Riding Out

RAGBRAI in Sumner

RAGBRAI in Sumner

LAKE MACBRIDE— The good news is there are no morning after effects of my first, five mile bicycle ride in a couple of years. It was immediately energizing, and my butt doesn’t hurt from an unfamiliar seat. My legs and arms are in good shape. Sleep was sound and deep last night. What more could one ask of a sport?

This summer is unlike many recent ones in that the temperatures have been mild, with billowy clouds floating easily through continuous azure skies. Scarred by the 2012 drought, it is hard not to appreciate these beautiful and temperate days in Big Grove. The lake trail was in good shape and ruts had to be dodged only a few times.

Last night, Dr. Christine Grant spoke to the Iowa City Community School District board of directors, thanking them for naming an elementary school in her honor. Her thick Scottish accent hid emotional inflections in her voice. She was confident and direct, as one would expect from a person who worked with some success toward gender equality in athletics.

Grant was part of the revolution in sports at my alma mater beginning in 1970 with the hiring of Chalmers W. “Bump” Elliott as athletic director. Grant became the first women’s athletic director at the University of Iowa in 1973. She joined a pantheon of Iowa sports figures that includes Dan Gable, Hayden Fry, Lute Olson, C. Vivian Stringer and Tom Davis. I’m not a sports fan, but had not heard of Grant until the school was named after her this year. More’s the pity.

A life of learning on the Iowa prairie continues, and today we know one more namesake along the way.

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