How Sports Made Me the Confident Woman I Am Today

As a child, I played various sports to keep me active, healthy, and out of trouble. My mind was constantly moving 100 miles per hour and I needed to put my energy into something my heart would be into. Sports was an outlet for expressing myself and the opportunity to practice self-control. There were several moments during my time in sports where I wanted to quit so badly, but the perseverance to finish what I started each time truly outweighed the desire to quit.

My coach and friends encouraged me to keep playing and keep pushing myself towards the prize. I grew up in an area with a high poverty and crime rate, and I my parents worked all the time to raise my brothers and me. I didn’t really see them very much, and they rarely attended any of my games. I wanted my life to have purpose and worth even as a child. Sports and academics were all I had at that time to turn to. I don’t wish it would have been different because all the hands I was dealt as a child have made me into the brave, courageous, go-getter that I am today.

I’m excited about partnering with Always on the 50 Teams, 50 States program and encouraging girls everywhere to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl. Always research found that 7 out of 10 girls feel they do not belong in sports, so it’s no wonder half of them quit playing by age 17, at the end of puberty. 67% of girls feel that society does not encourage them to play sports. And, girls have limited role models to inspire them to play sports – 7 in 10 girls say there aren’t enough role models in sports today, even though two-thirds of girls agree that sports bring them increased confidence! That’s why Always worked with Walmart to provide needed support to a girls’ sports team in each of the 50 states this year.

Sports played a huge role in my childhood and made me feel like my life had purpose and hope. Now that I’m grown up, I believe that playing sports as a child has helped shape me into the confident and persevering woman I am today. Sports not only taught me exercise, team work, and communication – sports was also a way for me to drain all the negative energy around me and turn it into something positive. It shifted my mindset from hopelessness to hope. And not just for me, but my teammates as well.

I’ll never forget the moment of encouragement from my middle school volleyball coach. I had never played volleyball before, but when I tried it during P.E. class, it sparked an interest for me to pursue it. It was during a time when my family often spoke of being broke and not having any money for me to play sports. My coach was able to sponsor me to play and I later learned after tryouts that I had made the cut to the ‘A’ Team where we would play more advanced teams at other schools. It was a moment of hope and victory for me. Later, this also sparked a hope in my own parents and they began to start coming around to support my passion for volleyball. By the time summer came, my stepdad had made a DIY version of a volleyball court in our quarter of an acre backyard for me to practice in while school was out. Sports became a family affair. It was thanks to that coach who helped me to see the potential that I couldn’t see in myself, and for the effort she put forth in helping me to keep playing even when factors like money or family support were lacking. It was such a huge game changer for me, and I will never forget what she did for me.

Fun fact, 8 of the 50 teams aided by the 50 Teams, 50 States programs are volleyball teams! Whether it was providing new uniforms or a new net, they made sure girls across the nation received what they needed to Keep Playing #LikeAGirl. The thought of real girls feeling direct impact and benefits from this program is amazing and gives me hope for their future ahead.

Now, with two daughters of my own, I want to make sure I do with my daughters what I’ve learned from my childhood. First, I want to make sure they know how much I value them and the time they’ve put forth into committing into a sport. I want to be there for every game, and show my loving support. Secondly, I continue to encourage them to find sports they enjoy and are passionate about, because passion in what we do will go a long way. And finally, I want my daughters to know how much sports at any age can help shape and grow them in every aspect of their life.

Most of us tie sports to health and exercise, but there is so much more to it: communication, unity, building relationships and healthy competition – I could go on and on. Sports are much like life – you win some and you lose some, and we should use our losses as a learning experience. Our daughters will gain wisdom, knowledge, and balance mentally. It’s a critical component to our self-being that I would like to share with other parents – that sports should be encouraged in the lives of our children.

My daughters have been involved in sports ever since they were both the age of five and the last few years between soccer and track. Jasmine is a teenager who has often dealt with struggles of self-identity and self-worth, and is at a point of trying to discover her purpose. Joining track this year in high school was one of the biggest victories for us, although she makes us proud with her Advanced Placement (AP) program and all that she does at home with her siblings already. Meanwhile, Juliana is an elementary aged girl who looks up to her big sister and is also trying to figure out her place in this big, gigantic world. Joining soccer and her interest in gymnastics and karate will begin to spark creativity, poise, confidence, and friendships. As their mother, it’s my responsibility to encourage these ideas of extracurricular activities bring it to light for them, because they may not know it. And although sports can prove to have a huge impact in their lives, nothing is greater in a girl’s life than that of their own nurturing and loving mother. Sports will be “just sports” until you add in the words of praise. That “you can!” and “go for it!” and “keep pushing yourself towards that prize!”. That’s when it becomes impactful.

Check out the new video from Always #LikeAGirl and Wal-Mart and the successful completion of the “50 Teams, 50 States” program, which has provided sports equipment, funding, and more to 50 girls sports teams in each of the 50 states.

Now it’s time to empower YOU…
As a part of this project, I am giving away a $500 gift card to one lucky winner to use towards giving back to your community – just like what Always and Wal-Mart has done in the “50 Teams, 50 States” program.

To enter this giveaway, use the Rafflecopter below and you’ll be 4-easy steps closer to a shot at $500 in your community!
To get started, do this first…
1. Follow us on YouTube

2. Then, complete the remaining entries (including confirming your entry for subscribing to our YouTube channel) on Rafflecopter…
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now it’s your turn. What’s your personal story and experience about sports? Ready, set, go!!!

This is a sponsored post on behalf of P&G’s Always and Tampax. All opinions are my own.

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  • Reply
    ellen beck
    April 4, 2017 at 8:52 PM

    I would actually donate it to the boys (yes boys) and girls club here in town. They really do have the very best programs for kids and young women in town. They make them feel confident, fearless and with a desire to be the best they can be in anything. They play sports and are always in need of equipment. This would give them a chance to offer even more.

  • Reply
    ellen beck
    April 4, 2017 at 8:54 PM

    Darn it, forgot…. on youtube my user name is Tan’na Wings. On these forms for some reason, it only pics up TAN because of the ‘ in the name. I had to fill it in as Tanna Wings.

  • Reply
    Mya Murphy
    April 5, 2017 at 4:50 AM

    I volunteer in the community a couple different ways.. I help the homeless..after being homeless for 3 years in a rent, trust me, they need helped, not ridiculed. I also help with abused women and children. Half and half.. thanks for the opportunity.

  • Reply
    April 5, 2017 at 3:44 PM

    I would help the Humane Society.

  • Reply
    latonya ramsey
    April 6, 2017 at 11:25 AM

    Our county local 4-H would use it to do a lot of service learning with our veterans, environmental projects, and they do a lot with the senior center. This could help further their efforts.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 3:59 PM

    I would give back towards veterans or an animal group that needed help.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 4:03 PM

    I would donate it to our local school. They are very low on funding (our state is 50 out of 50 in the country for educational funding, and our school is low on the state list as well) and could use it in the classrooms.

  • Reply
    Bekki frey
    April 10, 2017 at 4:15 PM

    I would love to donate it to the local library for kids activities

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 4:20 PM

    We have a new food bank and baby supplies bank in our town so I would like to help buy items to help them stay stocked up especially for babies

  • Reply
    Jenny Q.
    April 10, 2017 at 4:24 PM

    I have my kids donate with me to food pantries throughout the year.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 4:26 PM

    My husband just became an above knee amputee and I would love to use the $500 to help jump start the amputee support group I am starting locally.

  • Reply
    Emma Kane
    April 10, 2017 at 4:28 PM

    I’d donate some to refurbishing an old abandoned amusement park into a playground.

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    I would donate half to fruita Little League and half to grant a wish her in Mesa County Colorado that helps underprivileged kids pay for the fees of the sports and activities they want to participate in.

  • Reply
    Kimberley Thomas
    April 10, 2017 at 4:34 PM

    I would use the funds to help the homeless in my community. Providing them with a respite for a good night sleep and clean shower and good meal. The need is huge but every little bit can help one person /family at a time. Our county has folks making $40k and homeless due to very high rental prices. Sad situation when you work and cant afford a place to live!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 4:53 PM

    I would donate it to one of the local food banks in Genesee County, MI, which serves the people of Flint, MI. The citizens of Flint are still struggling to overcome the effects of lead-poisoned water, which was just determined to be within federal lead guidelines earlier in January 2017. Residents have had concerns about the water supply for 2 years prior. The people in this area have suffered so much due to poor policies and decisions. At this point, I no longer want to point blame, but I’d really like to assist the folks who are still having a tough time with some of their basic needs, like getting healthy meals on the table for themselves and their families.

  • Reply
    Paula Stewart
    April 10, 2017 at 4:59 PM

    Our community recently started a food bank, I would help them help others.

  • Reply
    Brandi H
    April 10, 2017 at 5:08 PM

    I would donate to a local women’s shelter who helps abused women and their kids and some women who need mental help and drug abuse.

  • Reply
    Elissa Boone
    April 10, 2017 at 5:21 PM

    This would be amazing to win and help put local humane society with!!

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 5:24 PM

    We would use it to feed some of the homeless in our community. It’s unfortunately a huge problem here 🙁

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 5:27 PM

    We have a very high homeless population in our city. I would use it to buy food and clothing for those who wanted it.

  • Reply
    Anita Duvall
    April 10, 2017 at 5:29 PM

    We are a small rural town in Arkansas with no animal shelters, only an old fashioned ‘Dog Pound’. We do have a very good group, Atkins Animal Rescue, that is non profit and totally run by volunteers. Would love to help out with fencing, food, and beds.

  • Reply
    Jasmine P
    April 10, 2017 at 6:13 PM

    I would donate some of it to the local animal shelter!!

  • Reply
    Michelle M.
    April 10, 2017 at 6:45 PM

    I would use it to pay for the next homeschooling activity I come across for as many kids as I can.

  • Reply
    Eliza Ferree
    April 10, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    I would love to restock all of our FREE Libraries around town with fresh new books for kids and adults but also teens. People always seem to forget about the teens. I’d also like to leave little items around the parks and cards around town in different area where someone will come across them like Redbox or something to brighten up their day.

  • Reply
    Nickida Stephens
    April 10, 2017 at 7:07 PM

    I would be donating to a local Autism organization that provides free activities for families with kids on the spectrum

  • Reply
    April 10, 2017 at 9:22 PM

    I would use it towards helping the local foodbank. It has become a huge problem here lately as there just isn’t enough food for all the people in need.

  • Reply
    Debbie Tom
    April 11, 2017 at 1:16 AM

    I would love to help the local soccer teams in our area that are in desperate need of equipment. Many of the families do not have the money to buy cleats and I truly feel kids in sports make all the difference. I would love to see children feel proud of their accomplishments and thrive in anything they choose.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2017 at 1:18 AM

    I’d donate to the local food pantry – that said, if there is a way to split the funds, I’d donate 1/2 to the food pantry and 1/2 to the animal rescue.

  • Reply
    Layne Austin
    April 11, 2017 at 5:34 AM

    I would use it to fix our parks up so we can have somewhere safe and clean to be outside

  • Reply
    Mandi McGann
    April 11, 2017 at 7:31 AM

    Probably split between our local Humane Society and YWCA <3

  • Reply
    Angela Hendricks
    April 11, 2017 at 4:51 PM

    If I won I would get together with the teachers at my son’s school to come up with a way to help the students. Whether it would be to buy fresh fruits for snacks or paying off over due lunch balances, I would do something for the local kids around our community.

  • Reply
    Jamie-May King
    April 11, 2017 at 5:41 PM

    Summer is nearing, School is coming to a close, I would use $500 to set up a bi-weekly summer sporting event for children K-8 at a local school or park. It would be my pleasure to contribute some summer activities to my community #LikeAGirl

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