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EQUALITY AND HORSESHOES
Leaders of the women's sports movement were heartened by a 20-minute meeting with President Bush two weeks ago on National Girls and Women in Sports Day. "The whole atmosphere in the White House was more engaging and encouraging than with the previous Administration," says Deborah Anderson, executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation. Anderson and her colleagues list some of their goals for the next year and beyond:
?More vigorous enforcement of Title IX. The passage of the Civil Rights Restoration Act last March, over President Reagan's veto, put teeth back into Title IX, the 1972 law barring sexual discrimination in educational programs or activities at schools receiving federal funds. (A 1984 decision by the Supreme Court had severely limited the scope of the law.) The Women's Sports Foundation has begun a campaign urging female athletes to file complaints with the Office of Civil Rights if their schools aren't providing adequate funding and proper facilities.
?Increasing the number of women in college coaching and athletic administration. Since 1972 the share of women holding coaching positions in women's college sports has dropped from 90% to 48%. More than 30% of the women's intercollegiate athletic programs have no female administrators, and few women are working as coaches or administrators in men's sports.
?Increasing the voice of women in the U.S. Olympic movement. A number of national governing bodies have few or no women on their boards of directors, and no women were formally nominated for any of the six top U.S. Olympic Committee ( USOC) executive board positions to be filled this week at the USOC meetings in Portland, Ore. To remedy the latter oversight, a coalition of USOC member bodies has nominated former Olympic long jumper Willye White by petition. A USOC task force is being formed to address the underrepresentation of women in the organization.
During the White House visit, jockey Julie Krone brought the President, an avid horseshoes player, a gold-plated shoe from Winning Colors, the filly that won the 1988 Kentucky Derby. Krone told Bush that Winning Colors had asked her to pass along a message: "Take care of the rest of the fillies."
THE WINTER GAME
The softball diamond is marked out with Jell-O powder—lime, strawberry or raspberry—and the pitcher's mound is a piece of carpet. Games are played in blizzards and—25� cold. But what makes the annual Priest Lake ( Idaho) Snowshoe Softball Tournament most unusual is, well, snowshoes. Every player in the 12-team event must wear them, and few are adept enough to take more than a few steps in the shoes without tripping.
"You should see the guys in the outfield—especially rookies—try to back up for a long fly," says P.A. announcer Bud Adams. "They just go over backward." Adams helped found the tournament in 1970 to give spectators at Priest Lake's annual dogsled race something to do to keep warm while the sleds were out on the course.
The game is modified fast-pitch, with 11 players per side (five outfielders) and an oversized ball painted red or orange. The tournament is played in the lot behind a bar, Frizzy O'Leary's Korner Klub, where conditions vary with the weather. Fielders dread crusty snow because balls skip off it as if it were AstroTurf and roll into the next county if not intercepted. Deep, fluffy snow can be worse; balls vanish.