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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Athletics as way for girls to learn to be assertive and disciplined

Yow asserts that participation in athletics for girls and young women was especially important in teaching them to become more assertive. In noting the different ways in which boys and girls are acculturated, Yow argues that sports offer one avenue for girls to learn about discipline and commitment.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Do you think that there are ways in which that's particularly important for young women given other things that young women are taught by culture and society about what they ought to be?
Well, I think in sports, to be successful you have to be more assertive. You have to be more aggressive. You can't be passive and not make decisions, and just lay back. You have to step up. You have to bring something to the table so to speak, and you have to be a contributing member. People are depending on you to contribute your talents and your abilities to the team so that we can be the best that we can be. I would think one of the biggest qualities is aggressiveness, because how can you play the game of basketball well and at a high level and not be aggressive? But you can learn. There are times to be aggressive. There are times to be more aggressive. There are times to be less aggressive, and that is all within sport itself. When you step off the court from practice then there's no need for the kind of aggressiveness that you needed when you were tackling that task on the court. But you may find in life other tasks that you need to be more aggressive, more assertive in order to have the results and the outcome that you need and that you want. But you have learned how to be aggressive and assertive when you were playing basketball. So I think that you definitely can transfer these qualities and abilities from one area to another.
And you those are particular qualities that are especially good for young women to learn, needing to learn?
I think so, yes. For women I do, because discipline and commitment is across the board for everybody, and guys tend to be more aggressive and more assertive. They may learn through sports to be less so, because you have to have self control. You absolutely have to have self control so it can work both ways, and you have to have respect for authority. You have officials in the game, and you have coaches, and you represent not only yourself, your family, your team, your university, your athletic department, you represent all of these things so you learn expectations for when you represent. So, yes, I would think aggressiveness and assertiveness just come to my mind immediately as a little different qualities than a lot of people think of women possessing.