Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day! To celebrate, some of Agate’s staff took time to reflect on their experience playing sports growing up and the lasting effects it had on their lives.
Looking for more inspiring stories about women in sports? Check out Melissa Isaacson’s State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation.
I have always loved and played, soccer. From the time I could walk, I was kicking a ball around and as I grew up, I joined various clubs, recreational leagues, and high school teams. Even now, I play in a recreational league with my friends. I’ve chosen to keep playing because each game brings out all of the qualities I love about myself – my team spirit, my competitiveness, and my strength. —Meghann Caldwell, Business Development Manager
I grew up in a hockey family, and I spent most of my weekends at an ice rink. At the time, there weren’t many hockey programs for girls in my hometown, so I originally started playing on a co-ed team, otherwise known as the “boys’ team.” There wasn’t a designated locker room for girls, so I often had to get dressed in a single stall bathroom (I wish I were kidding!). As a young person, it was empowering to get on the ice and prove that I could do everything my male counterparts could do — and sometimes I could even do it better! —Hannah Manion, Publishing Coordinator
Growing up, I was a competitive swimmer. Swimming taught me how to overcome challenges and persevere. It helped me to hone my leadership skills, my determination, and my confidence that have been vital to my success in every other sphere of my life. Swimming also sparked a life-long love of fitness and taught me mindfulness at a very young age. My time in the pool shaped me into the woman I am today and I will always be thankful for my teammates and coaches and the sport itself for all they’ve given me. —Ashley Sanders, Publishing Intern
I was a very energetic and competitive kid, and when I was young, my parents signed me up for as many after-school sports programs as possible. I fell in love with basketball and was particularly inspired by the 2001-2002 Duke Women’s team—led by Alana Beard, Iciss Tillis, and Monique Currie—that made the Final Four of the NCAA tournament that season. Seeing those women play and succeed at such a high level made me believe that maybe I could play basketball at such a high level one day. My years spent committed to my high school basketball team taught me a number of things that continue to impact my life today—both personally and professionally—including determination and perseverance, teamwork, communication, time management, and problem-solving. I continue to play competitive sports (in a recreational basketball league with some high school teammates and with a nationally competitive Ultimate Frisbee club team here in Chicago), and I am sure I would not still be pursuing athletic achievement if not for that ’01-’02 Duke Women’s team—thank you to those women and the networks that aired their games! You inspired a young girl who became a lifelong athlete. —Jacqueline Jarik, Publicity Manager
I swam competitively in high school. At the time, we were one of the only sports that required regular morning and evening practices, which we called “doubles.” Four days a week, we’d be in the pool at 6AM, go to a full day of classes, and then attend our evening practice, heading home around 6PM to complete our 12 hour days. I loved swimming, and I loved my teammates, but the best thing that came from practicing that sport is perspective. Doubles are a great yardstick to measure against any difficult task, especially something difficult scheduled in the early morning. If I could get through doubles, I can get through anything. —Jane Seibold, Production Editor