Friday, June 29, 2007

Giving girls the chance to play ball...or whatever sport she wants to play!

Came across a great article in the Carroll County Times by Bob Blubaugh and it got me to thinking more about girls and sports.

WHY don't more girls play sports?

So then I came across another great article called, "Why don't more girls play sports?"

Below you'll see an article taken from the Women's Sports Foundation called, 25 Benefits of Girls Playing Sports. It points out that girls who play sports are less likely to get involved in smoking, drugs, and will wait until later for their first sexual experience, among other great benefits.

My question is this...once girls get into high school how many sports can they pick from? Compare that to the guys choices. Also girls playing sports in high school drops off dramatically from junior high. Our girls are becoming women, they should act like one right?! Not like a tomboy anymore. AND YET, playing sports will by far be the best thing a young girl can do for herself.

What's so ironic here is that we see and KNOW there are benefits to girls playing sports, yet we don't want them to get hurt. However we're more likely to let the boys get hurt. That doesn't seem to bother us as much.

Another thing is this, what female sport role models do our girls have to look up to? Who are they, where are they?

I feel the best thing we can do for our girls is to expose them to as many female oriented athletes that we can. Take them to games, get them excited about playing sports.

I was talking to one of my co-workers the other day about going to a WNBA game and he said that he actually liked watching women play basketball because it's more about the game instead of all the antics and tricks that you see the guys do.

This month try to make it a priority to take your daughter, niece, sister, your friends daughter...whoever you can, and take them to a professional woman's game in your area. I think you're going to enjoy it a whole lot more than you though you would.

25 Benefits of Girls Playing Sports

1. Sports are FUN.
2. Girls and women who play sports have a more positive body image than girls and women who don't participate.
3. Girls who participate in sports have higher self-esteem and pride in themselves.
4. Research suggests that physical activity is an effective tool for reducing the symptoms of stress and depression among girls.
5. Playing sports teaches girls how to take risks and be aggressive.
6. Sport is where girls can learn goal-setting, strategic thinking and the pursuit of excellence in performance and other achievement-oriented behaviors - critical skills necessary for success in the workplace.
7. Playing sports teaches math skills.
8. Sports help girls develop leadership skills.
9. Sports teach girls team-work.
10. Regular physical activity in adolescence can reduce girls' risk for obesity.
11. Physical activity appears to decrease the initiation of cigarette smoking in adolescents girls.
12. Research suggests that girls who participate in sports are more likely to experience academic success and graduate from high school than those who do not play sports.
13. Teenage female athletes are less than half as likely to get pregnant as female non-athletes (5% and 11% respectively).
14. Teenage female athletes are more likely to report that they had never had sexual intercourse than non-athletes (54% and 41%).
15. Teenage female athletes are more likely to experience their first sexual intercourse later in adolescence than female non-athletes.
16. High school sports participation may help prevent osteoporosis.
17. Women who exercise report being happier than those who do not exercise.
18. Women who exercise believe they have more energy and felt they were in excellent health more often than non-exercising women.
19. Women who are active in sports and recreational activities as girls feel greater confidence in their physical and social selves than those who were sedentary as kids.
20. Women who exercise miss fewer days of work.
21. Research supports that regular physical activity can reduce hyperlipidemia (high levels of fat in blood).
22. Recreational physical activity may decrease a woman's chance of developing breast cancer.
23. Women who exercise weigh less than non-exercising women.
24. Women who exercise have lower levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides and have lower blood pressure than non-exercising women
25. Regular exercise improves the overall quality of life.
-- Compiled by the Women's Sports Foundation 1999.For full citations please contact the Women's Sports Foundation (800) 227-3988.Copyright(c)WSF

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My First WNBA Game

I was able to go to my very first WNBA game and I'm wondering why it's taken me so long to actually go. What got me to go to this particular game was I've recently wrote an article that included Sheryl Swoopes. The more I researched her the more impressed I became. Swoopes has played for the Houston Comets for as long as there has been a WNBA (about 11 years now).

Her past has included winning three Olympic Gold Medals and is a three-time WNBA MVP. She is frequently referred to as the "female Michael Jordon" and is the first woman basketball player to have a Nike shoe named after her. Pretty impressive if you ask me.

I was so excited to watch her play at Arco Arena against the Monarchs. Well on Thursday I found out she was out due to an injury. I almost didn't go to the game, but went anyway and I'm so glad I did. It was such a blast.

First off it was very cool to go to a sporting event where there were more women attending than men. It was also really neat to see young girls at a sporting event really getting into the game and cheering their team on (which happened to be the Monarchs).

It really dawned on me while I was at this game last night that our daughters have very few women athletes to look up to and admire. The Olympics come around every few years which gives girls the opportunity to find some new heroes. I remember Mary Lou Retton in the 84 Olympics. I was so impressed with her.
And why did Mary Lou Retton decide to become a gymnast? Well she was inspired by watching Nadia Comăneci on television. If you don't remember much about Nadia she was a Romanian gymnast, winner of five Olympic gold medals, and the first to be awarded a perfect score of 10 in an Olympic gymnastic.

The WNBA struggled in the beginning with low turn outs and not a lot of support, which is so sad. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge basketball fan myself, but after going to this game last night I've had a change of heart. First off the game was a blast to watch, and second I'm bringing my girls next time so they have an opportunity to see some women athletes in action. I think the more our daughters get the opportunity to see female athletes the better.

If there's a WNBA team in your town -- go see a game. Take your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, mothers, aunts and whoever else will come. You won't be disappointed and it will give our young ladies the chance too see that there are some great opportunities out there for them that they may never have realized before. Who knows what dreams that might dream.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Summer Reading Ideas

The National Geographic has come out with their top 100 Adventure Books Of All Time. There were just a few books about women and adventure. Here they are...

# 18. Travels in West Africa, by Mary Kingsley (1897) She went by steamboat and canoe, accompanied by native crewmen, up the Ogooué. She fought off crocodiles with a paddle, hit a leopard over the head with a pot, and wrote with equal charm about beetles and burial customs. Other African explorers were more daring, none more engaging. When she died, the British buried her at sea with full military honors. National Geographic Books, 2002.

# 33. A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains, by Isabella L. Bird (1879) Bird was no lady in the conventional Victorian sense but a world traveler. She ventured through the Rockies when they were still wild, met up with grizzly bears, and climbed Longs Peak when it was thought impossible for a woman to do so. She had to thaw her ink on the cabin stove to write, and she wrote delightfully.Hardcover edition from University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.

# 65. Annapurna: A Woman's Place, by Arlene Blum (1980) Ask a woman climber what inspired her and she's likely to name this book, the story of a 1978 ascent of Annapurna by a team of women, two of whom died. "What's a nice girl from the Midwest doing up here all alone?" the author asks herself at one point. Surviving. Blum's depiction of the team's Sherpas irks some climbers, but there's no denying the book's impact.Sierra Club, 1998.

(I've actually read Annapurna. It's an incredible book. If you haven't read it yet, this should be your first book on your Summer Reading List.)

#82. Terra Incognita, by Sara Wheeler (1996) Now that Antarctica has been explored, is there anything more to say about it? Ask Wheeler, who went down to find out and came back to write this excellent book, in which she recounts some of the old Antarctic stories and tells many new ones, too.Modern Library, 1999.

#95. I Married Adventure, by Osa Johnson (1940) And so she did, when she wed wildlife photographer Martin Johnson, who took her to Africa and the Pacific and into a very exciting life indeed. She tells their story in straight-on American gee-whiz style; it would have the feel of Oklahoma!, say, if those weren't real, and very angry, elephants chasing them up trees.Kodansha, 1997.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Helping our daughters become more self-confident

A major study done by the American Association of University Women did a national sample of more than 3000 students in grades 4 through 10. They found that not only did boys have higher self-esteem in elementary school than girls but that the gap between them widened in high school. In elementary school, 60 percent of the girls and 69 percent of the boys agreed with the statement, I’m happy the way I am. By high school, only 29 percent of the girls and 46 percent of the boys felt that way.

The teen years suck – there is no mistaking it. We can all think back to those years and thank God that we don’t have to relive those years. But the question I have is what is it that makes the guys feel a bit better about themselves than girls?

This got me to thinking…

I feel as parents it’s our job to find out what it is our daughters really enjoy doing. If math isn’t her thing don’t go on and on about how you wish she was better at it. Spending so much time on what our girls do wrong isn’t going to help them become a more confident young woman.

Each daughter has different interests. As parents we sometimes cringe at what are daughters might enjoy doing. Maybe they want to actually play football. Yikes, what will the friends and relatives think if our daughter plays football? Or maybe she wants to learn to play the electric guitar but you don’t own one, and the cost is more than you can afford.

It’s important we allow our daughters to bend the gender roles whichever way they need to if it’s going to make them a stronger more confident young women. Again, it’s not about what we as parents want and what we enjoy and think our daughters should be doing. No, it’s all about them, their interests and what they were born to do.

Finding out what our girls enjoy, and then figuring out a way to afford these interests might seem rather challenging. But when you see the results where your daughter is doing something she actually enjoys, and excels in…You’re going to have a very happy confident young woman on your hands who is going to be able to say very proudly with a smile on her face – I’m happy just the way I am.

Liz Halliday takes on Le Mans for a third year!

This weekend 165 drivers will be racing in the Le Mans that is held in France. Out of those 165 racers one of them is a woman. Her name is Liz Halliday. She's 28 years old from California, however she is currently based in the UK. This will be Liz's third year entering the le mans race.

“I feel really privileged to be able to do Le Mans three years running” says Liz. “Its always been a special race for me and my family and it has such a long, illustrious history behind it. The whole week is just incredible and I don’t think there is another motor race on the planet that can compare with it right now. This really is the big one and it is definitely the highlight of my year.”

Liz has two mighty ambitions: to become the first female driver to win the famous Le Mans 24-hour race and to claim a place on the US Olympic equestrian team.

This extraordinary sportswoman has already taken the first few steps towards one of these goals with her rapid and impressive ascent up the motor racing ladder. In just two full seasons of international racing, Liz has become the most successful female driver ever in the history of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), America’s most prestigious sports car racing series.
From humble beginnings in historic racing with a vintage Datsun 510, Liz graduated to the Kumho BMW Championship for the start of the new millennium and was named ‘Driver of the Year’ in 2002 before claiming her first win, at Croft in England, in 2003, breaking the track record in the process.

The same year she added to her growing reputation by making her sports car debut, becoming the first female driver ever to win a round of the British GT Championship, as well as competing in the famous Bathurst 24 Hours in Australia and the Spa 1000kms in Belgium.

2004 saw Liz return to the USA to race in the Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series, taking a podium at Homestead, Miami, whilst she also made her ALMS debut, entering the Petit Le Mans and Laguna Seca in a Porsche 911 GT3 and took part in her first round-the-clock event, the Spa 24 Hours.

Perhaps even more exciting for Liz in 2005 was her debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite leading the P2 class for nearly half the race and edging closer to one of her personal goals, the race ultimately ended in disappointment, after engine problems forced an early retirement approximately eleven hours in.

2006 saw Liz continue her run of success, taking three more wins and seven further podiums in the American Le Mans Series, to finish as runner-up in the P2 driver’s championship. These results made her the most successful female driver ever in ALMS history, whilst she also finished her first Le Mans 24 Hours, although gearbox and engine problems meant the car just missed a podium placing, finishing fourth in class.

The 2007 season saw Liz become the first woman to race the Aston Martin DBR9 on the international scene, securing a class podium at the 12 Hours of Sebring and a fourth place finish at Monza. For the Le Mans 24 Hours however she returns to the LMP2 class at the wheel of Del Bello Racing’s Courage LC75-AER.

On the equestrian front meanwhile, Liz’s drive to mount the top step in the Olympics will also be helped or hindered by ‘horsepower’.

Liz currently has three horses which she feels will help her get closer to her ultimate Olympic goal with the right training regime and the luck that every sporting star needs. Despite the challenge of competing in both sports simultaneously, Liz is equally determined to succeed as a driver and equestrian, and is prepared to work hard and make sacrifices to reach her ultimate goals...

As Liz herself says: "Everyone tells me that I am mad to have this twin sporting focus in my life, but I find that one complements the other. The cars demand focus, accuracy, and strength. In Eventing it’s the same but the horses, as well as the rider, must possess these attributes in order for the two to work as a successful partnership."


The Le Mans is a famous sports car endurance race that has been held annually since 1923 near the town of Le Mans, Sarthe, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance, it is run on a circuit containing closed public roads that are meant to not only test a car and driver's ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period.

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