Welcome to YOU CAN PLAY

Changing Women's Lives for the Better through Play!

I am proud to announce the launch of my new book "You Can Play" which is a compilation of my own life experiences as well as stories shared by other wonderful women. This book will motivate you to participate in group play and actually enjoy physical activity. I invite you to share your comments and stories and to follow the "You Can Play" blog as we continue to evolve.

Visit our website at www.YouCanPlay.org to learn more!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

You Too Can Play

After 21+ years of owning and running a successful business, Corporate Fitness Works, I have been fortunate take time to reach out and help others achieve the same sense of success that I have in my life. I have been so fortunate in many ways, including owning a successful business, a super company team, great family relationships, opportunities to lead in the community and in general a feeling of fulfillment.   I feel like it is now my chance to share with and help others. This is my motivation as I begin to write a book titled “You Can Play”.

Play as a Way of Life
I asked myself if there was one significant reason I have been successful in life, both personally and professionally. The simple answer is, I gained life skills by playing sports, particularly team sports as a child and young adult. No child stops to think about the future benefits they will experience when at the moment it is all about playing and doing their part on a team. I did not realize at the time the impact playing team sports would have on my adult life.

My Challenges
It won’t surprise you that I did not have a mentor or even one conversation about the benefits sports would bring to my life. Not one.  There is no question in my mind sports played a MAJOR role in shaping who I am today. Just the fact that I played basketball, volleyball, field hockey, and softball through my high school and then played softball and tennis in college made THE DIFFFERENCE in my life for sure.

The title of the book, You Can Play, came from a personal experience that I had in elementary school where the boys were playing baseball and I wanted to play. I just assumed I could play and I was told I “could not play”. Well I showed them that I CAN PLAY and I want all girls and woman to know YOU CAN PLAY. The ball is literally in your court and it depends on whether you want to play, because you can!

My Opportunities
I got the opportunity to play sports because I could throw a ball and so helped my brother prepare for his games. Thank goodness the opportunity was there for me. Looking back, my brother helped me more than words could even begin to describe. He opened the door to my success as an athlete and an adult. He provided me the chance I needed to play. He saw me for my ability not as a girl, assuming that I could not play. He enabled me to eventually be ready for high school and college and now in my adult life to play sports, in particular racquetball. I remember my father taking me to the softball field in Washington, DC when I was 16 and one of the youngest on our fast pitch softball team. Fast pitch was considered semi-professional at the time. My High School Coach told me about the league and team and encouraged me to try out, so I did and made the team. This was a woman’s adult league and very highly competitive. I played second base and loved it. My team came in second in the country. It was the closest I ever got to playing professional sports.

In this one experience alone I learned so many things, such as teamwork, importance of practice, goal setting, communication, dealing with conflict, strategies to win, learning to prevent mistakes, etc. but had no idea what these skills were going to do for me later in life. All the playing I did in my life prepared me for many of my personal and professional experiences. Opportunities like this were the exception when I was growing up.  To be honest, playing sports in my generation, went against the grain. All I know is that I just followed what I loved, playing sports. It was fun. I was also truly blessed to be a gifted athlete. It seemed it came easy to me and I excelled which made it even more enjoyable. 

My Passion
I know many women have not had the same support, perseverance or opportunities as I have to play sports.  I want to enhance the experience for other girls and young adults who play sports today and to influence those who will play in the future. I want all girls to get the message that they can and should play early in life so they can benefit.  I also want to reach women who are looking back at their lives wishing they had played more.  I am sure you have heard the saying you are never to old to learn. Well I do believe you are never too old to play and have fun. I did not play racquetball until after Graduate School and then I was hooked and still play competitively today.  I want to tell young girls as early as elementary and middle school, as well as those who may be in retirement, that playing sports can be the best experience of your life. You don’t have to be the star athlete, you just need to play, enjoy and learn everything you can from the entire team interaction, the chance to compete and most importantly the chance to be your best and have fun doing it. You will not regret it, but like me, and many of you, can look back at this experience and be so grateful that you took the time to play sports. The pay off is beyond what you might imagine. I know there are parents, teachers, coaches and community leaders out there who want the best for their girls just as they want for their boys. If the experience of playing sports is affirmed as a way of learning life skills, presented as an important part of growing up, can you imagine how much girls can realize success in all aspects of life?

My goal is to change the way we view playing in our society and encourage everyone to take time to play, join teams and have fun.  As the messages in the book spread, they can encourage women of all ages to “get in the game and play” in all dimensions of their personal and professional lives.

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