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Connecticut town to vote on fixing playing field imbalance

A push by one Connecticut town to correct an imbalance in playing fields for boys’ and girls’ sports teams is getting bipartisan support.

Residents of Coventry are scheduled to vote Nov. 2 in a referendum on whether to spend $325,000 to build a new girls’ softball field.

Boys’ baseball leagues have had two fields to use while the softball league hasn’t had a permanent field. Since the leagues don’t receive federal funds, that hasn’t been a violation of Title IX, the 1970s federal law that guarantees equal opportunities in sports for both sexes.

Among the public supporters are Democratic activist Tom Swan and Republican state Rep. Tim Ackert.

“Back to back, Tim Ackert and I spoke in favor of the idea of girls softball,” Swan told the Hartford Courant. “It’s not every day that we agree.”

Currently, the softball league uses school fields that give priority to school teams. They also don’t allow the type of on-field advertising that is common for Little League teams.

People in the town of about 12,000 near Storrs have known about the disparity for years.

“This has been a long time coming — probably a good four-year process,” Mackenzie Rivers, the softball league’s president, told the Courant. “People, no matter what your political stance, have girls in the system. They know this is something that needs to be done. ... I was talking last spring to an older couple who were watching their granddaughter who said this was brought up 30 years ago, and it still hasn’t gone anywhere.”

The Associated Press
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