CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Chicago Tribune writer Melissa Isaacson has covered some of the most memorable events in the rich history of Chicago sports.
The well-respected writer is intimately involved in the latest story that she’s telling.
As CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reports it’s a book that’s been 40 years in the making.
“We really saw this amazing evolution in girls sports, but more than that, was what happened to us,” Isaacson said. “We had no access to all the clichés and all the lessons and all the things that boys always had and suddenly this whole world opened up to us and we learned about toughness and competitiveness and setting goals.”
Isaacson was on the first girls basketball team ever at Niles West. They reached the 1979 State Championship game in Champaign and beat East St. Louis and their star athlete Jackie Joyner.
“We enter high school and we weren’t allowed to play or practice in the big gym, and they called it the boys’ gym” said Isaacson. “Four years later we’re the toast of the town, playing before standing room only crowds.”
She has a new book out called State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation. It’s how the 1979 Niles West girls basketball team navigated the early years of Title IX.
The book comes at a time when women are still fighting for equal pay in sports. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s dispute is at the forefront.
“If you tell me now 40 years later, they’re chanting for equal pay still in 2019, I would have been devastated in 1979 to hear that we are still fighting many of the same battles.”
Isaacson’s book State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation is truly a testament to Title IX. That 1972 legislation barred sex discrimination in public schools.
The book will be officially released on Tuesday.