Female sports – Growing Up in the 60s and 70s
Christine Brennan: Yeah. I still own the family home where we grew up in Ottawa Hills.
A Ockershausen: Is that right? Oh wow.
Christine Brennan: Yep. I go back for Thanksgiving, Christmas. When I’m doing some speeches. I do a lot of charity work.
A Ockershausen: You’re in a hotbed of sports right there in Toledo.
Christine Brennan: Exactly. This is in the ’60s and into the early ’70s. I graduated high school in ’76, when girls were not encouraged to love or play sports. Yet, I had a dad, I’m the oldest of four kids, and my dad, who had been a football player in high school in Chicago, and then went to Drake and played football for a year in Des Moines, then went into the army at the end of World War II, my dad was saying, “Hey, my daughter wants to play sports? Play sports.” My mom jokes I was born size 6X and kept right on growing. I was really tall. I’m the tallest kid in the neighborhood. I’m taller than the boys. They wanted to play sports with me. Every other girl was shooed away. “Get out of here. We don’t want you to play.” Of course, there’s no organized soccer. There’s no tee ball. You just played.
A Ockershausen: In the ’60s, right.
Christine Brennan: Sure. You just played. The kids, you just played in someone’s front yard or down the block or in the field. We would just go play. Goddard Field across from the University of Toledo and I’d be with all the boys and that was it, and me. I was the only girl. I was natural. I was a good athlete, and so they wanted me. They always picked me first to be part of the baseball team or whatever. We’re Mickey Mantle or Al Kaline up to bat. My dad …
A Ockershausen: Kaline Detroit.
Christine Brennan: Yeah, exactly. Close by. My dad, he taught me how to throw the ball properly. The old term “throw like a girl,” which we should retire as a nation because now we’re teaching, of course, all of our daughters to throw the ball properly, so “throw like a girl” is a compliment now with all these millions of girls and women playing sports because of Title IX. The old days, in the ’60s, girls were pushing the ball.
A Ockershausen: They pushed it.
Christine Brennan: My dad wouldn’t tolerate that for any of his daughters, much less his son, so I knew how to fire the ball and throw it and cock it behind my arm and throw it. I never threw like a girl, even though of course that term is ridiculous now. I don’t know if anyone’s heard. A woman actually ran for President. News flash. I don’t know if you’ve heard the news.
A Ockershausen: We’ve read the papers.
Christine Brennan: Hello, let’s move beyond “throw like a girl.” Back then, I didn’t throw like a girl.