As many of you know National Signing day was on Wednesday. Stories of ranked recruits choosing a hat filled everyone’s social media news feeds as we all waited for someone to pull an odd trick – like the prank war between Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and recruit Baron Browning. We watched in anticipation as our schools snagged four and five star recruits from across the country but many of us failed to realize that it was also National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD).
NGWSD is a day to commemorate and celebrate all of the progress made in female athletics since Title IX was implemented. Since 1987, when the day was first recognized, female athletics have dramatically risen with 2 in 5 high school girls participating in sports now. The amount that girls benefit from playing a sport is immeasurable. Sports help girls learn leadership skills, gain self-esteem, and work harder in the classroom and it can all pay of financially when these girls have a chance to sign their own National Letter of Intent on National Signing Day.
While the opportunities girls have to embrace their athleticism now are on the rise, things have not always been that way.In 1967 Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an entrant. When she registered for the all-male marathon she signed up as K.V. Switzer rather than Kathrine, and caused quite the uproar when she showed up to run the race. Officials tried to physically pull her off of the course, but that didn’t stop her from finishing. Five years after her historic race women were allowed to enter the Boston Marathon. Switzer still runs marathons and runs a non-profit called 261 Fearless, a running community for women.
One of the main aspects of NGWSD is getting girls to feel comfortable and confident with themselves. This comes through embracing your athleticism and what your body is able to accomplish. Possibly one of the best things for girls and women in sports is the ESPN Body Issue. Every year ESPN releases a spread of athletes posing nude and showing off their bodies. The magazine is able to highlight athletes ranging from 100-pound gymnasts to 300-pound offensive linemen.
In 2015 U.S. Olympic Hammer thrower Amanda Bingson was featured in the spread, which was amazing to me. Throwing is something that doesn’t receive a lot of attention in the media and when it does the attention is usually on the men, like big and burly Reese Hoffa eating a turkey leg at a meet (you won’t regret clicking on this link). So when Amanda Bingson was featured people in the female throwing community were almost giddy. Seeing someone who represents you so well in the spotlight is amazing. So props to the body issue and to everyone working to ensure that females embrace life as athletes.