STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 11/11/2015

When Girls Became Lions Celebrates Impact of Title IX On Women’s Sport

Dr. Valerie J. Gin (kinesiology) and freelance writer Jo Kadlecek recently published When Girls Become Lions, a novel celebrating women’s friendships against the backdrop of sport history. 

The year is 1983, and teacher Bailey Crawford leads his town’s first girls’ soccer team to their school’s only state championship—despite the hardships they confront just to play. 

It’s not until 2008, when new coach Reynalda Wallace discovers their story, that the soccer champs finally receive recognition. Rey learns how much of her own life—past and present—is bound to those first athletes whose struggle she never knew existed. 

“As a child I devoured all the sport stories I could get my hands on at the library,” says Dr. Gin, who oversees Gordon’s Recreation, Sport and Wellness major. “All the stories I read were about boys. As an adult I have been waiting to read a contemporary novel with a female athlete protagonist. Having lived countless stories as an athlete and coach, I began to dream about writing a story to include some of our incredible sport moments and, better yet, to write about the friendships I enjoy with teammates and with the athletes I had the pleasure of coaching. So after voicing my dream with Jo, we teamed up to make it become a reality.” 

Dr. Gin hopes the book will fuel conversations, and result in more novels and stories that feature women athletes as the protagonists.



Book cover, When Girls Became Lions