MN Reads: “Break Point” by Sheri Brenden
It wasn’t that long ago that high school girls were severely limited in their athletic options. Sheri Brenden’s new book Break Point recaps the 1972 events surrounding two female athletes vying for the approval to participate on their respective high school sports teams. One of the students was Peggy Brenden, the author's older sister.
The issue wound up in the courts. "They launched a federal lawsuit," says Brenden. "They eventually gained the opportunity to play but they also... had a role in developing a precedent-setting lawsuit." Through interviews and court transcripts, the story is pealed back and the main players in this half-century-old tale come to life. "The transcript was both a goldmine and sort of a landmine all at once," says Brenden of looking through old court records. The use of direct quotes aid in recreating moments of off-the-cuff statements that highlight dated arguments as well as forward-thinking comments.
As a result of the court ruling, Sheri Brenden was able to have multiple athletic opportunities throughout her high school career, and those experiences helped to carve out future employment. "My experience as an athlete... not only has helped me personally, but has given me opportunities in my career," says Brenden who worked as a freelance sportswriter for the St. Cloud Times. "I could tell them about sports. They wouldn't have let me do that if I didn't know sports."
Break Point can be purchased at independent booksellers and on-line at the University of Minnesota Press website.
Minnesota Reads is produced at The North 103.3 with funding provided in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.