As for preventing the sexual abuse by coaches, says Finkelhor, coaches need to know what to do when they find themselves sexually attracted to young, physical athletes, just as psychotherapists are taught how to handle a possible sexual attraction to a patient. At the same time, student athletes need to be taught how to detect the coach who crosses too many boundaries—by showering them with extravagant gifts, or lots of one-on-one time—so they can prevent an ugly escalation. "Somebody needs to take this and write a good manual about it, in a complex way, without clichés," he says.
Finally, it's time for all coaches serving in the post-Title IX world to make the athletic experience more responsive to female sensibilities. That doesn't mean putting the brakes on the ambitions of the most athletic and competitive girls. But it does mean acknowledging in sports a reality that has gradually won acceptance in business, politics, and other areas of public life: that women and men differ in how they see and experience the world, and that respecting these differences benefits everyone.
Experienced coaches will tell you that boys and girls, by and large, bring different frames of mind and motivations to their sport. Tom Fleming, a two-time winner of the New York City marathon in the 1970s, has coached high school boys and girls since 1988. Boys are overconfident, he says, certain of victory in spite of their ill-preparedness, while girls underestimate their fitness. "As coaches, we need to spend more time talking to the young females about what they can be," he said.
Long-time high school coach Tim Lear reports that girls find more pleasure in the team bond than their male counterparts; the friendships built out of shared effort and common goals draw girls into sports and cement loyalties to the team. Katie McCafferty, a senior at Georgetown who runs Division 1 track and cross-country, put it this way: "The boys don't seem to have the same close, intimate bonds. They don't possess that same drive that our girl's team has to achieve that one goal together. And that's been the key to our success." That's true even at the elite level; Rebecca Lobo, the former WNBA star center and self-described "Title IX baby" says, "Camaraderie and team unity, creating a family atmosphere, is one place where you do have a difference between men and women. The women care about the 'we' and the guys care about the 'I.'"
For her part, Gouraige, once at college, quickly found herself dreading practices. "You always had to be on your game, study what was in your binder, know the plays, get out there and be your best, be the fastest, score the goals," she says. "It felt like a tryout at every practice."
Though she loved lacrosse, she didn't want to spend all her time playing it. She was eager to explore other things, and with a push from the coach, she left the team during her sophomore year. "When you go to college, it's all about how to win the national championship," says Gouraige, now 21. "Why can't sports just be fun?"