Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Women Who Play

(I'm top row, middle - #4)
(Yes, my bangs were permed.  Awesome)

Growing up I always thought it was the most normal thing in the world to play sports.  Any sports.  Not just figure skating and swimming but all kinds of team sports, even the ones requiring some aggression.  I never once thought of 'boxing out for the rebound' as being unladylike in any way.  In boxing out you have to hold your ground in such a confident, assertive way and I think practicing these types of skills has transferred over into my life.

I played basketball from a young age.  I believe I was 6 when I started.  I played in high school with some extremely talented girls and we won cities and 4A provincials every year.  I received a few offers to play post secondary basketball but made a heart wrenching decision not to.  I remember going under the bleachers to cry when I watched the first game at the University of Lethbridge.  I loved basketball so much and up to that point I defined myself largely as an athlete and specifically as a basketball player.  It was good for me to learn to define myself in other ways and I had some great years at the U of L, even without basketball.

But basketball had played a major role in shaping who I was up to that point.

I am so grateful for the lessons I learned through sport and I want the same for my daughter.  I guess I'm partial to basketball but Kyla has enjoyed participating in karate, soccer and dance too, so we'll see which sport interests her the most as she gets older.  One thing is for sure, the girl has intensity...and I LOVE IT!

I've been reading a couple books lately about women in sport and they have really opened up my eyes to how far sport has come for women and how recently things have changed for women in sport.  Did you know that in 1972 TITLE IX was passed in the United States, stating that gov't funded schools and programs could not exclude females.

 One athlete said that shortly following this new legislation, her and her friends would often go buy penny candy and then go to the sandpit (baseball field) to see whose parents (very few at the time) had allowed their daughter to join.  When she wanted to join, her parents questioned her, "What if the ball hits you in the face, or even worse, the pelvis, rendering you infertile?  Who will marry you?"

Truly, sports have come a long way for women.

I hope to raise a strong, confident, healthy girl and my hope is that involving her in sports will help her become all that she can be.


  1. You would love some of the classes I've got to take in my degree! The history of women in sport truly is unbelievable. Read up about the first woman to try and run a marathon. The race organizer tried to take her out -- physically while she was running!!

  2. Wow Kristen. That sounds like an amazing class. I would love that, you're right. I just read about Kathrine Switzer. Wow, great story. It just blows my mind how recently these things have happened. It sure was tough for those pioneer female athletes but I'm grateful they've opened up the way for us to participate freely!