Posted by Maggie Sweeney
Skidmore College's women athletes hosted 118 girls in a clinic for National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) on Saturday, Feb. 1. This was the 8th annual event at Skidmore College and the 27th year for the nationwide celebration. The day consisted of a series of celebratory events provided for a group of jubilant women and girls. The abundance of positive energy in the Williamson Sports Center was highly contagious.
NGWSD began as a memorial to Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her efforts to assure equality for women's sports. Hyman died of Marfan's Syndrome in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since then, NGWSD has become a day to acknowledge the past and to recognize current sports achievements.
It is also a way to expose the positive influence of sports participation and the continuing struggle for equality in women's sports. The event aims to recognize the accomplishments of individuals involved in the promotion and the advancement of girl's and women's sports.
The celebration also commemorates 41 years of Title IX, the federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions. It is not just a day to celebrate how far female athletes have come, but to educate with the hopes of fighting discrimination.
This event helps raise awareness of women's athletics on the Skidmore College campus and in the community, and it exposes girls and women to various sports-related opportunities. It encourages their participation in sports while celebrating the past achievements of female athletics. Skidmore's program offers girls from around the Saratoga Springs community in grades 3-7 the opportunity to learn this rich history.
As a member of the women's lacrosse team, this writer was able to participate in the event with her teammates at a station where we offered them the use of our equipment and taught them basic skills. We executed drills to help with their stick work, and the enthusiastic group of girls rotated around and eagerly shadowed the older female athletes.
This year, the tennis, lacrosse, softball, soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams all participated. Some of the girls were first time participants, which gave us the chance to educate them on basic techniques. The girls had the opportunity to eat lunch with Skidmore athletes and they were able to ask questions and get to know each other. They took photos with the Thoroughbred mascot and received free shirts and bags.
The Skidmore female athletes served as role models for the younger girls by encouraging athleticism and inspiring them to live an active lifestyle.
The event officially ended at 1p.m., but participants were encouraged to stay to watch the Skidmore women's swimming and diving meet. Meanwhile, the College offered several free fitness classes for women, such as yoga.
Numerous communities around the country are working to support the ongoing struggle for equal access for women in sports, and we are proud to be contributors to this cause after our successful day of commemoration.