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.
My inspiration for Dragonwing girlgear was sparked on the sidelines of North Carolina soccer fields, and I still watch hundreds of girls' soccer games each year. So you won't be surprised to hear that I LOVE the Women's World Cup. My reasons are personal -- the level of play is amazing and the stories of the players never fail to move me.
But the most powerful aspect of the Women's World Cup -- the part that brings a lump to my throat -- is the inspiration, hope, and role models that the players provide to millions of girls worldwide. Their commitment, perseverance, and love of the game says it all: "DREAM BIG. WORK HARD. COMPETE FIERCELY. PLAY JOYFULLY. YOU CAN DO IT!"In addition to all the amazing soccer play (how about England's go-ahead goal versus Norway?!), there have been some perceptive and thought-provoking stories about the significance and value of the Women's World Cup. Here are a few that I've particularly enjoyed: "Why the Women's World Cup Needs You to Watch," by Peter Macia in Vogue magazine The numbers of viewers, on TV and online, are vitally important, Macia argues, to sponsors, to players, to women's sports in general, and to girls watching and playing around the world. (There's that inspiration again!) "What Women's Sports Can Learn from the Colombian Women's Team," by Kate Fagan on ESPNW Given the audiences in stadiums and watching the games on screens of all kinds, there are signs of legitimacy for international women's soccer, writes Fagan. But "the final mile marker will be when everyday fans…feel comfortable offering criticism, second-guessing the coach and the choices, and putting the play itself under a microscope…. These are the conversations that fuel men's sports.
Imagine being knowledgeable enough about women's sports and knowing enough about a women's team to think you know better than the coach or a player in the game's closing minutes. Imagine knowing who else could have been the coach and which players the team might have signed. Then imagine being confident enough to actually admit you're into women's sports.""8 Reasons We Love the Women's World Cup," by SoccerGrlProbs for ESPNW World-class talent, worldwide impact, super fans and more.
Let me begin by saying my mother is the coolest woman I know. She is a loyal friend, dedicated teacher, and incredible parent. One of the greatest loves of her life is running, but she wasn’t always the talented distance athlete she is now. Growing up, she was an actress, French enthusiast, and a cheerleader. When my sister and I were young, she ventured to try a running group and quickly began checking off races of shorter distances. One day, she asked to join her friends on a long run, and her dreams took off from there. She’s finished 26.2 miles through the vibrant city of Richmond, along the beaches of Wilmington, and even across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City. This year, she completed her third Boston Marathon with courage and grace -- not to mention speed! She's wearing a hat in the photo, but underneath she was wearing a Dragonwing Racer sports bra! I am so thankful my mom found an outlet for her powerful energy. I am also grateful she found a close circle of friends through her sport. With them, she’s completed 200-mile team relay events: the Blue Ridge Relay and Hood to Coast. These women are all fantastic examples of strength, resilience, and bravery, and they support each other in running and in everything else. Next, my mama will lace up for the Berlin Marathon. The woman never ceases to amaze me.
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.