June 23, 2015 — When I was younger, I went through an exploration period in my quest to find where I would fit in. My parents signed me up for ballet classes, but tutus and demi-pliés weren’t my thing. I also had a few sessions with an acting coach because they thought that I could be the next Disney kid, but my performance skills just weren’t up to par. Then, when I was about 10 years old, I saw the film A League of Their Own, starring Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O'Donnell, and that ignited a spark within me to get involved in sports. I thought it was amazing to see women making strides, not only in a male-dominated sport but during a time when women playing sports was almost unheard of. Although I opted for the hardwood court instead of the field, basketball eventually grew to become something that defined me. I ended up playing the game from elementary school through the beginning of college. Although I’ve hung up my jersey and put away my sneakers, the lessons that I’ve learned while playing have been life changing, and I often find myself applying them to my professional career.
I wouldn’t have been able to touch a basketball if it weren’t for the pioneers who fought for Title IX in 1972; this federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. My own sports journey started with just seeing one movie. So forty-three years after the passage of Title IX, as we reflect on the day that the law was brought to fruition and shine a light on the women who have defied the odds and overcome gender bias in sports, I’ve decided to round up some of my favorite movies that highlight women athletes. Check out my list below!
Million Dollar Baby
This movie captures the essence of perseverance. Maggie Fitzgerald, played by actress Hilary Swank, trains to make her mark in the male-dominated realm of boxing.
Love & Basketball
Love & Basketball breaks barriers when it comes to gender roles. It follows the basketball journey of Monica, played by actress Sanaa Lathan, and her love interest Quincy (Omar Epps). In the end Monica becomes more successful on the court, while Quincy is forced to take a back seat.
Bend It Like Beckham
This soccer flick addresses traditional gender stereotypes. The daughter of strict Indian parents goes against their wishes and runs off with a German soccer team to follow her passion.
A League of Their Own
Fearlessness. Camaraderie. Grit. Those are just a few words to describe this film that captures the journey of two sisters who joined the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during WWII.
Share your favorite women-in-sports movies or experiences in the comments section below.