my teammates find in themselves their full potential.

I am a strong student and I work hard to do well academically, but rowing has shaped my high school experience. It has given me confidence in my mental and physical abilities and taught me that my true capabilities can surpass my wildest expectations. When you are rowing and you are spent and feel a blister forming on your hands, you learn to push your mind – your own self-imposed limitations – out of the way so that your body can perform.

I know that my grandmother never got to test her physical abilities the way I have. My mom has always shared the history of women’s struggles with us (I once made a puppet of Elizabeth Cady Stanton!), but because I have never felt those barriers, I have never doubted myself as a competitor. I have, as my grandmother might appreciate, always imagined myself as “wanting to be the winner of things.”

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