Featured Title IX Profile
1972 Loveland High graduate
Currently athletic secretary at LHS
When Jackie Anderson was a student at Loveland High School fifty years ago, there weren’t many opportunities for girls to participate in athletic activities. The only physical activities for girls were cheerleading, which was not considered a sport at the time, and the Girls’ Athletic Association, a sort of intramural organization that allowed girls to practice on volleyball or basketball teams every day before competing for one day each season.
“The girls had to practice at night to work around the boys’ schedule,” Jackie recalls. “The boys had priority.”
Jackie says that back then, people didn’t consider it “ladylike” for girls to participate in sports.
“Back in that day, girls who were heavily into sports were looked at more as tomboys – whereas now, they’re looked at as athletes,” she explains, recalling that when she was in high school, girls were required to wear dresses or skirts to school unless the temperature dropped below zero.
Many girls were members of the Pep Club, an organization that would take buses full of girls in uniform to out-of-town games to sit together and cheer with the cheerleaders.
“Attendance at games was expected, but it was also more of ‘it’s what everyone did,'” she says.
After graduating from LHS in 1972 – the same year Title IX was enacted - Jackie took a job as athletic secretary at the school, a position she held until 1998. She left the job for a while to pursue other opportunities, but when the chance arose to come back to LHS as the athletic secretary in 2013, Jackie returned to the school, and has been there ever since.
Now, having spent decades seeing things change for girls in sports, Jackie says the effects of Title IX are profound, and the differences became apparent in the early 1970s, as LHS quickly added girls’ basketball, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming, and track over the next few years. She says the effect it had on girls who had wanted to participate in sports for years was immediate.
“I think it creates a sense of belonging and family, and of school pride,” Jackie says. “Even a sport that hasn’t experienced a lot of success, there’s still that sense of accomplishment. You don’t always have to win to be successful. You’re improving skills, teamwork, and character.”
Jackie explains that early on, girls’ sports were never taken quite as seriously as boys’ sports, and that the girls’ teams didn’t have much of a fan base.
“For girls it was more about promoting good sportsmanship and a sense of dedication and achievement,” she says. “Girls weren’t considered at the same level as the boys. I don’t think it took very long for that to change as numbers grew and things got a little more serious.”
Jackie comes from a family that was always into sports, whether as participants or as avid fans. Her parents graduated from LHS in the 1940s, Jackie and her two sisters all graduated from LHS, and the three sisters each married LHS alums as well. Years later, Jackie’s son would also graduate from Loveland High.
“I can remember getting into my red snowsuit as a kid to go to LHS football games. It didn’t matter how far away they were playing, we went,” she recalls. “Loveland High has been such a big part of our family’s life; getting to be a part of our team successes, our school successes is fulfilling. It continues a sense of pride that’s been a part of our family for decades.”
Jackie was also the coach for the cheer team at LHS for seven years in the 1970s and 1980s, watching it evolve from more of an activity to a CHSAA-sanctioned sport.
Spending all of that time immersed in high school sports, Jackie is somewhat of an authority on the effects of athletics on young people.
“There’s so much to learn from it: How to succeed, how to fail in an appropriate way,” she says. “I think it’s good when kids can do something for themselves that makes them stronger, better people, and at the same time get involved in their school.”
As schools expanded their girls’ athletic programs to create more opportunities each year, most recently adding programs such as lacrosse and wrestling, Jackie says the effects of Title IX have become evident.
“It’s much more serious and competitive now, partly because the opportunities are available at a young age, and there are more college opportunities,” she says. “I think it’s fair, and kind of wish maybe it had come along a little bit earlier. Why shouldn’t girls have those same opportunities?”