Happy National Girls & Women in Sports Day! The first sport I was ever involved with was gymnastics around age 5, then I started competitive swim team at age 6. From there, I played basketball, baseball, tennis, softball, ball golf, jazz, tap and ballet ballet dancing, competitive cheerleading and soccer. And yes, cheerleading is a sport and although dance may not be categorized as a “sport” it takes a ton of athletic ability.
In high school, I played pick-up ultimate frisbee and then played for my university’s co-ed team. I also found disc golf and running during college. Now, my sports are running, lifting and disc golf.
I honestly don’t know what my life would look like without being involved in sports. Although I am also a creative person – I’ve played musical instruments my whole life, danced ballet, tap or jazz from age 6 to pretty recently, I enjoy doing art and writing poetry – BUT I feel that being an athlete has given me confidence that I wouldn’t otherwise have found growing up.
As you can see in my photos, I was overweight from a very young age. I was always bigger than all the other girls. Fun fact: I was the tallest person, male or female, in my entire first grade! I feel that if I hadn’t been valued for my athletic abilities, I may have felt pretty bad about myself and my body as a kid. Especially because my family talked about my weight constantly and put a lot of pressure on me to be thin and feminine (which I never was).
I don’t plan on having children myself, but I hope those who do have kids, especially girls, will support them in playing sports. I think being part of a sports team or even an individual sport can build a lot of character, create long-lasting friendships, challenge you mentally and physically and so much more.