On my lacrosse team this year, among messages of ground ball pickups, hustle, and scoring goals, we have an overarching theme of family. For the next two months, and hopefully beyond, we have adopted each other as sisters and daughters. The girls have taken to it nicely. I was a proud mother when they chose to add vegetables to the menu at the most recent team dinner.
For the first time today we were able to create an extended family. At the Girls, Inc. location in our town, we went in to show these young girls (ages 6 to 14) a little bit about lacrosse and life. I told them that for today, we were going to be their new older sisters.
According to the staff at this facility, the girls were more receptive to us than they have ever been to any visitors before. They asked beautiful questions. They picked up sticks and become enamored with the idea of picking up a ground ball. They showed us dance moves, did our hair, and drew pictures of their wildest dreams. More than half of them drew pictures of themselves playing lacrosse.
They shared incredible dreams…
With only five minutes left in the workshop, I stood in the middle of that small gym, floored by the thickness of the emotion surrounding me. The reality of the situation hit me square in the face as I watched a young girl, maybe eight years old, cling to the shoulders of one of the captains on my team, tears streaming down her face. She was not the only one. To some of these young girls, this was the visit of a lifetime. Some of them will never experience anything like that again. All I wanted to do was give them all a giant hug and take them home with me. I bless those behind an amazing foundation like Girls, Inc. because they provide opportunities to children who are at risk. Our team walked away from this experience touched and grateful beyond words.
Statistically speaking, these children should not be able to play lacrosse because their grades will not be good enough. I am not a fan of statistics. Instead, we decided to give them something to work for. On our team we recognize that we can move beyond statistics. We can beat the odds, and we do it all the time. Why can’t these girls do it, too? I shared with them how diligently our team works to keep their grades up. If these young girls keep their grades up and work very hard, they can fight for the same opportunities. They just have to have a reason to do it. Today we gave them that reason—family.
One girl shared a drawing with her new lacrosse sisters…
Family—not by blood, but by the heart.
At the end, I showed the girls my dream drawing…
I want to speak and inspire young women. My dream, today and every day, is coming true. Why not these girls, too?