National Girls & Women in Sports Day
Tomorrow is National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The U.S. Congress adopted the day in 1986 to honor female athletic achievement and recognize the positive influence of sports on women. This year marks the 25th Anniversary with the theme of “Play, Believe, Achieve.” In New York City, a commemoration event will be hosted by PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) at the Theater in Madison Square Garden. Who knew, right?
A coalition of Women’s athletics groups and the Girl Scouts are also sponsoring events around the country. In particular, the Woman’s Sports Foundation, founded by Billie Jean King, and recently joined by new president and boxing’s own, Laila Ali, are key partners in promulgating girl’s and women’s sports participation. (For more information click here.)
Growing up in New York City where a girls sporting event meant running for the bus my exposure to sports or anything related to athleticism was rudimentary at best. Thus the notion of a day to celebrate women’s sports and athleticism truly hits home especially when I see my daughter and her friends take to athleticism with such each. At 11 years of age, these girls are strong, lithe and full of confidence having been exposed to sports and exercise as a regular part of their lives.
The recent Colgate Women’s Games for the girls 11 and under held over the last few weekends was a case in point. Watching these girls compete was truly a sight to behold. Girls as young as 7 ran there hearts out with incredible courage. In particular we cheered-on my daughter’s friends as they completed in the 800 meter having already run the 200 and 400 that same day. These girls showed heart and wore smiles a mile wide as they crossed the finish line. Particularly heartening has been listening to my daughter and her friends trade tips on warm-up exercises and their ab-routines with the same ease as talking about music and dance moves.
If you can, take a moment to think about this tomorrow and while you might not be able to participate in an event, be aware that we’ve got a long, long way to go before girl’s and women’s athletic programs truly live up to the ideals of Title IX.
I was not encouraged to engage in athletic pursuits as a child. Then my sister came along nearly five years later and she’s a jock. Go figure. It took a long time for me to believe that I was more than just a head propped on the sofa with a book opened in front of it. 😉
Needless to say, I’m so happy that girls are encouraged today to be active in sports.
To your point, there may well have been sports in NYC public schools in the 1960’s, but I’m darned if I ever knew about them — and certainly my parents had no concept! What’s great is that girls are at least encouraged to pursue physical prowess with in individual sports, martial arts, et al, or in team sports. The sucky part is that as I was doing some research around the web about Title IX, I was astounded at the continuing vitriol against women in professional sports. So I guess the upshot it that we really haven’t come *that* far — which means that our daughters *still* have to fight against the same crap we grew up with. Oh well — another great reason to box! 😉