Playing sports instills a sense of accountability and discipline in the participants who grind it out through the winning and losing. This holds true for both genders – male and female. Our interest here, however, is for our fellow girls like Beth Brooke-Marciniak and Jessica Mendoza.
Certainly, most of us relish the opportunity to slum around the house in our sweatpants and the old trusty T-shirt while binge-watching our favorite series. But after a while, we may get an urge to download a Selena Gomez or Drake album, slip into our favorite dancing pants, and break a sweat.
Why is it important to instill in our young girls the benefits of regular participation in sports? Many of them will rebel at this notion. This is especially true in today’s digital age, when kids and adults alike are stuck on the sofa scrolling through their social media apps and smartphone games.
What can motivate these impressionable minds to take part? Let’s look at 2 examples of women who started playing sports at a young age, stuck with it, and their lives were enriched as a result.
“What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?” is the question that was posed to Beth Brooke-Marciniak as the topic of an article for Fortune. Bear in mind that Beth is the global vice chair of public policy at Ernst & Young.
Her answer is surprising, and is geared towards parents. According to a study by Michigan State University’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, 70% of kids under the age of 13 in the United States are dropping out of organized sports activities.
Herein is the problem according to Beth. Girls who participate in sports during these formidable years are more likely to graduate college, and find employment in what have been predominately male-driven industries.
Beth’s experience demonstrates just this. She played 4 sports in high school. Since she was in line for an athletic scholarship, it became necessary to decide on just one sport, which ended up being basketball at Purdue.
Given her position with Ernst & Young, it’s easy to see that she has done well for herself. Beth is quick to credit her experience in organized sports as laying the foundation for her success. The research conducted at EY further demonstrates this.
When people think about sports and Sunday nights, they typically equate the two with football. Not so with loyal baseball fans. Time to put on ESPN and enjoy “Sunday Night Baseball” with Aaron Boone, Jessica Mendoza, and Dan Shulman.
Jessica’s road to national prominence as a MLB announcer is rooted in her softball years. Her efforts in this organized sport led her to receiving an Olympic gold medal in softball.
Additionally, it was through the ups and downs and subsequent thick skin she developed, that Jessica has been able to deflect all the criticism thrown her way for being a female in a predominately male sport. Hey, internet trolls, she has experience catching a ball with a mitt.
Parents, please urge your daughters to “stay the course” with the sports they choose to play. The evidence is out, the lessons learned will carry them to great heights later in life.