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Girls in Sports celebration set for Wednesday

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POTSDAM - “Girls in Sports, An Investment in the Future” is the theme for the 27th annual National Girls & Women In Sports Day (NGWSD) celebrated on Wednesday in 2013.

NGWSD is a special day for girls and women to celebrate their participation in sports and athletics.

One visible way to celebrate is by wearing a shirt, jersey or other symbol of the sports you participate in or love, regardless of age. From summer T-ball to youth soccer to figure skating to ice hockey to basketball to softball to lacrosse or other sports, celebrate your participation and accomplishments of female athletes at all levels.

When Title IX was enacted in 1971, one in 27 girls in high school participated in athletics. Now, one in three girls participates in athletics and all women and girls have greater opportunities in sports and athletics.

NGWSD will be celebrated Wednesday in all 50 states with community-based events and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports. The St. Lawrence County Branch has distributed posters and other information to all the public schools in Section 10, the four area colleges, and public libraries in St. Lawrence County.

One exciting and fun way to mark the day is to Take A Girl to a Game. You can check out local high school sports in your community or events at local colleges during the week or any time.

Since 1989 the St. Lawrence County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has organized a countywide promotion of NGWSD to help girls and women celebrate their love of sports. AAUW invites schools and colleges to help commemorate National Girls & Women in Sports Day by encouraging all girls and young women to wear a T-shirt or jersey which identifies her participation in sports and athletics on Wednesday.

AAUW reminds us that Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibited sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding has made the difference in breaking through barriers for women and girls in education and athletics.

One recent change in students’ access to sports that elementary and secondary schools must now ensure that students with disabilities can participate in sports or provide comparable options for those students according to a recent U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights said via a recent “dear colleague” letter.

Students who are otherwise qualified may not be prevented from trying out and playing on a team, according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “Schools don’t have to change the essential rules of the game, and they don’t have to do anything that would provide a student with a disability an unfair competitive advantage,” he wrote. “But they do need to make reasonable modifications (such as using a laser instead of a starter pistol to start a race so a deaf runner can compete) to ensure that students with disabilities get the very same opportunity to play as everyone else.”

The growth in girls’ and women’s sports has been phenomenal in recent years and studies show that girls who play sports have higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression. Girls who play sports have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well being than girls who do not play sports, and high school girls who play sports are more likely to graduate from high school and have better grades.

In 201, several major milestones were reached in women’ sports. With the addition of women’s boxing, the London Olympics became the first ever to have women competing in all same sports as men for 302 total medal events. The US sent more women who qualified for Olympic sports than men contenders for the first time.

And, at those Games in London, women from United States, China, and Russia out-medaled their countrymen. The leading medal winners for the three traditional Olympic powerhouses were women — despite the fact that there were 30 fewer medals available to be won.

Sports are where boys have traditionally learned about teamwork, goal setting, the pursuit of excellence in performance and other achievement-oriented behaviors - critical skills that women and men need for success in the workplace.

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