By: Jenna Kampfschulte
You may wonder why the least “sporty” woman at 4FRONT is penning today’s blog post about women in sports – and that is EXACTLY THE POINT (my 14-year-old would call this being “meta”). I am not an athlete – unless you consider navigating the obstacle course of “parenthood, working, friendship, fitness and whatever else comes my way” a sport. I am, however, a champion of equality and inclusion, and innovation. I believe women bring a different perspective and a different experience which broadens the playing field (pun intended) for everyone.
A couple of years ago we went through an exercise to develop our core values and we embraced the story of Margaret “Midge” Donahue, the first non-owner female executive for a major league baseball team. “Midge” is credited with the creation of the season tickets and discounted pricing for kids and families – both of which contributed significantly to what is now a 9-billion-dollar industry.
Midge brought a new perspective to the world of baseball, which ultimately led to bottom line growth. This is the power of inclusion. She didn’t play baseball herself – but she saw it as a way to bring families closer together as well as a path to creating tradition.
I’m also pretty sure that there were some little girls who ended up in Chicago board rooms because of Midge too – even though I haven’t researched that yet.
The same way I’m pretty sure that girls watching the Superbowl last Sunday were inspired by the story of Katie Sowers, and will go on to become professional coaches, CEOs and leaders who make a difference in their communities.
I may not have played sports, but I’ve definitely been inspired to do better and work harder by women who do. Two years ago, I went to a workshop because I wanted to meet Glennon Doyle, an amazing authentic truly bad-a** blogger who makes me feel better about my life and inspires me to do more for others.
She was there with her wife – Abby Wambach – who I didn’t know much about other than she was a really cool professional soccer player who scored more goals than anyone ever in the entire world. They led the workshop together – it was life stuff, not sports stuff – but it was incredibly powerful. Of course, I loved what Glennon said, I always do, but I wasn’t prepared for the effect Abby’s testament would have on me – as a woman, a friend, a wife, a mother, a partner in a company – and whatever else comes my way.
Her message was, and continues to be, powerful – as women, we must support one another. Her leading the way for equality on the soccer field inspires me to lead the way for equality in the office, or the classroom, or anywhere else that people play and work together.
As someone who spends her time on the sidelines, I asked to write about women in sports because I know how important diverse perspectives are. I may not be running the plays – but I’m learning from those who do – and hopefully lifting others up as a result.
PS if you haven’t seen Abby’s latest Instagram post I dare you to watch it without crying or high fiving your sister, mom, best friend, etc.
Click down below for more info about Midge, National Girls & Women in Sports Day and Women who have made history.