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Tuesdays Are For Women in Sports

August 28, 2018

Inspiration and wisdom for women in sports, female athletes, women who like sports, women in business

As I entered the Syracuse stadium in 2004, home to the Syracuse Chiefs Baseball team and the Syracuse Sting Professional Women’s Football team (football not soccer), I felt a shiver up my back because I was under the lights in an unchartered territory supporting a unique women’s sporting team. Ask I walked out on the field, I was almost shoulder to shoulder with two much taller women football players. My father had been a football coach and I remember wishing he was there to see me walking out to toss the coin! It was electric. Next to me was Cabrina Gilbert, the team’s leader, who helped lead the 4-year-old team to an Eastern Division Championship in the Women’s Professional Football League (WPFL) in 2002 and 2003 seasons.

I had forgotten this unique sporting memory until I came across the team’s sweatshirt I bought that night to financially support them. It had a signature bee in the logo. I understood how much the team needed money to survive to play and contend and how vital it was to get fans in the seats – especially female fans. But after four years of juggling all the duties that came with running the team which included publicity, fundraising and management, Cabrina eventually turned the team over a former male football player (with a daughter) who wanted to keep the team going.

IRISH POWER HOUR

Cabrina’s interest in starting a women’s football team is just one of the “women in sports” stories I am collecting for a eye-opening presentation on everyday women who excel at sports or participated in sports and want to help me put more women in the stands of women’s sporting events and help support some of the equality issues women face in sports. I have already interviewed 25 women and each story is inspiring and head scratching when you hear the adversities they still face today.

Graciously my favorite sports icon Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon in 1967, who has become a close friend, introduced me to women running the Women’s Sports Foundation created by Billie Jean King 44 years ago. The Women’s Sports Foundation is dedicated to creating leaders by ensuring girls access to sports. My conversation with them has lead to an once-in-a-lifetime invitation to an annual female athletic conference in October so I can meet more women in sports for my presentation.

I have supported and advocated for women in business for 23 years but 5 years ago added a “Women’s Athletic Network” to bring more women in business together to participate in and enjoy women’s sports together. We need more female fans in the seats to advance the amount of advertisers and pay for female athletes who deserve the same audience and pay as men. If you are a woman reading this who is or was an accomplished athlete or knows of one, please reach me at this link so I can interview you too.

Cabrina Gilbert is on my list to interview this week and you can see why! If it wasn’t for women like her supporting women’s sports and bringing the sport into the arena for other women to enjoy, this post wouldn’t be inspiring other women today.

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