In the summer of 1999, when my daughters were just 9 and 6, we made our way to Soldier Field in Chicago to see a World Cup game leading up to the women’s championship. That tremendous team won on a gorgeous summer evening with thousands of fans cheering. As we sat with other families from our daughter’s soccer team, I watched the delighted, eager faces of young girls thrilled beyond words to witness the athleticism of players like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain. It was a glorious night. It was vision casting. Those young fans were ennobled – and given a picture of what strong young women can do when they work hard and collaborate as a team.
I thought about those young eyes again as the U.S. took on Japan for the final game, and won so decisively sixteen years later. I believe many young eyes were watching, and they will be impacted in immeasurable ways by what they saw. My own daughters are now in their early 20’s. They are confident young women who played sports in high school, but currently are pursuing a life in the arts. I believe that a part of their belief in themselves stems back to images they carry of those strong atheletes, along with other women who modeled for them a sense of accomplishment and teamwork.
Whenever we get a picture of excellence, of what is possible, we are given a hope that maybe, just maybe, we too can excel. For young girls it is vital that they see women flourishing in the business world, in the arts, in sports, in academia, in the home, in politics, and in the church. For all of us who are adult women, we must always remember that young eyes are watching. What a privilege to help paint a picture for them that ennobles and inspires and envisions young girls!