Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I Won Through Sports

Today I am blogging to Rally for Girls Sports. I am reflecting on what I've won through playing sports; how they've impacted my life. I'm not even sure words can fully describe how much sports have impacted my life, but I'll give it a shot, because I believe in this cause so much!

I'm going to start out this entry with a poem forwarded to me by my Mom and Aunt, written by an eighth grader. It eloquently describes my favorite sport and my passion... running!


Waking up.

You open the window and the sweet morning air gushes into the room.

The sunlight peers over the horizon and glistens on your face,

Embracing you, reminding you it is good to be alive.

As you crack open the front door the cold air enters the house.

You go for your morning run, bouncing off your toes as you skip down the sidewalk.

You are alone.

There is no one to judge you or tell you you’re not good enough.

It is only you and the road.

The road, hard and black, seems as though it is speaking to you. Complimenting your form and encouraging you to keep on running.

As your feet hit the pavement you thank God you are able to run.

It is truly a gift.

You thank Him for today, for waking up, for giving you a family that loves and cares for you,

And as you complete your run, you thank Him for giving you the energy to take that first step.

You thank Him because you know; you know in your heart that it is a treasure

To be


I think what I love most about this is how it stretches beyond running. That's what I really love most about running, and all sports for that matter. The lessons they teach you beyond just the field of competition. It has taught me the values of hard work and dedication, perseverance, and teamwork. Running in particular gives me an opportunity to reflect on myself as a person. As was noted in the beautiful poem above, as you're pounding the pavement, finding that wonderful rhythm (although yes, of course there's those runs where the rhythm never comes!) there's time to think about the things you're most grateful for, time to reflect on anything and everything that pops in to your head.

Sports have provided me with self-confidence and a feeling of belonging--my teammates are my extended family!

Sports have given me SO many highs, and plenty of lows, too, teaching me to deal with the good and the bad, just like it is out in the "real" world.

Above all else, sports have always put a smile on my face. Both on and off the court/field of competition. Having just completed my collegiate running career, what will I take away most from having competed hard for 4 years? The team dinners, the after-Conference parties, training camp competitions, the Nationals banquets, and plenty of fun overnight hotel stays. I will most fondly remember the times I spent with my teammates-- again, my extended family. The camaraderie in sports is in my opinion, its greatest gift of all. It's why no girl should ever lose out on an opportunity to play sports. There's no better way to meet people and to learn to work together. And hey, one more great thing about sports? Its benefits to your health! Keeps you in tip top shape both physically AND mentally! Heck, running can even give you a NATURAL high! :) Doesn't get much better than that.

I guess I can't pinpoint an exact list of all that I've "won" through sports, but I do know without them, I simply wouldn't be ME! I wouldn't be living my joyful, highly content existence. Sports are my passion, and forever will be, and I sincerely hope every single girl in this country and even in this world can have a chance to participate in some sort of sport and experience the thrill of competition. Every girl most definitely deserves the opportunity to smile, laugh, be challenged, and be rewarded by the world of sports. I know I'm certainly incredibly grateful they're such a huge part of my life!

With Title IX, sports for girls has come a long way in the past 25 or so years. My generation of girls have so many more opportunities to be involved in sports than their Moms did. My mom has told me numerous times how much she wishes she would have been able to be a part of a real sports competition. (I want her to walk a 5K sometime soon so she truly can experience it!) For this, I think all of us women can and should be grateful. We've come very far, but we still have work to do; got to keep the momentum going! So, please visit the National Women's Law Center now to learn more about how you can help continue to expand the possibilities for women and girls in this great country!!!

Thanks to SPORTS for making me in to a happy-go-lucky, fiercely competitive, KnightRunner! :)