Friday February 11th.
A day to celebrate. A day for camaraderie, A day to come together and celebrate the achievements and advantages women and the world of sports. Chatham University in Oakland/Shadyside hosted the 16th edition of National Girls & Women in Sports day. Based on a national concept, it’s a day to recognize just how the female athlete has come … and how far she still has to go.
Students from Hopewell High School joining the Chatham Cougar ( photo by John Altdorfer )
For me, its a bit more than an annual event for which I serve as emcee. This was my 10th appearance and having been on the committee to organize this event, along with some tremendously talented people at Chathan, its become a labor of love. When I got involved, we had maybe 50 students from various high school in what was a very small on-campus gym. Friday, we had 35 area high schools and 7 universities represented. A total of 450 students filling the state-of-the-art Athletic & Fitness Center on campus. The day is hilighted by the presentation of the Pat Blayden Spirit of Sport Award, named for the woman who launched fitness programs at Chatham when it was called the Pennsylvania College for Women.
High school students picking up their shirts on their way to the luncheon ( photo by John Altdorfer )
The message of the day: a simple one. Embrace the world of sports as a way to get closer to the women you call contemporaries. These young woman who came from various high schools had competed against the young ladies seated next to them but had not really had the chance to get to know them. This event allowed for that interaction. That show of pride in not only their school but also their gender in the field of athletics.
Posing with award-winner Shayla Scott from Pitt, Dr Taunya Tinsley from Cal and Chatham athletic director David Zinn ( photo by John Altdorfer )
We live in a city of champions. A city where athletic achievement is first and foremost in the minds of many. Yet, we rarely celebrate the many accomplishments of women in sports in our city. From the basketball talents of Swin Cash and Suzie McConnell-Serio, to the golfing legacy of Carole Semple Thompson, to the golfing achievements of Missie Berteotti. The names may not sound familiar, but their achievements laid the foundation for the young women of today … and that’s Friday event is so important.
Thanks to everyone who joined us in this celebration of sport … and hopefully your child or your high school will join us next year.