Instead of going to school today I had the honor to attend the fourteenth annual Women In Sports Celebration, hosted by the Orange County Athletic Directors Association. It’s an all around women empowerment Conference, where women guest speakers are chosen to deliver their powerful messages. It gave me a tremendous amount of pride to know that a lot of girls in our county are paving a new perspective on high school sports and competition. It’s crazy to think that before 1972 women were not given equal athletic opportunities, but over the past 40 years the traditional view of a women has changed from staying home and cleaning to being just as important as Men’s teams. For the first time this past summer Olympic games The United States was represented by more women than men, and they brought home a little more than half of the medals won.
The speakers were incredible and it was a blessing to soak in everything they had to say. Kelly Ford, a successful softball coach had a very stand out activity. There were two volunteers chosen from the crowd and they were sent outside while we were given instructions on what to do. Kelly placed a water bottle center stage and told us the volunteer had to grab the water bottle when she walked into the room. The trickiest part was the fact that we would not be given any instructions, instead we had to guide her with positive words and reinforcements. She was able to get ahold of the water bottle after about a minute. We conducted the same test again with the other volunteer, but this time we had to boo her and give her harsh criticism. According to Kelly for the first time since conducting this test, the volunteer who was boo’d was able to figure out the water bottle faster than the girl who was given positive reinforcement. When she was asked about how she knew to grab the water bottle, she responded saying that she had turned all the negativity into positives or either ignored it and was attentive on what she had to do to complete her task. That’s the beauty of sports and really applies to everything. There are always people who are going to try and bring you down, but you have to ignore it, turn it into positivity and focus and your ultimate goal. The only person stopping you is yourself.
We also had the humbling opportunity of having four time olympic medalist, Kaitlin Sandero who originally came from El Toro High School. She competed in her first olympics when she was only seventeen. She talked about her most proud moment, and it wasn’t when she received a gold medal. It was when she received silver, after she had PR’d (personal record) in the 400 IM. She had finally broken her 4 and a half year plateau from a 4:40 to a 3:34. For her it wasn’t about winning gold, but racing herself to beat one of her lingering obstacles.
“In that moment, my silver medal was my gold”
Even though she has retired her swimming career she taught us that the road to her success wasn’t all ups. she fought against many obstacles that had brought self-doubt, but have made her the person that she is today. She credited most of her success to being positive the whole time she was going through struggles.
I took so much out of this conference and was so inspired. I want to thank OCADA for putting this event together. I truly learned how to look at a glass half-full.