Many, many years ago in a small western Virginia community a young woman played basketball. It was prior to World War II and the game had yet to evolve for women. Dribbling, as I was told, wasn’t allowed in this game. The players had to pass to get the ball down court to the basket. The uniforms? Well, today we’d laugh if players came out on the court with them on. These are just a few stops along the way of the evolution of the game.
Women’s basketball has come a very long way over the years. More than any of today’s players, women or men can even imagine. I was reminded of just how far when I began watching the induction speech of Nora Lynn Finch into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
In detailing her life in the form of a letter Finch provides us with an excellent narrative of the evolution of women’s basketball. One of the key points in time was the passing of Title IX.
This was to be the very first story that I worked on in radio news. I won’t forget the impact nor the reaction of the individual I spoke with for a soundbite. It did indeed shake the foundation of the men only sports world. Thankfully, it also opened my eyes to the inequities of life, specifically sports. That may be why I’ve enjoyed coaching young women and fighting for equal facilities and treatment over the years.
Many of you don’t follow women’s basketball. For that matter women’s sports. By the way, you missed a superb U.S. National Women’s Soccer team win a world championship. You may not know that Nora Lynn Finch is the former ACC Senior Associate Commissioner of Women’s Basketball. But, she’s far more than that. Take 15 minutes and listen to her induction speech. It’s a history lesson like no other.
Nora Lynn Finch
The story of the young woman from a small county in the mountains of Virginia is that of my mother. In those days she may have been referred to as a ‘tom boy’. I believe her penchant for being active could more likely be attributed to survival skills learned in a family with six brothers.
NC State Wolfpack Football Preview – Listen To The Podcast
Unfortunately, opportunities for women to enjoy or competitively participate in basketball after high school wasn’t much of an option at the time. Besides, after graduation something bigger came into view in the form of the war. Off to Washington she went to work in the War Department.
I could run off a list a mile long about the things I’m in awe of when it comes to my mother. Hopefully, most of you can say the same. She taught me about values, how to stand up for yourself and the importance of fairness.
Fairness. That aspect of her story carried over into life, work and how she treated others. I’m thankful she instilled those same characteristics in me. Let’s hope that her example, that of Nora Lynn Finch and also of Megan Rapinoe will continue to foster the evolution of all women’s sports.
Jim Quist is Managing Editor of ACC Nation and Co-Host of ACC Nation Podcast. He’s a member of NSMA (National Sports Media Association), FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and USBWA (U.S. Basketball Writers Association). He is enrolled in the Beer Brewer Professional Certificate program at the University of Richmond and is somewhat of a ‘foodie’. Follow him on Twitter @ACCTheQ.