But I didn't know it. I didn't know it when I started playing soccer in first grade in Cincinnati (1977). Or when I moved to Pittsburgh and played on co-ed teams because there were no teams just for girls. I didn't know it when I returned to Cincinnati at age 12 (1983) and became a goalkeeper for a select girls' team and traveled the country playing (and winning) tournaments.
I still didn't know anything about Title IX when I when I was an NCAA Division I goalkeeper for four years at Xavier University (1990-93). Years later when I got a Ph.D. (2006) and a job as a university professor in creative writing, I never really thought about the fact that Title IX had helped make my career as a woman in academia possible.
I wrote THE KEEPER because I wanted to know more about Title IX and how it shaped my life and the lives of women in my generation. How it has shaped the lives of today's generation. And what it was like for the women who came before.
THE KEEPER: Soccer, Me, and the Law That Changed Women's Lives was published in 2022, the year of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.
Kelcey Ervick is the author of the graphic memoir, The Keeper (Avery Books/Penguin). Her three previous award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction are The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová, Liliane's Balcony, and For Sale By Owner. She is co-editor, with Tom Hart, of The Field Guide to Graphic Literature, forthcoming from Rose Metal Press in 2023.
Her stories, essays, and comics have appeared in The Rumpus, The Believer, Washington Post, Lit Hub, Colorado Review, Passages North, Quarterly West, Booth, Notre Dame Review, and elsewhere. She has received grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities at Indiana University. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati and is a professor of English and creative writing at Indiana University South Bend.
What I really wanted to be was a wide receiver.
I became a goalkeeper instead.
Eventually I became a writer and artist, uncovering women's histories and drawing my daily life.
[All the awesome author photos by: Myriam Nicodemus]
[Childhood photos of author by: Mom]
THE KEEPER was published in 2022, the year Title IX turned 50. I'm happy to meet with classes, book clubs, athletes, libraries, and other groups to talk about Title IX, girls' sports, writing, comics, and more.
As a professor, I know that the best way to learn something is to try it. As a reader of Beckett, I know that the best way to improve at something is to try again. Fail again. Fail Better.
in 2018, I started drawing every day. I published an essay about it at The Rumpus: "The Habit of Art: A Year of Daily Painting."
This image is a watercolor painting I made from a scene at our league night. Our team of English professors is called The Big Lebowskis.
I got married, changed my name. I got divorced, changed it back. In between, I published some books. It's a pain.
Ervick is what might be called my "maiden name," but I don't like that (patriarchal) term, and my grandfather was from Ervik, Norway, where the tradition is to take the name of the place, not the man. My grandfather was named after the Viking, Ragnvald of Ervik, so I call Ervick my "Viking name."
Here is a photo of Ervik, Norway from my visit there in 2008.