Kaye Larson

As interviewed by Mia Larson, March 22, 2019

In Her Own Words: Kaye Larson

This is Mia Larson, interviewing Kaye Larson, a retired Physical Education teacher, Swimming, Field Hockey, and Lacrosse coach. In her interview, Kaye discusses her experience as an athlete, the differences in men’s and women’s sports, and the impact of Title IX on women’s sports

“There really weren’t many organized sports for girls when I was young, except for softball, so I did play that a little bit. We didn’t have uniforms, we didn’t play other schools until we got into College, and when I got into College, and when Title IX started to come through, it made a huge difference. But up to that point, when we played basketball in High School, girls could only run halfway down the basketball court, and then you’d have to pass the ball over the centerline, to players on the other side because they said girls couldn’t run that far. When really girls had an extreme amount of energy and endurance. So finally they had what they called a Roving Player for girls, and one player they would let go up and down the court, and all the other players still had to throw the ball over the centerline. And Fortunately, I got to be the roving player, and I was thrilled that I could run up and down the court and guard and shoot. So that was a wonderful change in the rules, and then the rules continued to change to today, they’re basically the same as Men’s rules.”
“When I got to college, I joined the Women’s synchronized swimming team, or tried out and made the team, and then I also tried out for the girl’s basketball team in college, and worked hard, and made the team, but I did get a lot of pressure from people in the Sorority house and other people, because back then, they would say, “Well if you’re really good at sports you’re gay,” which was not true, but it was enough pressure that I actually dropped off the Women’s Basketball team that I worked so hard to get on, and I really regret that to this day.”
“So Title IX was just starting to make a difference. I had never had a uniform in my life, whereas boys had uniforms from the beginning. That was a big deal to me, I don’t know why, I always wanted a uniform.”
“Title IX really did change that, and allow women to have uniforms, put more money into the programs, is what they started to do. So, you could play other teams, but they really didn’t take Women’s sports seriously.”
“Title IX made a huge difference in Women’s sports, and it was so slow, and progressing, but then we started to be taken more seriously, and play other teams, get uniforms, get better coaches, and then you see the wonderful basketball teams of today, like University of Texas, UT, and University of Connecticut, and how exciting, you know, they sell out, and it’s taken seriously now, and I think that Women’s and Men’s sports have come closer and closer.”