International Women's Day & HYAA Girls Basketball
This fall, when I was filling out the form for my daughter to play HYAA girls basketball, here, in Holmdel, I blankly stared at the boxes to check for "Coach" and "Assistant Coach." I thought, "I'm too busy." I am. We all are. But, like squeezing the tube of the last of the toothpaste, I decided that I could find the time and checked the box for coach for my first time ever.
I did it not just because I happen to love basketball, but because I heard that so many dads were coaching, and I thought it was important for girls to see women coaching, too. With a league that is overwhelmingly coached by dads, I invite more moms to join the coaching ranks!
Why is it so important for our young girls to see both, men and women, in these positions? In my volunteer work in international advocacy, I have learned from hearing first-hand stories of girls in communities in far-off places on the globe who all aspired to be teachers because those were the only roles they saw filled by women in their community. Not also as scientists, mayor, engineers, doctors, artists, coaches, archaeologists, journalists, President, etc.
This HYAA 1st and 2nd grade girls basketball season, I watched girls make new friends. I saw girls who were so shy when they first showed up to practice, grow into amazing ball stealers. I saw girls who didn't know each other pass the ball in a game to their teammates and high-five after baskets were made. I saw girls who were afraid to take a shot in the first few games, fearlessly drive to the basket in the next games. I saw girls beam after they grabbed a rebound. And whether those girls were on my team or the team practicing on the next court, those girls saw a few women on the court leading teams, too.
The truth is that we DO need the men coaching, (our assistant coach is a dad, and he is great!), and I am super appreciative of all the dads' continued dedication in the girls' leagues. This should not stop. But, my ask is for more women to get on the courts and fields to join them. It's important for our girls to see their future selves through women in sports leadership roles, too! We need both, men and women, on the courts and fields coaching girls sports.
Something to ponder locally on International Women's Day...
Photo credit to Hakal Dahlstrom. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.