Years ago (about 18 or so, to be more exact), I was in high school and aching to play soccer for my school. Problem: there was no women's soccer team at my school. At the time, I was the manager of the men's soccer teams and enjoyed the sport, so I spoke to the school soccer coach. He told me to talk to the head of athletics, which I did. I was told that there were already women's sports: cheerleading, track, volleyball, softball, basketball, swimming. There was no need to add on another sport. I argued that the guys had more teams and more opportunities, but was rebuffed again.
So I joined a rec league team to play over the summer. It just wasn't the same.
The next year, under a new soccer coach, I decided to try again. This coach was extremely supportive, offering to help get the team started and to coach it. All I needed to do was prove there was enough interest, and he would talk to the athletic director. I put together a petition, carried it around my school, and ended up with almost 50 names of girls who would be interested in playing.
I gave this to the coach, and we went to the athletic director to discuss the plan: there was a lot of interest, there was very little cost (the guys' teams already had all the equipment and uniforms we needed), and we already had a coach. He reluctantly agreed, but made it very clear that if there was not enough interest the team would be disbanded.
The first year, my junior year, we had a completely full roster.
My senior year, we had to have tryouts to limit the number to the maximum we were allowed.
The year after my senior year, the coach told me that they had finally started a Junior Varsity team, because there were so many women wanting to play.
Today, walking through a grocery store near my hometown, I saw a young woman wearing a sweatshirt that read "Black Hawks Soccer."
And it made me smile.