espnW Women + Sports Summit: The Importance of Women in Sports


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First, a BIG thanks to Lexus for inviting me to the espnW Women + Sports Summit last month. It was without a doubt the best conference I’ve ever been to. It wasn’t the usual conference I’ve attended in the past – and I’ve gone to plenty for marketing, social media, blogging and health care. This conference was all about women in sports, but no divas or attitudes.

Lexus invited me to test-drive their new Lexus ES Hybrid, and it just so happened they were sponsoring the espnW Women + Sports Summit so they invited me to stay for the conference too. I’m thrilled they did.

I learned so much about women and sports, including the impact of Title IX, the business of sports, marketing to fans, the global impact of women playing sports, and the importance of getting young girls to participate in sports. Watch videos of these inspiring sessions at espnW.

Check out the visual boards created for each of the sessions by Image Think, including a featured tweet by me.

Source: espn.go.com via espnW on Pinterest

 

And I met some wonderful people. Lexus put together a great group of bloggers and editors, including Allison Leahy of Inhabitat.com, Lindsey Brown of Eco-Chick.com, Jessica Cassidy and other talented people. In addition, the espnW staff and professional athletes were so approachable, humble and 100% diva free. Really, with all those women you’d expect some drama, but there was none. I sat at lunch with espnW VP Laura Gentile and celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein. I chatted with espnW anchor Sage Steele about work/life balance. I took a Todd Durkin boot camp class with Hannah Storm. I took a photo with WNBA superstar Sheryl Swoopes. I was just a table away from pro volleyball player Gabby Reece. And there were para-Olympians who were kicking butt in boot camp, while I was hunched over in the corner hugging my knees from exhaustion. It was amazing – well, except for me being wimpy about boot camp.

The conference made me think more about what parents can do to encourage kids (especially girls) to play sports. I think parents have an opportunity to model the benefits of sports by playing themselves or taking the whole family to sporting events. A lifestyle that includes sports really is the best way to encourage kids to play sports. Rahul Brahmbhatt’s session about bringing soccer to India and breaking down cultural barriers to give women (both young women and their mothers) opportunities to play sports really hit it home for me on how important it is to cultivate an environment that celebrates women (and men) in sports.

Surfing is big in my family. My husband used to surf competitively in pro contests and was sponsored by a number of different surf brands. I know he hopes one of our boys will follow in his footsteps, but he’s great about not pressuring them. But what we do is spend a lot of time at the beach and made sure our boys were water safe. Now they’re great boogie boarders – they catch their own waves and are now starting to go up on their knees. I’m already looking for surfboards so they can stand up by next summer.

And even beyond sports, I think it’s important to teach kids that staying active no matter what your age is healthy. My husband still surfs (well, not much lately due to his back issues but he will waddle in the water and eventually will be back on the board), while I take Pilates a few times a week. Staying active is a part of our lives. It builds confidence, keeps us healthy and helps us age slowly.

What role does fitness and sports play in your life and your family’s life?

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About Tracey Black

Hi, I’m Tracey. Welcome to Don’t Mess with Mama. Join me to stand up against junk food, processed food, and anything artificial. I’ll show you how to cook wholesome, gluten free (and grain free) meals with real food ingredients to nourish your family. Plus, learn how to get the toxins and chemicals out of your home for good with my favorite DIY and homemade recipes for beauty, personal care and cleaning products.

Comments

  1. I personally think the child should choose which of the many sports they like–of course the parents should and usually do what they like best first and that’s fine. Back when I was growing up girls did not play football-they were cheerleaders or any rough sport for that matter–I am so happy when I see that at least that gender gap has closed!!

  2. I was never into sports as a girl but I try to support my daughters in their sporting adventures. Sounds like you had a blast!

  3. Sounds like a great experience! I was really into fitness before I became a mom. I need to get back into it for sure!

  4. What a cool summit, I hadn’t heard of it. Great that you got to go and learn so much!

  5. I agree with you wholeheartedly–it’s great for kids to see their parents doing some kind of exercise on a regular basis. I like to go to the gym and do zumba & yoga. I also play tennis occasionally. The kids have tried all kinds of things, from soccer to ice skating to gymnastics, but now they’re into Tae kwon do. Doesn’t matter what it is, we just have to get up off the couch!

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