Monday, February 7, 2011


On the way out of Comcast Sunday, I asked my daughter what her favorite part of the game was (she is an avid Dora fan). She said: "When the players got in trouble." We asked her what she was talking about and she said "When there was a timeout on the floor."

My favorite part was having her sit next to me -- for the second day in a row -- while watching a basketball game.

I do not take lightly the privilege afforded by close proximity to an elite women's college basketball program. I am treated to great basketball and my daughter gets to see women playing at the highest level cheered on by thousands of enthusiastic fans.

It helps that this unique state of affairs appears to be fully appreciated by the program's participants. Coach Brenda Frese's contribution to the celebration of the National Girls and Women in Sports Day emphasized the resources made available to student athletes seeking to be the very best at what they do. And for those women that take advantage of what the school offers and can fully harness their talents -- well, that leads to some pretty remarkable things. As Coach Frese marvels:

One of the most incredible things I’ve watched in my time here at Maryland is how young women can grow into incredible role models and heroes that transcend gender. I’ll never forget being at a wedding reception and watching little boys and girls pretend they were some of our more prominent players. I’ve seen people of all ages wearing the jerseys of our players in the stands. And I’ve had people stop me in the street to tell me a story about where they were and what they were doing when one of our players or teams had an incredible moment. Each time, it crosses my mind that these are young women that are inspiring all sorts of folks.

As Maryland steamrolled the Wolfpack with a 67 to 26 run, our two year-old wandered into the team store and picked up a basketball jersey that she wore for the rest of the day.

I don't care whether she'll ever actually want to play basketball or if she ever will want to be an athlete. But there is something pretty cool about having her female role models extended beyond Disney characters.

One of the books in regular rotation at bedtime is Jane Yolen's Not All Princesses Dress in Pink. It is a neat little book and something that our daughter took to immediately. For her, there is no conflict between wearing frilly dresses and playing soccer with the neighborhood toddler boys. Football helmets go perfectly with tutus. And we can watch Sleeping Beauty while she wears her Terps basketball jersey. Long may it continue.

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