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She Believed She Could, So She Did

Liberty%27s+field+hockey+team+stands+together.
Liberty's field hockey team stands together.

Liberty's field hockey team stands together.

(Jordan Toller/LHS Peak Press)

(Jordan Toller/LHS Peak Press)

Liberty's field hockey team stands together.

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Playing sports can have a positive impact on everyone; gaining muscle, increasing self-esteem, and building relationships, presenting opportunities in high school, college, and beyond to name a few. For girls especially, sports can do so much more; it can increase self-esteem.

Teens who participate in sport perform better in school, build and keep strong relationships, and are in general healthier-physically, mentally, and emotionally. According to an article on workingmother.com, a national study that was conducted showed that girls were most likely to drop out of sports between the ages of 13-18– mainly because there isn’t an opportunity to play, transportation issues, and social stigma.

“It helps develop leadership skills along with teamwork that can be later used in life,” stated Keelin Broeker, a sophomore field hockey goalie at Central Michigan. “Athletics helps develop a hard work ethic and dedication to mastering a skill along with building confidence.”

Studies have shown that girls who participate in sports have better body image and more self-confidence.

Everyone has different ways they got involved in sports and different people who influence them to play sports.

Sydney Kwan, junior basketball player at liberty says her dad influenced her to playing sports; “Whether it be watching sports on TV or going to the gym together, sports are a common interest and bond we both share.”

Abigail Garnhart, a junior volleyball player at Franklin Pierce University, said her mom influenced her to play sports; “She was so enthusiastic about them. She saw all of the amazing benefits in her life and wanted to pass them onto me.”

Varsity field hockey getting pumped up for their game against St. Mary’s Academy on October 3rd

Girls can develop passions for whatever sport they play over time. Unfortunately, the opportunity isn’t always there. According to an article on ESPN, in 2013, 40% of girls from 6th to 8th grade say sports are a big part of their lives whereas in high school only 28%. According to an article on Channel 9 News, in the 2016-2017 school year, about 40% of all student athletes in Colorado were girls. Even though these numbers aren’t great, there have been a growth in girls’ sports over the last 40 years. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, in 1972 every 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports; today, about two in five do high school sports.

Sports obviously have health benefits– physical, mental, and emotional– but for girls, the benefits go farther than “looking good” or “getting a perfect body”-as society puts it.

Katelyn McMoore, a junior volleyball player at Liberty High School says mentally, playing sports have made it easier to “prepare [herself] for challenging tasks and [she] is able to receive constructive criticism.”

Participating in sports obviously have an impact on the body-physically. According to an article on momsteam.com, girls who play sports are least likely to become overweight. About every three in ten girls between the ages of 6-19 are overweight. According to the Go Out and Play study, eighty percent of high school girls who participate on three or more athletic teams have a healthy BMI, compared with 75% of moderately involved athletes and 60% of non-athletes.

Kwan says playing sports most of her life has taught her “resilience, focus, discipline, how to overcome hardships, and has created good habits like exercising and eating well”- according to most athletes are essential to good performance.

“Mentally, I’m pushing myself to do things I’m uncomfortable doing at first, but slowly becoming more comfortable with it,” Broeker stated.

Studies have shown that playing sport lowers the rates of depression and increases the self-confidence in girls. Girls involved in high school have a lower chance of dropping out and overall perform better in school. Because they have other commitments-sports, clubs, school, family- girls learn to organize and prioritize their time.

“It’s really hard balancing everything and staying on top of things but it’s possible,” Garnhart explains. “I always keep a planner and write down all things I have coming up that day and make a list of things that I need to get done.”

Unfortunately, sports aren’t always happy-fun times– teams do face challenges and hard times. Whether it’s a hard lose or a hard day, these players have quotes that keep them going and inspire them to push on. “The quote, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take” helps me when my team has a bad loss or when I have a bad game.” stated Sydney Kwan. “It’s never one person’s fault for losing the game; it’s a team effort, and that quote helps remind me to be positive and keep going even if I have a bad game.”

“My favorite quote is “she believed she could, so she did” because without confidence in yourself, you won’t be able to accomplish anything,” Garnhart explained.

From gaining confidence to building relationship that last a lifetime, playing sports can impact everyone in different ways, but for girls especially, it can transform their lives in more ways than they can know.

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