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Olympians, Pro Athletes Contribute to ‘An Unexpected Win, Title IX and the Pinckney Pirates’

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An Unexpected Win, Title IX and the Pinckney Pirates to Premiere at The La Femme International Film Festival in Los Angeles Oct. 18

lafemmeWhen the girls walked into the gym at Pinckney High School in August 1972, they didn’t know that they were making history, they just wanted to play basketball. But what happened in the small town of Pinckney, MI, that year, would occur in communities all across the country.

An Unexpected Win, Title IX and the Pinckney Pirates, examines how an anti-discrimination law changed the face of sports in America, and impacted the lives of small town girls such as those in Pinckney.  While boys had varsity basketball, football, baseball and wrestling at PHS, there were no varsity sports for girls before Title IX.

Interviewees include former MSU and PHS athletes as well as Olympians and high-profile sports figures such as tennis pioneers Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals, and Big Ten Conference Commissioner James Delaney, along with Bernice Sandler, the “godmother of Title IX.”

Fox Sports 007This year, 2013, is the 40-year anniversary of the Women’s Tennis Assn. The WTA was established by Ms. King, following a struggle for equality in pro tennis, which coincided with the passage of Title IX.

Filmmaker Laurie Schenden, a graduate of Pinckney High and Michigan State University, wrote for the LA Times for nearly two decades. She returned to her roots to document a reunion of the original girls varsity team, 40 years after Title IX passed.

Ms. Schenden examines what sports opportunities existed for girls before and after the legislation at PHS, Lansing Community College and MSU, based on her own first-hand experience as an athlete at all three.

Other prominent athletes featured in the film include Olympic gold medalist Nancy Hogshead-Makar, now a Professor of Law and senior director of advocacy with the Women’s Sports Foundation; Carol Hutchins, former MSU player and now coach of UofM’s softball team; US softball gold medalist Jennie Finch, and US Track & Field official and gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley.

To attend the premiere of this documentary on Oct 18, you can visit the La Femme International Film Festival website at or you can join the conversation at the Facebook event page at

More updates on the film can be seen at The Saving Grace Films Facebook Page.

For more about the film or an interview with the filmmaker, contact Regina Paris at, or send a request to GO West Hollywood GO WEHO LGBT Entertainment News and Industry

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