Yesterday, the world observed International Women’s Day and by mere coincident I was at my son’s girlfriends(KIM) bronze medal final playoff basketball game at the Carleton University. She is on the team of Wilfred Laurier University Golden Hawks and they competed against Ravens from the Carleton University. They won the game – in fact it was an amazing win after a double over time! Now they will be competing at the National Competition in Windsor!
As I watched the game from the stands, I admired how those two teams of young women competed furiously but also noted that their coaches were males. Of course it makes me wonder why male coaches – something I will figure out later but it is a wonderful example of how male coaches impact the lives of young women in sports!
What was the most striking for me though was watching Kim’s 80 + grandmother dance on the stadium bench as she and her husband cheered their granddaughter on. This lovely woman was entirely present, engaged and completely free in expressing herself. Now, that is the spirit I want to always have in my life because it is so rare to see people live in the moment and fullness of life! And even more touching was how her husband supported her – they seem to just mesh together!
Kim’s entire family, from grandparents to parents to siblings and in-laws and cousins and nieces…. were all there to support her and her team. As a matter of fact, Kim is the only one from Ottawa on the team (the Laurier University is 5 hours away in Waterloo) but it seems that half the Stadium was there to support her! Now, imagine the strength of that kind of support in a family. People could have chosen to be anywhere else but they chose to support Kim and in so doing also supported a community of young women. What a blessing it is for her grandparents to be able to still enjoy this time with her.
Kim’s parents make the effort to attend every game she plays. It was so touching yesterday as I listened to her dad who told me that he would have loved to take the whole team out to dinner to celebrate their victory, if they were not leaving right away to go back to Waterloo. Her sister Julie told me that she anticipated that they would win so she brought them champagne, which was in her car, so they could celebrate on the bus! Whether they won or not, they would have still received the champagne! How sweet! The treats were not just for Kim – the family ensures that the entire team is supported.
I reflect on how my son treats her – with the utmost love and respect. By showing up at her games and ensuring that he is present in what she loves to do is affirming and supporting of her growth and dreams. Not only does my son go along but he also pulls my daughter and myself along too! Knowing that she was coming to Ottawa, he spent Friday night preparing special BBQ chicken for her to take back with her on Saturday. Now… what more can I say? He wore the Laurier cap at the game – this boy is just in love!
Spending time with my daughter and my son in supporting Kim is important for me just as the rest of all the things I do. My daughter is beginning to learn how her brother treats his girlfriend, she is being exposed to another family who selflessly supports each other – she is seeing the role models all around her and I am sure it will influence her choices in life.
So what is the point of this blog? It is simply a reflection of how we collectively shape our young women and men within a supportive family and community structure. We all play a vital role in affirming and re-affirming each other in a positive way and the more opportunities we create for such activities, the stronger we grow as a community. That family structure is what needs to be protected more than anything else to build men and women who can face life fearlessly and contribute meaningfully to society. Even when a complete family structure is not present, it is important for us step outside of our comfort zones and find support to develop our skills and talents.
TuneIn to examine your role in the lives of the women around you. StepUp to support them to live their fullest potential that allows them to be free in their spirit. A free spirit is unstoppable!