Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Happy Silver Anniversary

Well, the season ended in the first round of the playoffs for Little Miss TigerBlog and the rest of her basketball team, which was coached by TigerBlog.

The quest to successfully teach the team of 5/6 grade girls how to run chin was somewhat successful, though it never actually resulted in a basket in a game. Center-forward became the team's staple, signature play, and it was something that resulted in a ton of open layups, some of which actually went in.

The other concept of screening off the ball to free up someone to curl when the ball was tied up on the other side of the court never came close to materializing.

The team started off 1-6 before winning two of its last three in the regular-season. Sadly, any hope of a nice run through the playoffs ended quickly, with a loss to a team that TB's team had beaten during the regular season.

The highlights of the year included back-to-back wins late in the year, the times in practice when things began to click, the time Grace made cookies for everyone for good luck and the time when Paige brought in cupcakes for her birthday.

LMTB actually played on two basketball teams, the in-house team that TB coached and the travel team, which also lost in the first round of its playoffs. There were times during the season when LMTB would have a travel game on a Monday, travel practice on a Wednesday, in-house practice on Thursday and then an in-house game and one or two travel games on the weekend.

Honestly, it was a lot of basketball for the nine girls who played travel and in-house. Of course, TB knows of some of TigerBlog Jr.'s friends who play on three and even four basketball teams in the winter.

Still, TB is pretty sure that his in-house team accomplished most of its goals: get better, have fun, want to play again next year and then, if possible, win. It's the same goal for any 5/6 grade level team, for boys or girls.

With basketball over, LMTB has a few weeks off until her lacrosse season starts.

What's remarkable to TB about LMTB's sports schedule is that it's completely unremarkable. There are millions of girls in this country who play sports, and it's not something anyone really thinks much about anymore.

According to a 2008 report by the Women's Sports Foundation, nearly 70 percent of girls in 3rd to 12th grade play some sort of organized sport, a figure slightly below that of boys (75 percent).

TigerBlog can't remember what youth sports were like for girls when he was a kid, but he can't imagine that the opportunities existed then that exist now. If anything, girls were pushed into being cheerleaders as much as anything else.

Of course, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, not that there's anything wrong with cheerleading, but it's more of a societal statement that girls now have way more opportunities to compete in a variety of sports today than they did a quarter-century or more ago.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, which, according to its website: "has been celebrated annually in all 50 states with events ranging from sports clinics to awards ceremonies to triathlons to recognize the achievements, and encourage participation, of girls and women in sports."

Billie Jean King, whom those in TB's age group remember most for beating Bobby Riggs in the Astrodome in a huge moment for the women's movement, was the founder of the Women's Sports Foundation. Also from the website:
“As we celebrate the 25th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, we are struck not only by the incredible advancements in girls' participation in sports over the past quarter century, but by the opportunities athletics have offered women in the United States and around the world,” said Women’s Sports Foundation Founder Billie Jean King. “Now, more than ever, sports, health and education programs are needed to lay the foundation to empower active, healthy and confident young women for generations to come.”

As an aside, King may have beaten Riggs in the real tennis match, but she was no competition for him as an actress on the episode of "The Odd Couple" on which they both appeared.

Meanwhile, back at National Girls and Women In Sports Day, the annual celebration of the event here at Princeton will be held Saturday prior to Princeton's women's basketball game against Harvard.

As always, one hour before game time, fans will be invited onto the indoor track area of Jadwin's main floor for an interactive sports fair featuring many of Princeton's women's teams. Girls - and boys - can play games and learn the basics of the sports while meeting the players and coaches.

For TB's money, Princeton's celebration of National Girls and Women In Sports Day is up there with any other event that is done here each year. It's a great opportunity for girls to see first-hand the value and fun of athletic participation, and it's just as important for the boys to see that the girls have the same right to play as they do.

The resulting sight is a panorama of kids, college athletes, parents and coaches, all of whom are having a great time.

And after that, there's the Princeton-Harvard women's basketball game, which will probably have huge Ivy title implications (unless Princeton beats Dartmouth and Penn beats Harvard Friday, but more about that later in the week).

Today isn't about Ivy title scenarios.

It's about girls and sports and how important the two are to each other.

1 comment:

CAZ said...

"The Pig Who Came to Dinner" -- a true classic!