Today’s blog post is written by Rachel Goodman, an intern at PeacePlayers International’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
When I was about 3 years old, my parents enrolled me in dance lessons. But unlike a lot of little girls, ballet didn’t interest me much. When the instructor would ask us to plié or work on our leaps in front of the class, I refused. But there was my father, at every lesson, to help me along — doing pliés and leaping across the studio in front of my fellow preschoolers. To this day, my old dance teacher talks about how my father was the best dancer in my class.
So dance wasn’t for me; but basketball definitely was. When there was no league for girls my age, my parents had no qualms about signing me up for the boy’s league.
At first, it wasn’t smooth sailing. The other players and even coaches and parents questioned a girl’s place on the court. They expressed “concern” about my safety and ability to keep up with the boys. Yet, there was my dad assuring me that I could change their minds.
Even after a long day of work, he would come out to our driveway and help me work on my game. He showed me the power of hard work, perseverance, and sticking up for what I know is right. He helped me to succeed in that basketball league and in every other aspect of my life.
When I think back on my childhood, so many of my memories center around sporting events with my dad. Whether it was those nights in our driveway, the first time he took me to a Dallas Mavericks game, or just sitting on the couch watching SportsCenter.
I am so thankful to have a dad who has always encouraged my love of sports because I know there are little girls across the world who are not as lucky. In some of the places where PeacePlayers works, a basketball court is no place for a girl. That is why I am also thankful for all the fathers that let their little girls participate in PPI’s program. By doing so, each and every one of them is teaching their daughter that they have the power to change perceptions and be anything they want to be in this world.
To my dad and all the other great ones out there: Happy Father’s Day!