Happy birthday to Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast, male or female, to receive a perfect score, a 10, in an Olympic event. She won three gold medal at the 1976 Olympics and an additional two at the 1980 Olympics. Named one of the athletes of the century by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the Romanian has won nine gold medals at European Championships and two at World Championships.
Dragonwing girlgear's mission is to "empower girls to play - and be - their best" with the highest quality sports apparel for tween and teen girls. I believe we can advance that mission when we encourage parents to support their athletic daughters at every level of competition. Over the past seven years, I have seen all sorts of behavior from parents at summer swim meets. In our city, summer swim is a rec league sport, or to put it bluntly, no college coach is going to scout a swimmer at summer meet. Summer swim is meant to be fun, build teamwork, develop sportsmanship, and teach leadership. We all love to win, but at the end of the night, the score is really not that important. I'm proud to say that our summer swim team is known throughout the league for good sportsmanship. The coaches receive numerous emails from opponents about how well our kids behave and that is a BIG point of pride for us. However, it's past time for many parents to step up and learn to be good sports parents. Parents need to learn that our children are not miniature versions of ourselves. They are their own unique individuals, with their own sets of skills, abilities, likes and dislikes. I nearly drowned as a child and have a very healthy fear of water. I have to be coaxed into a pool. My daughter lives to swim. Go figure. Our job as parents is to get our young athletes to practice or competition on time, with the right gear, fed and hydrated appropriately. It involves planning, logistics, lots of laundry, and teaching organization and time management to older kids. The coach's job is to coach. He or she generally knows more about the sport than any parent does. It is his or her job to take a group of kids with different abilities and personalities and teach them to work as a team. Even if you were a high school or college athlete, it's time now to stay on the sidelines and support your growing athlete. Cheer for her and cheer for her teammates. Offer support and encouragement. And enjoy!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, high school swim season is just around the corner—Anna’s first meet is four days from now. Two friends and I are the volunteer “meet officials” for her school so we are in charge of the timers, setting up the computer, and making sure everything runs smoothly. Anna’s school has a combined middle school/high school team, which at first glance sounds nuts, but it works. The middle schoolers (7th and 8th graders) pair up with “big brother/ big sisters” (upperclassmen) who cheer for them, support them, and help them acclimate to the team.This is Anna’s first year being a big sister, and she’s taking her job as role model for a tween girl very seriously. She’ll be emphasizing team spirit, cheering for teammates, sportsmanship and helping clean up after the meet. Tween girls go through a lot of changes in such a short period of time that life can get overwhelming for them. There’s sports, school, boys, and concerns about body image. In addition, today’s tweens are dealing with all the social pressures found in social media that we as parents never had to deal with. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat can add to social pressures and in some cases lead to isolation.