The score is tied.  Conlon inbounds the ball under Tennessee’s basket and sends it flying to Taurasi who has just enough time to run it to the mid court line and send it flying towards Uconn’s basket.  It sails through its target sending Uconn into the locker room at half-time three points up. Connecticut’s fans are wild.

This is not unusual for a sporting event except when one realizes that Conlon and Taurasi were players on the UConn women’s team, playing the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. Women.  Playing basketball with killer defense and courageous offense. Way to go, girls!

            Having grown up in an era where women were expected to be prim and proper, I couldn’t fathom being allowed to participate in college and professional sports. And be lauded for doing so.       

Our gym classes had such thrilling sporting events as dodge ball, tumbling, and the ever-popular spring spectacular – May Pole. On the rare occasions when we actually played a sport such as basketball it was geared down to our “lowly” feminine level. 

            Placed on teams of six girls each no one ran further than the mid-court line. When the ball ended up under your opponent’s basket, the defense did their thing protected the basket by jumping up and down, waving their arms wildly and making funny faces at the opposition. 

Strictly a half-court game, the players could only dribble the ball three times before passing it to a team mate. We didn’t want to over-exert our fragile feminine bodies.

            Remembering my not-so-athletic upbringing, I recently brought my two young granddaughters to their first UConn Huskies game.  They were going to see physically fit, agile, muscular and beautiful college women excelling in a field that in my generation was unimaginable. However, I soon noticed that they were focusing on the cheerleaders.  Why were they staring at the cute little cheerleaders and not appreciating the sight of women playing basketball?

            Why? Well, it was because they already knew women participate in the rough and tumble sport being played before them.  This was no big deal.  They play basketball and soccer already without giving it a second thought. 

            That is a very fine thing, indeed, for it shows how very far our society has come in two generations.  Whether we want our athleticism to take wing through the arduous routines of the cheerleader or the drills of the basketball player, women today are given the choice.  And we don’t have to stop at three dribbles and half a court!

C.J. Golden, author of TAO OF THE DEFIANT WOMAN, and the award winning TAO-GIRLS RULE! is a motivational speaker who travels the country inspiring all with her dynamic spirit and vision as she helps others walk their ever-evolving paths of life with more ease, joy and vitality.  Her unique, personal approach combines Taoism (acceptance of changes that occur naturally in life) with a good dose of modern day defiance (defying stereotypes, negativity, and self-limiting behaviors).   Golden's voice is one of a kind; imparting wisdom while staying completely accessible. Like a spunky fairy-godmother with the occasionally red or green tipped hair, she is a shoulder to lean on and a 'rock on' motivator all in one.

Visit CJ Golden at www.taogirl.com


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