I can only imagine the thrill these Pee Wee girls had today at the women's Canada vs Mexico bronze medal celebration match at BC Place. Our club was fortunate enough to be chosen by Canada Soccer to supply the player escorts/walk out girls for team Canada and Mexico and 22 girls, aged 8-10, won this opportunity of a lifetime. They were paired up with a player, walked hand in hand out onto the field with over 20,000 fans watching and stood in front of the players during the National Anthem! They will remember this forever!
A long time ago, I was chosen as one of two girls from my high school to attend a Women in Sport day at a neighboring school and I still to this day feel the effects of how empowering this experience was. I met a number of female Olympic athletes, sat and heard their stories on how they got to where they were, touched medals, listened to every word about challenges overcome and people who said they couldn't do it. It motivated and inspired me more than I ever knew I could be. Our girls got a taste of this today. Although it is possible none of them will ever make a national team or win an Olympic medal, these experiences are ones that can plant a seed, open new possibilities, foster a dream.
And while these opportunities don't come around that often, I truly believe our own North Shore community has the ability to provide similar experiences on a different level to our girls, with an even greater impact. It is difficult as an adult to believe that what we have achieved is something children could or should look up to as it is human nature to not feel we are worthy role models. But the truth is, the impact we can have is profound and we should challenge ourselves to give this gift of motivation and inspiration to our girls every day, every week on and of the fields. Our girls don't care if we have a bronze medal or have played for team Canada. They care that we care. They care that we notice their improvements. That we have fun. That they have fun. That we value teamwork. That we encourage. That we inspire goodness, on and off the field. These are truly gifts we can give our girls. Do you remember the coach that had the biggest impact on you growing up? Did they have superior knowledge of the sport they were coaching or an Olympic medal? Mine most certainly did not. But boy did he care. He encouraged, and celebrated like no other. He loved coaching and that love was contagious.
So for all of our amazing coaches who may not think you're a role model or a "real" coach, know that you are in a position to inspire and make the best of it! And thank you from our daughters.