Yesterday as I finished up a swim workout, I thought to myself that I wish I had grown up a competitive swimmer. I do just fine in the pool and swimming is probably my second choice to running when it comes to aerobic activity I enjoy. I feel at home in the water, having grown up on a lake. If only I had lived in an area where public or school pools were abundant (they really didn’t exist where I lived), I’m pretty sure I would have chosen swimming as a sport. And how cool would it be, today, to have that amazing skill set of a competitive swimmer.
I also wish I had grown up a runner. Again, the time and place where I grew up really had zero opportunities for girls and running. We might have had a cross-country team of, oh, maybe five people? And I can’t really remember any of them being girls. But I know that I always felt I didn’t quite belong to the cheerleading set, but that’s what all the cool kids were doing, and so that’s what I did, too. How little I really knew myself back then.
This isn’t a post about regrets, but rather about the fact that I’m thankful times have changed so much. My daughter has so many opportunities to discover what kind of person and/or athlete she wants to be. Right now she is trying out for teams in two different soccer leagues, right here in our town. She’s been on cross country and track teams for several years now, and basketball, too. She’s on a summer swim team, and has competed in a few triathlons. And this is by the age of nine.
Myriad studies have shown the positive impact sports can have on a girls self esteem. They’re less likely to drink/do drugs, and tend to be better students, too. All this through the power of athletic activity. I certainly don’t find it surprising, do you? We all know what a great impact sports have had on our lives, even if it’s in the form of “adult-onset” sports.
So cheers to title nine, and cheers to all the female athletes who fought hard to make sports so readily available to young girls–our daughters are reaping the benefits.
To the females out there–did you grow up with sports? How did it positively impact your life?