Earlier this week I decided to write a blog post on Girls in the Game’s “Top 10 Moments of 2015” to post on New Year’s Eve. It’s been an exciting year for us with lots of changes, new projects and inspiring events. We’ve expanded from Chicago for the first time; our program in Baltimore is growing! We’ve held a myriad of wine tastings, a Youth Triathlon and our annual gala. We’ve celebrated our Loyola Evaluation results. Looking back, 2015 was definitely a rocking year for both girls and staff at Girls in the Game and beyond! The professional sports world at large saw lots of advancements for women in 2015. Serena William’s dominance of tennis, the US Women’s National Team at the World Cup, the Ronda Rousey v. Holly Holm fight, and Jen Welter becoming the first female coach of the NFL are just a few of the moments that made us stand up and cheer.
But when I sat down to think about the Girls in the Game moments that truly mattered this past year, it wasn’t the big stuff that came to mind. Instead, it was those seemingly unimportant moments along the way that captured my imagination.
The moment when a coach encouraged a girl to try lacrosse for the first time during the After School program.
The moment when teammates came together to cheer on the girl lagging behind in a relay race.
The moment that a new friendship blossomed across racial, socioeconomic or neighborhood lines at Summer Camp.
The moment a teen nervously stepped up to lead programming for the first time for the middle school girls.
The moment a girl realized that rugby is her sport. Or golf, or soccer, or dance.
The moment that a girl discovered she has a voice, that her voice is important and that she can advocate for herself.
The moment a girl chose to talk out a conflict with a teammate instead of fighting.
The moment a girl stepped back up to the plate to try again after striking out.
The moment when coaches, girls and volunteers had an honest and fun discussion about the importance of diversity at a Game Day.
All the moments when our girls discovered the strength that they already have inside of themselves.
These small victories, and so many others like them that happen every day at Girls in the Game, are our Top 10 Moments of 2015. We on the Development Team spend so much time working to perfect our events or develop the most effective expansion strategy for Girls in the Game. These big-idea projects allow us to fund our programs and continue to both expand and deepen their reach. When we achieve those unforgettable milestones, we celebrate! But that also can make it easy to lose sight of all the small moments along the way. Although they may not be celebrated or even recognized by anyone else but the girls who experienced them, those small victories are the moments that matter; they are the moments that have truly made a difference in 2015.