Girls & Sports
March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
A few days ago Lauren Harrison posted on her blog, the infamous Slog, about the importance of sports in her life. Inspired after overhearing some remarks by young girls in the pool locker room, she wrote compellingly on the issues that girls face in today’s world and how sports have helped her overcome them. Yes, today’s world. In case you have been under a rock, women’s rights isn’t just an issue for the history books.
Lauren points out that throughout her life sports were an outlet for her that taught her how to combat the negative thoughts that seep into every young girl’s mind. I had a similar experience. In addition to playing competitive soccer growing up, I was lucky to have an older sister who set an example of how to work hard and pursue dreams; she went on to Columbia Law School and is becoming a kick-ass lawyer in NYC (think future Diane Lockhart from The Good Wife). I have parents that sent me outside to play with the neighborhood kids knowing that they were mostly boys and never minding that I was coming home with grass stains on my jeans instead of barbies or makeup. All of these things – sports, a supportive family, caring mentors/coaches – were enough to keep my head on straight and ready to battle the negative influences I’d experience throughout my life.
I never had the awareness as I grew up that I was, in fact, facing threats to my own progressive thinking every single day. The magazines. TV (though I didn’t have cable as a kid which probably helped!). The internet (Facebook certainly has it’s downsides!). The fact that going to USNA for 2 years of undergrad meant I was lucky to take an English class – women’s studies or anything remotely related was practically a curse word. Throughout all of this, sports remained the center of my life teaching me valuable lessons, many of which I probably still haven’t even realized are there.
Lauren was right and I second her applause to those young girls out there who are learning to play sports, and to the parents who are schlepping them back and forth to practices. And I want to add my own CHEERS to Lauren (and LJ!). To Hillary. To Linsey, Beth W., and Kelly. These are just a few of the women who are forging the path in the sport that I now play in my adult life. And who are making a name for themselves professionally and/or athletically. Who are teaching the young girls out there – as well as the twenty-somethings like myself – that you can do it. That you can be a mom and a triathlete – or hold off on that whole mom thing – and either way it’s okay. That you can choose everything from your career, to your birth control, to the bike you want to ride fast on.
And on a lighter note, here’s to hoping someone takes Lauren up on her offer to take a carpool shift, or swim or bike with their daughter, because I’d love to read the blog about that!