“They won’t remember all that you said.
They won’t remember all that you did.
But they will never forget how you made them feel.”
It’s official, all three BAWSI Girls sites in San Jose are underway. After
months and weeks of preparation and visioning, it feels amazing to truly be
connected to the pulse and heartbeat of our work in such a concrete way.
After taking the BAWSI Pledge and signing their name with their little
pinkies in commitment, receiving their personalized BAWSI Girls jersey, and
taking notes in their very own BAWSI playbook, we inducted another 175
girls from at-risk and underserved schools to the BAWSI Team and Family.
Armed with their BAWSI Gear and love, it was beautiful to see the girls, in
mind, body and spirit transformed a la Wonder Woman style, into stronger
and more confident girls empowered to take charge of their own lives.
Upon my own reflection with these opening weeks in the books, I am feeling
honored in a place to be able to affect so much change. Upon first glance,
one sees the obvious impact and opportunity we have to try to break the
cycle and plant seeds of hope in these young girls lives, but in deeper
reflection I am most honored to be in a leadership position to engage,
equip and inspire female student-athletes who themselves are at a very
formative place in their own lives. This work is good work. This work
requires more intentionality, but will, I believe, be the place from which
true systemic and cultural changes is born. Female student-athletes are
unique and they can do work that few others can just by being them. My job
is to hold a mirror up to these student-athletes to show them their value
and encourage them to use that power to change the lives of others, to pay
With focused attention around supporting the student-athletes so they might
serve authentically, I have seen a similar transformation in the
student-athlete that I have witnessed in the BAWSI Girls…and it’s only
week 1! I am excited to see what this Spring holds and moreover what this
leads to for these student-athletes in life beyond BAWSI. Images that
speak to the parallel transformation…the student-athletes are proud to
wear their gear and represent their university. They throw back their
shoulders and speak about what their journey has been like to be where they
are at now, in their own sharing the light bulbs illuminate and the “Aha” moments flood in, the realizations that by being an athlete they are set apart and whether they like it or not, they are role models to all of the little girls who look up at them in admiration. Concrete images to symbolize the metamorphosis include bodies sculpted by hard work and sacrifice being transformed into human jungle gyms, focused game faces transformed into permanent smiles, fierce competitors transformed into human hugging machines, teammates transformed into super heroes.
While these images serve symbolically of the transformation at play, the seeds of changes can also be seen on a deeper less tangible manner.
- At Washington School, the energy of the West Valley Soccer Team was undeniable, but it was a small observation in the final moments of our time together where the I could see the seeds of change being planted. After our final break and huddle, the BAWSI Girls charged their West Valley Coaches and hugged them until the last possible moment. One athlete in particular, they have already nicknamed “Mama Lu,” said to me, “Thank you. This honestly was the best part of my day. I promise to be here every week.” In these few simple words I could see the power of service at work.
- At Gardner School, the WAC Championship Swimming and Diving Team could not help but beam with pride as they saw me speak of their Olympic Trials and National Championship bound teammate to the BAWSI Girls. In speaking of their championship team the BAWSI Girls were literally on the edge of their seats, with an uncontainable excitement. Seeing the little hands shoot up after asking, “How many of you feel lucky to have these Champions as Coaches?” or “How many of you think you can go to the Olympics one day?” left these Spartans as heroes for these little girls. I believe having their worth articulated planted the seed and they will continue to dig deeper to give authentically to this community because they feel compelled to live up to that heroine stature.
- At San Antonio, it was amazing to watch the six Evergreen Valley College Soccer Players transform from shy and somewhat timid volunteers to strong, energetic, coaches in the matter of 75 minutes. After leading stations and participating in relays where they had to yell “Booyah” at the top of their lungs and booty bump their BAWSI team, they were fully initiated and comfortable as BAWSI Coaches. In the end, the entire group of six shared how though they were not signed up to come out each week, that they all wanted to come weekly to be with these BAWSI Girls. As they walked away, one of the student-athletes pulled out a tattered piece of notebook paper to show her teammates. She said, “Look at the picture I got!” It was a picture drawn by a BAWSI girl that said, “I love you coach.” The seed has been planted no doubt.
I feel so fortunate to be able to facilitate an experience where student-athletes can challenge their own comfort zones and see the magnitude of their own worth in the community. The seeds of paying it forward, of authentic service, of commitment to the community are being planted and I believe in time will grow in these student-athletes. I cannot wait!