A Celebration of Women and Athletics

While the world was glued to the Tiger Woods drama being played out on television in the orchestrated statement her gave, I attended an event that got very little attention but is what the world should pay attention to.

Chatham University hosted its 15th annual National Women and Girls in Sports Day. From humble beginnings, the luncheon has now become a staple on the school’s calendar. 30 local high schools were represented at this event in which the achievements of young women are celebrated – both past and future.

Student-athletes from Hopewell High School posing with the Chatham Cougar( photo courtesy: John Altdorfer )

 These young woman from different schools get together to meet on a personal level, break bread and share the common experience of being a woman in sports. We have had guest speakers, local women in the world of sports, who share those experiences unique to the female athlete.

Sure,  the days of Title IX which first leveled the playing field for women, is now nearly forty years old. Back then, there wasn’t money or opportunity for young women in sports. That seems like ancient history to the female competitors of today. But this luncheon is a reminder that the world for female athletes is different.

Students signing in at Nat’l Girls and Women in Sports Day at Chatham University ( photo courtesy John Altdorfer )

Women still do not have the opportunity to make the millions that their male counterparts do. Sure, there are golfers and olympic heroes who cash in, but pro leagues for women are far from the cash cow they are for men. Also, while women’s sports are carried on TV, they don’t make the money the male sports do or draw the ratings on the whole.

This year’s NWGIS award-winners with the Chatham Cougar ( photo courtesy John Altdorfer )

What these female athletes do is compete for the love of the game and with integrity. Despite the frailties of all of us, it’s not likely the world will stop to watch a press conference from a female athlete who has been unfaithful. Then again, female athletes rarely get the good press of their male counterparts, so this event was a chance to celebrate the good in the women’s games.

( Photo courtesy: John Altdorfer )

I was happy to serve as emcee for an event even more rare than a public admission of guilt and a public apology: a women’s college hosting the brightest female student-athletes in our area for a day of celebration and reflection.

With keynote speaker Dr. Aimee Kimball & Chatham President Esther Barazzone ( photo courtesy John Altdorfer )

On a day when the world was glued on Tiger, I felt like the fortunate one because I got to spend the day with real heroes … and real role models.

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