What I didn’t know was that there is practice every day, and that the after school activities bus leaves much earlier than practice is over. And that there are many additional responsibilities for parents than just showing up at games – there’s the pasta dinner before the season opener, there are list serves to be managed, fundraising to be done, calls to be made, sheds to be built (to house the girls’ gear) and at least 10 other volunteer responsibilities on the sheet that was passed around at the parent meeting at the beginning of the season.
Sheesh. I got through my son’s four years of high school by visiting the school about 10 times. I’ve been there 10 times plus in the first week and a half for my daughter’s launch.
Different kids, different needs.
I went to a high school that had no sports teams. It was the 1970s, and my school, a bit of a hippie experiment in education, was non-competitive. I took ballet and modern dance as my gym credits. There were sports, certainly, and I have a memory of one of my good friends walking around the halls in her “gym leader” uniform, although I don’t know what a gym leader was, since I never once set foot in the gym (really.)
But I have a good friend today who was a high school and college athlete, and she and her daughters have been beacons for my daughter for years. My daughter has skimmed being really athletic, and while having played on some teams – soccer and basketball – had never really found her niche.
Until now. She really, really likes field hockey and lacrosse. She comes home from practice starving, because she’s working so hard every day. She delightedly showed me the beginning of her “six pack” the other day. And she is getting to know a wonderful group of girls who are tightly knit and who work together as a team.
I’m kind of loving it from the sidelines.
So, from my friend the basketball player, here are 10 reasons that girls playing sports is a great thing.
Top 10 reasons that sports are great for girls (shamelessly stolen from (http://northtexaskids.com/ntkblog/index.php/10-reasons-girls-should-play-sports/)
- Girls who play sports do better in school. Exercise improves learning, memory, and concentration, which can give active girls an advantage in the classroom. Sports improve math skills, really, you would be surprised how many equations kids learn playing team sports.
- Girls who play sports learn teamwork. Sports teach valuable life skills. Negotiation, managing confrontation and working towards a common goal are all subjects that pop up on the playing field or in the locker room.
help girls learn leadership skills. All of us have the potential to lead and excel in at least one area of
our life. It is critical that girls learn early what it means to be a leader
and a role model for others around them. Leadership skills are critical to
career success. Team sports can help girls identify their strengths. (Author's note: I love watching the team captains lead
practices and see the respect they garner from their teammates.)
- Sports teach girls goal setting and the satisfaction of reaching your goals. When you work with coaches, trainers, and teammates to win games and achieve goals, you’re learning how to be successful. Those skills will serve you well at work and in family life.
- Sports are good for a girl’s health. In addition to being fit and maintaining a healthy weight, girls who play sports are also statistically less likely to smoke or do drugs. Exercise has long-term benefits for women like reducing the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease and breast cancer.
- Playing sports boosts self-confidence. Girls who participate in sports have higher self-esteem and pride in themselves. Why? It builds confidence when you know you can practice, improve, and achieve your goals.
- Girls who play sports have a more positive body image than girls who
don’t participate. Not
only does regular exercise reduce the risk of obesity but it also helps girls
have a healthy body image. (and I know that my girl is
proud of her strong, sweaty body and that growing six pack!)
- Exercise reduces stress. Playing sports can lessen stress and the pressures of being a young adult. They also help you feel a little happier. How? The brain chemicals released during exercise improve a person’s mood.
on a team helps girls make friends. Friends are a mood-lifter. And being on a team creates tight bonds
between friends. It’s good to know your teammates will support you — both on
and off the field! It’s important to kids to know that they belong somewhere,
and being part of a team is a great start. (and
my daughter’s team has the wonderful tradition of the Varsity players
“adopting” little sisters on the JV team to help them navigate their first year
of high school.)
- Sports are FUN! That’s a good enough reason for any kid to play sports
Three cheers for Title IX!