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National Girls & Women In Sports Day Is The Motivation You Need To Get Moving

If you've ever played a sport, you understand the transformative power they have. Whether you dabbled on an intramural team throughout middle school or got a college scholarship thanks to your athletic prowess, participating in a sport — any sport! — can have huge, lifelong benefits. In fact, the incredible gifts that sports offer are even celebrated annually with a special day. So when is National Girls & Women in Sports Day this year, and what exactly is it all about?

The 33rd annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day will be celebrated on February 6 of this year. As the official website explains, "For more than three decades, this celebration has empowered women and girls to get moving, reap the benefits of physical activity and push past their limits both in sports and in life." It's a day of not only celebrating the athletic achievements of women and girls everywhere, but encouraging others to get involved and pursue their own athletic endeavors.

As the head coach for an elementary school running team, I've been lucky enough to witness the benefits of sports first hand. The school I was placed in was considered "low income, high needs," and it was clear half of my team members had no vested interest in running. Rather, many of them had signed up for the team because their spot came with free running shoes (and a whole lot of snacks). By the end of the season, it felt like a different team. I was thrilled to watch as every single one of my girls ran through the finish line at the final 5K race, and nearly cried when they showed up to school the next day proudly wearing their medals. It was as if they had gathered a little more self-confidence with every practice lap, and it seems many realized what they were capable of for the very first time — not just as runners, but as human beings.

Their stories, though amazing, aren't unique. Girls and women all over the globe have found strength, purpose, and self-assurance through participation in athletics. This year, the theme of National Girls & Women in Sports Day is Lead Her Forward, "to honor the many ways that sports push girls and women to achieve excellence and realize their boundless potential," the website explains. A specific focus of this year's event is to honor Title IX advocates, coaches, and athletes inspiring new generations.

People all over the country will be celebrating National Girls & Women in Sports Day in various ways this February 6, and you can find a local celebration through the official website. Are you feeling inspired yourself? The website also makes it easy to plan your own event with their Event Action Kit, which comes with posters, helpful planning tips, and a handy checklist. Instead of waiting and hoping that someone else will plan something, spearhead the celebrations in your own community.

The decision to get involved in sports, in any capacity, is a decision that can change a life. From teaching a young girl to pursue her biggest goals to showing an older woman that she's always capable of achieving something new, sports deserve to be celebrated.

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