Did you know that I spent Kindergarten through Eighth grades in a tiny Catholic school in NJ? It’s not something I talk about much because it’s not something I really like to remember, but when I received an email from Boston Sports Woman regarding an opportunity to be a brand ambassador for women’s fitness outfitter, Team 4all, my early school years were the first thing that came to mind.
Team 4all, starting with the name, is something I can get behind, and their Gain Power in 2011 campaign sounds it could be something I have written myself in past blog posts.
“Forget the crash diets, the fad eating trends and endless hours on a treadmill. We’re skipping the resolution to lose weight.
We’re going to improve our game, crush our opponents and still have time for a fun weekend. We want to gain power this year. Join everyone at 4all in our resolution to gain power in 2011!”
To enter the contest to become a brand ambassador, interested bloggers were asked to write a blog post based on the following prompt:
What or who inspired you to start a fitness/sports routine and how are you planning to gain power in the New Year?
That’s where Catholic school comes in. Without getting too into detail about this scarring experience, I will just share that the physical fitness program was absolutely atrocious when it came to girls and sports. It was everything every TV show gym class makes it out to be, awful uniforms, picking teams, bullying, general weekly mortification. Our physical education teacher was, I could recognize even at nine years old, a giant chauvinist (who also happened to be horribly out of shape; the only sport he did was beer can opening while watching sports, I am certain) always choosing boys to lead teams, cheering on the boys, and choosing rough “boy” sports like football and hockey. Those of us with less athletic ability were made fun of not just by fellow students, but by the teacher himself. And by those of us, I mean girls.
When I started at my public high school, I was inspired by a family friend to play field hockey, a sport she dominated in throughout her four years at the school. While field hockey was NOT for me, I relished in our weekly two mile runs, and where I was awful at hockey drills, I often was one of the first to come in during the “long” run. A desire to run more and a dislike for the field hockey program propelled several of us into winter track, then spring track, and the following fall, cross country.
Running became a part of my life when I was 14, and while we have had a love/hate relationship for many years, what inspires me most this year continues to be the 2010 Boston Marathon, and, more specifically, the hundreds of little girls I high-fived along the 26.2 mile route. No matter how tired I got, one of my goals during the marathon was to interact with the crowd, and the excitement on the faces of little girls from Hopkinton to Boylston Street was enough to make even the most exhausted runner beam with joy.
I was inspired in those moments because while maybe in many schools, boys’ sports still reign supreme, and we know that professionally the money is with the men’s teams, these little girls were witnessing thousands of women pushing their physical and emotional limits to complete an awesome race.
In the end, I know every step I take is for my own health, mental and physical, but during those long runs or on the days where it is too cold to go even to the gym, I think back to the girls along the marathon route and hope that they keep that day somewhere in their hearts the way that the runners do, maybe even some day drawing upon those memories to be fit and have fun at whatever activities they decide to try. I would love the opportunity to represent Team4all
I am also pretty inspired by the fact that the girl who was picked last for nearly every sport is about to run a fifth marathon.
Take that angry Catholic school gym teacher!