I grew up in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. My first love was field hockey. So when I was accepted to Yale in 1969, I walked through the university gates with my hockey stick tucked under my arm. After signing up for college classes I wanted to try out for the team. I asked around and was surprised to hear that Yale didn't have a women's hockey team.
When I told the athletic department that I wanted to start one, they looked at me like I was from Mars. So a classmate and I began holding informal practices, knocking the ball around one of the quads. Our sophomore year, the school finally gave us a "practice field" — a grassy area that was used as a parking lot on football weekends. Monday practices started with picking up charcoal briquettes and beer cans left over from tailgating parties.
I'll never forget our first road game at Princeton. Unlike us, the Princeton players had official hockey uniforms. We were in cut-off jeans and tee-shirts — not exactly top of the line. We ended up borrowing uniforms from Southern Connecticut State's team. The night before the game we were housed in two of Princeton's famed eating clubs. Both were hosting wild parties. Half of our team slept in an attic room with no locks on the doors. Princeton guys showed up in the middle of the night, laughing hysterically at us. The next day we were totally exhausted. Princeton won by a goal.
After playing for nearly three years under these conditions, it was time someone started paying attention to us. I asked the Yale Daily News to cover our games. I was told that staff members didn't know anything about "girls' sports," and it was clear they were in no rush to find out. So after field hockey season ended, I started covering all the women's games myself. I loved it and realized I wanted to become a reporter.
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Lawrie Mifflin, a pioneer in women's athletics and the first woman sports reporter at the New York Daily News, has witnessed the progress and promise of Title IX — a law enacted during her junior year in college. In 1998, Mifflin won the prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, given to former student athletes who have excelled in their fields 25 years after college. Since 1982, Mifflin has worked at The New York Times as Deputy Sports Editor, National Desk Reporter and supervisor for video and web production. She is currently Senior Editor for new digital initiatives.