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Blog Rally #2: What did Katie win by playing sports?

12/08/2010

As part of the National Women’s Law Center’s Blog to Rally for Girls’ Sports Day, the Tucker Center will be posting entries from its graduate students. Each post answers the prompt, what did you win by playing sports?

Katie coaching girl's rugby

This is Katie Wurst’s, a second-year M.A. student in sport and exercise psychology, response.

In sports, winning is clearly important.  Whether you’re a coach of a professional women’s basketball team or a t-ball player, you can be certain you know the score.  Asking what I have won through sports participation is similar to debating the merits of any other valued entity in my life, such as learning, socializing, or breathing.  In the interest of narrowing my focus, I will stick to a few specific bonuses gained as a result of being an athlete.  I am truly a stronger individual through sport participation as I have won self-confidence and cultural awareness.

As a kid, my parents carted me around to every sport-related class, league, or play group possible.  Whether it was soccer or tumbling I was willing to try it out in hopes of making them proud of me.  Sport is where I learned my work ethic, morals, and the value of friendships.  My coaches guided me in giving my best effort with respect to fair play; while my teammates encouraged me to accomplish goals I was uncertain I could achieve.  Moments in my sporting career where I have proven myself and others wrong in terms of my capabilities resonate well beyond winning trophies.  They also transfer over to my professional career where utilizing skills in a diverse environment are essential to achieving success.


Having grown up in a rural community, my exposure to diversity was limited.  Sports, rugby in particular, won me the opportunity to visit a wide variety of communities and meet people from all different races and backgrounds.  It continues to open doors for me to travel to unique places in the world.  Accompanying this exploration is a strong sense of pride and ownership in the culture created by the teams I support.  Thanks to participating in sports, I regularly share my experiences and learn from others as everyone supports their own unique game.  In closing, my ability to lead and appreciate others in a confident manner would not be as strong if I missed the opportunity to be an athlete.  I would consider a lack of sports in my life to be a major loss.

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