Courage is something that can’t be taught or learned. It isn’t something that someone can force you to have. It is something that, in the moment, comes from within. At Girls in the Game, when we give our lessons on courage, we are simply showing these young girls that they can have courage too, because it is already within them. Every time a girl tries something new, every time she steps out of her comfort zone, she is demonstrating even the smallest bit of courage.
Coaching in Baltimore has been such a wonderful experience for me, and has allowed me to see courage in these young girls in many different ways. One time in particular, I was told that one of the participants was having a rough day. As I went to talk to the her to see what was going on, I noticed that she was off by herself in the corner of the activity space, crying.
When she shared with me what she was going through, I learned what a tough situation she had at home and that an important family member had died a year or so before. I learned that every day she wakes up, takes care of anything her siblings need, is always there for her friends when they need her and is constantly trying to make others happy. She turned away from the other girls as she was talking to me because she told me she didn’t want them to see her cry, because she is strong.
Even though we share examples of courage every time we coach the girls, I learned that this young girl displays courage every day in her life, every time she wakes up, and she doesn’t even realize it. Every time she puts someone else before her own wants, every time she takes care of one of her siblings, every time she supports one of her friends, she is being courageous in every sense of the word.
She is not afraid of what is going to happen to her. She is not afraid of her surroundings. She wakes up determined that she’s not going to let her situation get the best of her. She is determined to be strong for the people around her, even though she doesn’t always feel strong. She is courageous because she knows that no one can stop her, and she will be afraid of nothing.
Ashley works for our Girls in the Game program in Baltimore, coaching girls part time while completing her major in Exercise Science at Towson University.