Cheers to title nine

At a local triathlon last year

At a local triathlon last year

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? 

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  1. says

    I, too, wish I had more opportunities growing up. Our town did have a few things but mostly cheerleading, dance and basketball were pushed. I wish I would have had the opportunity to play more soccer and field hockey. I’m so thankful for Title Nine…our daughter’s can do anything that they want now. The sky is the limit!
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  2. says

    Cheers indeed!!! I grew-up in a really small town too but I did gymnastics from age 4 until high school because my high school didn’t have a team. I often think “what if” about that but that’s when I picked-up cross country and track. I was also on the Dance team in the off season :-)
    Very cool that your daughter has already done and experienced so much by age 9! wow!
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  3. says

    It’s funny because I grew up in a family of runners and started to swim. I swam competitively for 15 years only to stop senior year of college due to injury. (Then I started running about 4 years ago). I found sports gave me a background of friends which gave me better self esteem.
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  4. says

    This is wonderful Amanda, you are so right about girls having all the opportunities now, and it is so great! I am sure you are also a mother who will allow your children to do whatever their hearts desire, rather than forcing them to be what you want them to be. which I feel is so important!

    I did grow up with all the options, but no one in my family ran, so it was all a bit unknown, but it turns out they all love being around the sport….just not doing it themselves!

    Hang tough with the swimming lovely, things will work out. I know they will!
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  5. says

    I grew up as a competitive swimmer and feel so fortunate that the option was available to me. I was never into team sports like my brother and sister. The pool was my home. I’m so glad that my girls have even more opportunities today. Whether they run, swim, jump, or hula hoop their way through life, I just want them to be happy and healthy!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Mothers are Elite Athletes: A Guest Post at Jill ConyersMy Profile

  6. says

    I had these opportunities growing up, even before title IX, but I have a very “traditional” mom, who believed I should be a cheerleader (which did NOT happen). Tennis was ok too. I wasn’t skilled at that. Sports weren’t encouraged–they weren’t feminine. It’s actually ok…I’m making up for it now! I do wish I liked to swim, tho…
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..Chicago Spring Half Marathon recap–sort of…. #BESTFOOTMy Profile

  7. says

    Love the photo! Your daughter is awesome! It’s so important to encourage children to stay active and it’s great that the opportunities to do that are out there for them now! My daughter does the kids’ triathlons every summer as well and they are awesome. The one she does is a non competitive series (timed but not ranked) and I love that.
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  8. says

    The only sport I really grew up in was ballet. I never in a million years imagined myself as a runner. I only ever ran when we were forced to in PE or when I was a cheerleader. It felt more like punishment. I love seeing so many of my friends’ daughters playing soccer and softball and participating in running events for kids.

  9. says

    I started running my sophomore year in high school because I didn’t know what else to do. I was very quiet but needed some activity since I went to a huge high school. I had no idea what cross country was but the coach encouraged me to try – the rest is history!!!
    I sort of wish that soccer had been around when I was in high school – I think I would have tried it, too.
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  10. says

    I joined my community swim team for two summers in middle school, despite being a terrible swimmer. I didn’t start doing organized sports until I was in high school, when I played varsity and club volleyball. That was my main sport, and I also dabbled in rowing in college. I discovered running in my senior year of college, and then cycling after I graduated. I wish I had grown up with those two sports! I think I would’ve had a lot of potential as a cyclist.
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  11. bob says

    Man, I hope our daughter goes into sports. That kid can run forever. Even in the womb, she was always moving. When she was in her crib, she would stand there and hop up and down incredibly fast like a little spring until someone took her out.

    • MissZippy says

      B/c I’m sure he has seen what good all around athletes swimmers make–so many pro triathletes tend to have that background. Lung capacity!

  12. says

    Wahhhoooo! I agree.
    I played volleyball and threw discus in high school but you would never get me to run unless I was MADE to.

    I wish I had been encouraged to move more and be less of a brainiac!
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  13. says

    I did not grown up with sports, but my parents were very active. We hiked, swam, and latter on I rode horses. I feel like growing outside was a huge influence on why I began running. Life indoors felt and still feel overwhelming at times–the outdoors is always where I have found peace.
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  14. says

    We had no organized sports to speak of until middle school. Our high school girls cross country had a handful at most. Girls rabidly went after cheerleading and pom pom spots. Now the cheerleading teams at Thing 1’s school have a no-cut policy and are open to 6th graders as well and they still could not fill the squad. While girls track, volleyball, basketball and soccer teams are filled to the rafters. My how times have changed!
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  15. says

    I was never much a competitive sports kind of girl, but I was always active – I swam competitively, I danced competitively, and I played baseball in the summer.

    I don’t think anyone I grew up with would have expected me to running marathons and training for half IMs. I was more an artistic dweeb. But here we are. I think being active early in life taught me to enjoy fitness and embrace sport!
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  16. says

    I love this, and I love how your daughter is into a variety of sports- and that you guys support it! There are a lot of parents here who only want their sons to play hockey.
    I great up playing baseball and soccer and started running in grade 7 with school then grade 8 with a club. Before that I tried dancing (horrible!), and I think even figure skating.
    I owe my parents a lot for driving me around to all the activities and supporting my running. It definitely kept me out of trouble!
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  18. says

    I’m always in awe of all of the kids events. I didn’t grow up running but I did play basketball. I tried CC in high school but my asthma wasn’t having any part of it and I stopped doing all sports until running a few years ago. It was definitely a positive experience- learning about teamwork, winning, and LOSING.
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