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Blog Rally #3: What did Maya win by playing sports?


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?

Maya is an Assistant Swim Coach at St. Olaf College

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

I have won more than any lottery ticket could give me through sport. Swimming as a young girl for a local summer league all the way through collegiate Division I competition started me on the path of personal victories. I started to win confidence, self-esteem, a great work ethic, persistence, leadership, and incredible friends through swimming. I also won pain, heartbreak, setbacks, and defeats. But even more, I won gratitude for my gifts and for the experiences I had, a supportive community, and a drive to overcome whatever got in my way. Later in life, the martial arts have led me farther than I could have dreamed. Through the martial arts I have won not just personal victories, I have won life victories. I have won the security of knowing I can defend myself and others. I have won a vast sense of wonder and joy, integrity, patience, awareness, purpose, and inner peace. I have won glimpses of universal truth and beauty. Sport can give and take and give again, but through it I have always won a full and meaningful life.

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