Akron Racers hosting 40th anniversary event for Title IX
SOUTH AKRON — On June 23, before a game against the Chicago Bandits, the Akron Racers will host a 40th anniversary celebration of the passage of Title IX at Firestone Stadium.
According to the Racers, Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Akron Racers President and General Manager Joey Arrietta said Title IX has provided the “gift of opportunity for girls and women.”
“It has provided the chance to learn the values of competition, teamwork and sportsmanship,” she stated. “But, more importantly, it has opened the door to educational opportunities that have led to an improved presence of women in the work force. Whether it is on the diamond or in the boardroom, women have been given a chance to contribute their intelligence, their talents and their time to improving the lives of millions of individuals worldwide. Title IX opened that door and gave new meaning to ‘dinner at the plate.’”
On June 23, the Akron Racers will honor 40 publicly nominated female fastpitch players, coaches and administrators on the field prior to the start of the ballgame.
“It is a unique opportunity to be a part of the national celebration of Title IX,” Arrietta said. “We wanted to illuminate the rich tradition of the game and the key role Northeast Ohio has played in the game at all levels.”
The names of the people who will be honored will be announced June 18 at www.akronracers.org. According to Arrietta, the names were selected by a committee of current and former coaches chaired by Scott Scalf, an assistant softball coach at Crestwood High School.
“The committee reviewed the nominations and selected the individuals they believe provided the historical overview of the excellence in fastpitch softball the past 40 years,” she said.
The Racers game vs. the Chicago Bandits — the defending National Pro Fastpitch champions — is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. Prior to the game, there will be a special celebration with the 40 honorees, their guests and sponsors of the event.
“Each honoree will be given four tickets to the game. The tickets are for the honoree, her youth escort and two guests. The celebration will be staged in the picnic area down the left field line beginning at 5 p.m.,” Arrietta said. “The two teams will stop by the celebration briefly before their pregame warm-up. The ‘Eat and Greet’ will allow the honorees to share their experiences throughout high school and college and just how playing the game impacted their lives. The picnic atmosphere will allow the honorees to share their memories and the highlights that have made Northeast Ohio ‘the heart of fastpitch softball’ for the past 40 years.”
Arrietta said it was a natural fit for the Racers to host this event.
“We decided to embrace the opportunity to share the love of our sport and to illuminate the tremendous success of the game through the stories, honors and awards that have been bestowed on girls and women in Northeast Ohio,” she said. “We wanted to educate all of the youth players on just who and how — this opportunity to play, get scholarships, earn degrees and even play professionally — has occurred. Rarely do you get the opportunity to take a close look at history in the making at such young ages. Much like ‘A League of Our Own’ was revered by many, there are women right in our community that developed their own legacy over the past 40 years in fastpitch softball. We were lucky to have a game scheduled on June 23. Even though the legislation itself did not mention sports or athletics, it clearly has made its mark on the development of opportunity for girls and women in sports.”
Arrietta said the introductions of the 40 honorees will begin approximately at 6:30 p.m. The gates will open at 6 p.m. for the general public, and souvenirs will be handed out to a limited number of fans.
“The first 500 fans will receive a commemorative Title IX medallion,” Arrietta said. “The ladies, both young and old, will also receive a red wooden [rose] sponsored by the Summit County Visitor & Convention Bureau. There will be 500 roses available to distribute on a first-come, first-served basis prior to the game.”
Tickets, which can be purchased in advance by calling 330-376-8188 or going online at www.akronracers.org, cost $10 for club seats, $8 for VIP seating and $7 for stadium and terrace seating.
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