I first began coaching with Girls in the Game this September. I expected certainly to meet some lovely young women, teach new sports and go through the curriculum. While all of that is true, what I didn’t expect was the love I would feel for girls after just a few weeks, the joy I would see in their faces and the world of knowledge they have given back to me.
While this may sounds like an exaggeration, I assure you that it is actually a testament to the power of what we do at Girls in the Game. When I first arrived in these schools I was met with skepticism, with an attitude of indifference and probably even a lack of trust. While this was not the case for every girl there were some who just didn’t know how to think or feel about programming.
Over these weeks though, I have seen the change in hearts. I have seen unlikely candidates stepping up to leadership positions. I have seen girls who now understand and demonstrate respect to me, my co-coach and other team members. Girls who once sat in the corner or ardently protested activities asking me “What are we doing today Coach Amanda, can I help?” This is incredible to witness, it’s something that gives me a genuine sense of hope and joy. We aren’t just teaching basketball we are teaching girls to value and love themselves and others. When they get that, there isn’t an end to what else they can accomplish. I dare you to imagine a world where this was exemplified in every young woman.
Consequently I have learned so much myself. I have learned how positive language can light up a girls face. I have come to understand the importance of having a safe space where young women can hash out important issues, be honest, open and sincere. I see how investing in the life of even just one person can create an amazing difference. Here’s the beauty friends and readers: I am only a month and a half into coaching, there are still many months to look forward to and wildly unlimited possibility. I am so excited to see the outcome.
What I want to leave you with is something a girl said to me and my co-coach Sam last week. She is a girl who comes to programming on and off and hasn’t been too vocal. But in the middle of an activity she told us that she was glad she had Girls in the Game because she finally felt heard.
We all deserve to be acknowledged, heard, believed in…and Girls in the Game is in the business of doing exactly that.