Today is Rally for Girls’ Sports Day! Across the web, bloggers, tweeters and Facebook users are raising their voices in celebration of the far-reaching benefits of athletics participation for girls. My post today is in support of this initiative by National Women’s Law Center’s Rally for Girls’ Sports: She’ll Win More Than a Game campaign.
My Sports Background
I have a diverse sports background. In school, at least until my high school years, I played both organized sports at school, and was a figure skater during after-school hours. I experienced both team sports and the individual sport of figure skating. Both are so important to a girl’s development.
In team sports, I loved the feeling of camaraderie that came from being on a team that had to work well together. I especially loved field hockey. I learned to trust that if I failed, someone would pick me up, and if someone else failed, I could pick them up; and even that failure wasn’t ever really failure.
Figure Skating was a completely different experience. There were long hours of practice alongside others, but very much focused internally. My favorite part was doing figures. Figures are no longer part of the compulsory events, but when I was young they were. I never grew bored doing figure eights over and over and over. I loved the intense focus and precision, and learning to control the movements of my body on skates so well that I could create a figure eight that looked like I had been around only one time…at least in some places around the eight.
Sports taught me perseverance, resilience, healthy conditioning, self-reliance, teamwork, and most importantly, the love of being active.
Being a Whole Individual
All that being said, I think one of the most important things being involved in sports gives to girls (boys, too) is the realization of how important the body is to being a whole individual. Rather than walking around like a lollipop, where so much importance is placed on thinking and the mind, being involved in sports can give girls a lifetime love of exercise and appreciating one’s body in a good healthy way.
As an adult, I’ve found my love of sports has evolved into dance and yoga, with some weight-lifting to keep my bones in good health. I know my early experiences feeling healthy and strong in sports have stayed with me. I treasure feeling strong and having a healthy woman’s body.
I’ve found in working intimately with women to help them regain a sense of self-respect and worth, while deepening the connection with body wisdom, the relationship with the body holds the key. While experiences around the body in sports can be both positive and negative (mostly depending on how the adults involved relay body image), learning to appreciate one’s body and what it is capable of, is invaluable to girls and women everywhere.