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Grannies, Mystics Hoop It Up on Hill

That bouncing noise in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday is the sound of grandmothers in better shape than you.

Title IX passed decades ago, but that doesn’t mean that all’s fair in men’s and women’s athletics. On Tuesday, just weeks before the 41st anniversary of the Title IX passage, the American Association of University Women will hold a basketball clinic and various other activities to get Congress to focus on increasing compliance with the law — and they’re bringing their grannies with them.

It all starts with a basketball clinic in the Cannon Caucus Office. Four members of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics will coach 20 D.C. public school girls on the skills integral to the game. After the clinic, the program “Grade School to Grannies: The Importance of Women’s and Girls’ Participation in Sports across the Life Span” will briefly switch gears. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman and documentary filmmaker Angela Alford will briefly address the group.

Alford directed the film “Granny’s Got Game,” which chronicles the Fabulous 70s, a senior women’s hoops team shooting for gold at the senior Olympics. Members of Congress and their staffs will have a chance to shoot hoops on a miniature court in the Cannon Caucus Room, with the Fabulous 70s refereeing, all while the film rolls in the background.

“Title IX has made enormous strides toward gender equity in athletics, but we need greater Title IX compliance in education overall to use the landmark law to its full potential,” Hallman said in a statement.

Slaughter added: “Watching women who have achieved the pinnacle of athletic success in professional sports play alongside a group of septuagenarians who are still shooting hoops — and winning gold medals — reminds us that it’s never too late to realize the benefits of athletic activity.”

After the official event, the Fabulous 70s will lobby members of Congress to support the High School Data Transparency Act, which would require high schools to publicly report basic data on the number of female and male students in athletic programs and expenses made for the sports teams.

“These women, who are still playing basketball at 75 years old, are a testimony to what sports can mean to girls. Basketball has given them a lifetime of exercise, fun, and friendship,” Alford said.

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