I have been involved with athletics since, well, before I can remember. If it wasn't kicking the ball, it was climbing trees, riding skateboard ramps, swinging on the playground bars, throwing the football, hitting homers over my neighbors' house, swimming in the neighbor's pool. And after all of this, some 34 years later, I still love to play. The pure joy, love, and passion have always been the underlying themes, albeit I didn't know that when I was six.
But now I have those same emotions for different reasons, and it is why I KNOW, not believe, sports are CRITICAL for young girls. I call them the 5 C's. Challenge, Communication, Competition, Community and Celebration. All these categories fulfill a life necessity.
One, Challenge. Learning to set goals, (short-, medium- and long-term) and figuring out ways to achieve them. Two, Communication. Becoming comfortable with your voice, and how to share it with others. Knowing that I can speak up no matter my environment, or how tough a situation. Three, Competition. Always hoping that the other team is tough, has its best players and putting myself up to the test to see what I am made of. Giving my all during training so that my teammates get better, and relying on them to do the same for me. Four, Community. Experiencing how teams work, succeed and fail. Teams are microcosms of real life (family, education, relationships, neighborhoods). Decisions, conflict, good times, and even bad happen in teams. Realizing that we all have to be leaders, workers, teachers, listeners so that we can all achieve. Five, Celebration. When we do something well (large or small), we should feel good about what we've done and cherish the moment -- we can express that without hesitation or embarrassment. A pump of the fist, a smile on our face, a leaping high five, or even a ripping off of the shirt. It should be a right, not a privilege.
Young boys and men have been experiencing these concepts almost from birth, perhaps since the beginning of time. The time has finally come that now encourages young girls and women to explore the depths of their psychological, physical and emotional components so they may too see how sports impact their person off the field. Dare to Dream is an amazing showcase how a group of women, over time, came together at just the most perfect era in history to explore, and express, all of the above. I hope everyone who watches, not only shares it with someone else, but uses it as a guide to all the could be possible in their own life.
Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S. Women's Soccer Team is now available on DVD from HBO Video.