Women’s sports at Puget Sound revisited (Part II)
By Gabi Marrese
History has a way of explaining the foundation of many organizations, and in particular, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).
“Most of the nation was involved in one way or another in the war effort. Women, who were formerly homemakers, left their homes to support the war by taking jobs in factories that were converted into making munitions and other military machinery. This change in the traditional occupation of women made the environment much friendlier for accepting women as professional ball players,” the official website of the AAGPBL states.
The reflection of those actions led to decisions of women in sports all around the United States. The College of Puget Sound (CPS) Women’s Athletic Association sent three representatives to the University of Wisconsin in 1950 to attend a conference for the Athletic Federation of College Women. The following year there were conferences at the University of Washington for hockey and another at Oregon State. These conferences allowed the Loggers to get their name out there for competitions and further development.
In 1950, the CPS started using the YWCA pool in Tacoma to introduce another physical activity: the form swimming team, later known as synchronized swimming team.
The Women’s Athletic Association governing board, with the support of instructor/adviser Alice Bond, was able to develop a noon-hour sports program.
“The men’s intramural basketball schedule was run in the gym on the week nights, but the girls made good use of it at noon,” the 1951 edition of Tamanawas said.
Due to the noon-hour practices, participants were able to score more points toward their intramural sweater and possible addition of stripes. The WAA also presented awards to members along with graduates of the program receiving their name on a plaque for their outstanding athletics during their college career. As the teams progressed, the noon hour became practice games for the season.
“This year the Women’s Athletic Association had many fun-filled sports activities, picnics, sportsday and inter-sport competition for interested participants. Among the events were co-recreational nights, Badminton Club, splash party and [CPS] played host to 13 colleges in a challenging Basketball Sportsday,” the 1956 edition of Tamanawas said.
The program grew to add a form swimming team in 1956 under the name of the Silver Seals, with Bond as the advisor. The Silver Seals created scenes of a show with specific costumes just in the water.
The 1961 issue of Tamanawas referred to the activities as the Women’s Recreation Association (WRA).
“In addition to the sports activities, WRA also holds general meetings each month which consists of business transactions, speakers and films. Enjoyment is the ultimate goal of WRA, and its program is designed to help each woman relax, have fun and to acquaint herself with others,” the 1961 issue of Tamanawas said.
As the years continued, the Silver Seals became more popular but the WRA still conducted its business as usual. Looking back into history, the stillness is explained because the late 1960s and early 1970s marked the second wave of feminism and the start of Title IX.
Title IX was passed by legislation the summer of 1973, but colleges and universities had a six-year grace period to comply with the new legislation. Puget Sound had their first women’s team in 1975 — field hockey, followed by volleyball and basketball.
“The women’s field hockey team had four problems; lack of numbers, lack of experience, lack of skills, and lack of a winning season. This year’s team play was overwhelmingly spirited. Spirit and general overall athletic ability was the factors which dominated this year’s field hockey play,” the 1975 issue of Tamanawas said.
The volleyball team started off on a high note with a record of 9-1 lead by coach Frank Johnson. Their only loss was to Pacific Lutheran University in five sets and that match was the team’s third match of the season.
The Puget Sound women’s basketball team’s record was 7-6, where they started of on a high note but came across a slump later in the season.
“If the team can mature and develop to its fullest extent, along with overcoming the loss of key players, there is no reason to believe that female hoopsters should not be more successful than this year,” the 1975 issue of Tamanawas said.
These years were under Bond’s direction, as her years at Puget Sound lasted from 1947–1976. Due to the respect that the students and players showed for Bond, there is an Alice Bond Award that is given in the spring to the top female student-athlete.