While I may never have been an athlete, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate their abilities or enjoy watching sports. On the contrary, compared to most women, I love sports, and I'm delighted that my daughter Abby is already showing great potential as both a soccer and softball player.
Twice in the past week I've had the opportunity to reflect on the special something that is the female athlete. Last Monday was Abby's first ever fast pitch indoor softball practice. Her team of 4th and 5th graders bravely joined a group of older girls who had been practicing for weeks. What I saw in these young ladies was engagement, dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm. They were stepping into new territory and embracing it. I love that through sports, these girls will grow up strong, confident, and knowing they are more than a pretty face or a cute outfit. I felt such immense pride in watching my daughter listen and learn, fail and succeed, and give this her all as she does with everything she takes on. I thought of the woman she's soon to become and was in awe of her potential.
|Ivy Classic Champions 2011|
Again, "awe" was the word that came to mind. It was more than just the gut-wrenching flips and twists and displays of raw athleticism. It was the fact that these young women were the epitome of commitment, perseverance, and courage in an age when that is increasingly rare. I was struck by the level of spirit, teamwork and support they demonstrated, especially given the individual nature of the sport. Add to that the fact that these women are not only athletes but among the brightest students in the country. I thought to myself, that's my Abby in just a few short years (can you tell I think she's something special?).
While I have enjoyed my own accomplishments and feel I present a strong female role model for my daughter, I will always wish I had experienced what it means to compete physically as both an individual and part of a team. My hat goes off to Abby, Emily, the Penn gymnasts, and all those girls, young and old, who demonstrate dedication, teamwork, strength, and competitive spirit on fields, in gyms, and on courts each and every day.
Now, if you're like me and have never experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as a competitive athlete, visit Emily's blog, Mothers of Brothers for "A Piece of Me."