As a child, I played on a soccer team called the Lady Tigers. Our jerseys were red and white, and I loved mine so much I wore it all the time. We played in a little field across from the local high school, and on my sixth birthday, I scored my very first soccer goal. I can still see my parents jumping up and down in celebration on the sidelines, and I remember the soccer ball shaped cake we ate to celebrate. I continued to play soccer for 15 more years.
In fact growing up, I played every sport that didn’t require height (I’m just pushing the 5’ height barrier). Even some that did! You really don’t need to be tall to be a good volleyball setter. Throughout my years I’ve played softball and tennis, coached kickball and ran marathons, competed in adventure races and salsa dancing competitions.
My point is this: without that first goal, I do not think I would be the woman I am today. Being physically active provided me with a confidence that school rarely did.
I had dyslexia as a child, so my experience of school was mostly one of frustration and confusion. Except when I could socialize… and when I was physically active.
When I was physically active at recess or after school, I had a new experience. I had the experience of success, of perseverance and hard work actually paying off. The experience of being really good at something. I gained a connection with my body that eventually translated not only into school work that lead to an undergraduate and graduate degree but into an overall confidence, knowing that I could succeed in life.
Today, I am honored to be the executive director of Playworks Denver where I get to spend my time raising money so that kids get the same exposure to physical activity that I did. I can imagine nothing more rewarding than making it possible for children to experience power of play, as I have, in their own lives.
Why do you support play?