Six older brothers and all of them loved hockey. In December, after their father certified frozen and safe the behind-their-home pond, four lengths of hose stretched to it and laminated the surface with a clear veneer suitable for skating.
Missy first waddled onto the ice at two in hand-me-down skates, guided by David, the oldest. David, more uncle than brother, considered it his duty to tutor the Winslow siblings in the rudiments of skating.
David busted a leg and career in his senior year, losing a full collegiate scholarship. All played high school and four played college, but people went mute when Missy skated. By thirteen, no one could catch her. The family dubbed her ‘Orr’ after their favourite Bruin, and no one laughed over the comparison.
Monica and Gene Winslow pleaded with the School Administrative District superintendent.
“Some of the state’s best young players skate our pond, and none holds a candle to Missy,” Gene said.
Warren shook his grey-haired head. “If we had a girls’ team-”
“She can play on the boys’ team,” Monica suggested.
“Out of the question! She cannot use the locker room. Hockey players check puck carriers. No player will check her, and if they do she might get hurt. No boy would be her teammate.”
“Care to wager?” Gene loved a point-proving bet.
“No I won’t, because Missy cannot play boys hockey. She should figure skate. She’d make the Olympics if she trained.”
“Missy hates figure skating,” Monica shot back. “Have you heard of Title IX, just passed in June?”
“Yes, but we are still sorting through the implications.”
“Well, work through this implication. If my daughter doesn’t play hockey, we’ll see you in court.”
Missy played boys’ hockey, made first team All-State, and serves as coach of women’s hockey at her college alma mater.
(Author’s note: In 1972 – my last year of high school – 300,000 young women played high school and college sports, mostly field hockey, softball, gymnastics, and tennis. In June 1972,Title IX became law.
In 2012, close to 3,000,000 women play a wide variety of sports. Title IX may well be one of the most successful social legislation bills in US history.)