Thursday, October 13, 2011

"If you let me play..."

  I don't know what made me think about this ad from Nike released back in 1995. The voice of that little girl popped into my head the other day, and I couldn't shake it. Maybe it was in the back of my mind after I blogged about The Girl Effect, or maybe I just have too much time to think on my hands?

  Whatever the reason, 15+ years later, that ad still makes a huge impact on me.

  I was 14 when that Nike commercial was released. I was who they were talking about. Heck, I could have been one of the girls in the ad.

  'Let me play sports, and I will have more self-confidence...I will learn what it means to be strong.'

  I needed that. Without sports, I honestly don't know the direction my life would have gone. I can't even imagine it. And I'm thankful I didn't grow up in a world where girls couldn't play.

  Seeing that ad again makes me think about how different my life would have been if I had never had any sports to play, or never been allowed to play.

1 of my favorite pictures ever. 2002 - CU Elite 8!
  Every amazing opportunity I have been blessed with in the past 15 years has been due to my participation in sports, and more specifically, basketball.

  I've met some awesome friends. I traveled the country, and now the world. I can appreciate different cultures and ways of living.

  I've learned self-confidence. I've learned to value health. I've learned self-discipline and hard work. I've learned the value of teamwork. I've grown to be independent.

  So when I think about the opportunities I've had, all because of sports, I can't help but want the same for every little girl (and boy, for that matter).

   This isn't meant to be just about sports. Sports are just what I can identify with most.

  For a young kid to have something to commit to, to focus on, and to learn from when they are young and growing up, is what's important. It might be singing or band, or acting, or drawing. There are endless things that kids can get involved with that might lead to future opportunities.

  For me it was basketball. It gave me a purpose, and it gave me something to focus on when there wasn't much else going on for me.

  I can't write about girls in sports, and not at least mention Title IX (an act passed in 1972, it said that no one in the US, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in any educational program that receives Federal funding). My mom grew up pre-Title IX. In an era where girls weren't allowed to play many sports. For her, there was no basketball, no soccer, etc. She could swim, or do gymnastics. But there were far fewer options when she was growing up.

  She has said to me on many occasions how she wishes she had a team to play on when she was a kid. Title IX gave me, and the girls of my generation (and after), that opportunity.

  Title IX was the start. It forced 'them' (whoever 'they' are!) to open up the door to girls. But ever since, it's been us girls holding that door open and taking advantage of every opportunity to progress.

CU Alumni weekend a few years back.
  Some people might roll their eyes at this entry or Title IX, and take these basic opportunities for granted.

  But think about it: How many women or girls do you know whose lives have been positively influenced because of sports? Now take away those opportunities, and what have they/we missed out on?

  Getting girls active and playing sports is one of the best things you can do for them. Sports teaches life lessons, and helps girls develop into strong, confident, and independent women!

  Here's to the next generation of female athletes!


  1. I graduated in high school in 1969. We had synchronized swimming for our girls' athletics. Count yourself very lucky. I grew up in Iowa and the rural schools had girls' basketball, the six on six kind. The city schools had no girls' sports.

    I was at the alumni game in the picture. Love the alumni games.

  2. @maccascruff

    I definitely don't take our opportunities for granted...very thankful to grow up in a post Title IX era.

    We had such a blast at the reunion/alumni game! I was actually lucky to be able to go...was injured & had to come home. Otherwise I would have been in Europe like always. :)

  3. Those that are coaching in college BB can't be there either. Since I attended games since the first Lady Buff game, the alumni games are fun for fans, too--especially the year Mandy took the charge!