Prologue by Jill Hutchison
There was a time when females played basketball for the love of the game – not the scholarship, the media attention, the promise of a pro career. This was a rare breed whose passion was usually reserved for their male counterparts. These were the pioneers.
Truly gender cannot dictate one’s love of sports, and Pat McKinzie-Lechault bucked the norm through her early years when there were no opportunities for females. She found a way to play in the gyms of her coaching grandfather, father and best friend. She honed her game on what each of them taught her, both on and off the court. Pat, and many others, were victims of the social rejection of all ages – both male and female. And yet she endured, in fact flourished.
Pat’s journey is special because she also experienced vastly increased opportunities and the acceptance of females in sports. She is a “Title IX” athlete! She is a product of federal legislation requiring equal opportunity by gender in educational institutions – a law that drastically changed the face of educational sport opportunities for females. Pat and others,experienced high school, college, pro and international basketball, albeit in its infancy. She paid her dues, both physically and emotionally, so her daughter could experience competitive sport as if it had always been an accepted part of society.
Certainly, there were others who experienced the “before and after” of Title IX. However, Pat McKinzie’s story captures the depth of emotion felt by a woman moving in a man’s athletic world. It is a must read for anyone interested in how we got where we are in women’s sports. We are forever grateful for our pioneer athletes whose passion for the game over-rode social mores of the day to bring much needed change.
To win the game is great.
To play the game is greater.
To love the game is greatest!