McKenna Bryant

The next woman that inspired me to write about women in sports is McKenna Bryant. McKenna is a freshman, political science major from Hattiesburg, MS. She plans to be the president of the United States one day. Besides her political aspirations, McKenna has been dancing since she was a little girl. Her two older sisters inspired her to participate in dance and gymnastics.

Bryant said she hates when people say “dancing is not a sport”.

“I most definitely believe dancing is a sport, it requires the utmost physicality, athleticism, and hard work and dedication. Dancing requires just as many physical skills and just as many practices as any other sport to attain such skills,” Bryant said.

She’s also not a fan of how men are seen as more feminine when they choose to dance. She thinks that dancing requires an extraordinary amount of strength that men and women both possess. Bryant believes it is important not to put a “gender” on sports.

We’ve made a heap of progress when it comes to equality in sports, but McKenna gave me a new perspective to think about. In some sports labeled “for women only”, men deal with some of the same identity and equality issues as women in predominantly male sports. We should all be working to erase stigmas in the sports world, so that everyone can play whatever sport they want to without backlash.

Sydney Ruzicka

“I think above all, girls sports are perceived less as a sport, easier than guy sports, and are expected to be played at a less intense level.”

As a tribute to a few amazing women I met during my sophomore year of college, I’d like to end my blog by blogging about them. First up: Sydney Ruzicka.

Sydney is a freshman, public health administration major from Kiln, MS where she attended Hancock High School. She played basketball for the Hancock Lady Hawks for three years. Ruzicka started playing basketball in first grade. She said that when she started playing sports, she was in the 6-7 age group and it was coed.

“Gender really didn’t matter at this age, we were all uncoordinated and all struggled to even hit the rim of the goal,” Ruzicka said.

Ruzicka’s comments about the sport’s world reminded me of my sentiments of every aspect of our society – men are privileged to be men and are given special treatment. Ruzicka said her team was treated as less skilled and not taken as serious as the boys basketball team. The guys received a lot more funding and recognition than girl’s sports at her high school.

I for one am proud of Ruzicka for pushing through negative comments and regards to women in sports and doing what she loves. I’ve been a victim of her awesome talent in basketball, and I love her for her strength and courage! #GirlPower

Becca Longo

Women make history every single day for so many different reasons, and we create a lot of “firsts” in this country. This is no different for Becca Longo, a senior at Basha High School. Becca has been a star player on her school’s football team since her sophomore year. Longo is headed to Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado to play football on scholarship. Becca Longo is believed to be the first female to ever sign a letter of intent to play college football at a Division 2 school in the country. Only about a dozen women have played college football before Becca but none with an NCAA scholarship.

Of course she has received support from all over the world having women and men alike encourage her to follow her dreams, but Longo receives negative reactions all the time. Men tell her that football is a boy’s spot,t and she should find something else to occupy her time.

In spite of those who don’t believe in her talent, Longo is truly breaking barriers and paving the way for young girls who will one day aspire to play a “boy’s sport”. Becca says she would tell little girl who aspire to pay football to do what they want to do despite what anyone else says.

I’m motivated and moved by Becca’s courage and her will to keep pushing despite the opposition that comes her way. She is showing the world that women can and will play any sport we want and that we are capable of keeping up with men in the world of sports. I wish her well in her endeavors.

Anastasia Hayes

While women don’t get nearly as much recognition in the sports world as we deserve, I’ve found that one of the sports we actually get credit in is basketball. The awards and recognition most of the time is centered around black women. In my search for my next honoree, I stumbled across an article on Anastasia Hayes.

Anastasia is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and is a part of the Riverdale High School basketball team. On Monday, she was named the 2016-17 Gatorade player of the year for Tennessee. Next year, she’ll be heading to Rocky Top as part of the best recruiting class in the country.

She has played in 97 games during her varsity career, averaging about 20 points per game with 1,993 points in total. Along with the Gatorade Player of the Year award, Hayes was named Riverdale Miss Basketball and is a McDonald’s All-American!

Women like Hayes make me want to work so much harder in perfecting my craft. Not in sports, but in life in general. I appreciate her contribution to the sports world and wish her nothing but the best as she pursues a college career in basketball!

 

Megan Walker

While I don’t particularly agree that women’ sports should have a separate branch on the ESPN website, I do love scrolling through it t get updates on what our wonderful, powerful, and inspirational women are doing in the sports world. I stumbled upon the next black women I am celebrating through my blog while researching recently. Today, I honor Megan Walker, a high school senior at Monacan High School in Virginia.

Walker, a McDonald’s All-American and the number one player in the ESPNW HoopGurlz Top 100 for the 2017, says that her last wish as a high school basketball player is to capture a third straight Virginia state title in her last state championship game.

As a sophomore, she was named the Class 4A Player of the Year in Virginia and made the Richmond Times Dispatch’s All-Metro team. As a junior, she was named the Gatorade Virginia player of the year and the Times Dispatch’s All-Metro Player of the Year. She also won a gold medal as the captain of Team USA’s U18 squad and added a silver medal for her work in the 3-on-3 competition.

Not only does she have accolades and awards in basketball, she was also named Monacan’s homecoming queen. With her busy schedule looming over her, Walker is still making time to attend her high school prom and graduation.

One thing that inspires me about Walker is that she can play all five positions at the prep level. She has worked hard over these past 4 year stop learn and execute every position, so now she is versatile and flexible in the sport.

I for one am surely motivated by Megan Walker. I am not into sports, but I am inspired to be flexible and versatile in my personal areas of interest; so that I can help others excel and be great just as she has. I am overwhelmed with the amount of #blackgirlmagic Megan Walker has shown the world of women’s basketball in so many different aspects. You go girl!

Black Women in Sports Foundation

Did you know there is a foundation dedicated to black women in the sports world in the city of Philadelphia? Me either! It makes my heart happy to know that a foundation was created just for us to honor us and raise awareness of our existence in the world of sports.

This foundation was created in 1992. The Black Women in Sport Foundation, or BWSF, is a nonprofit organization that strives to increase the involvement of black women and girls in all aspects of sport, including athletics, coaching and administration. It’s dedicated to this because being involved in sports promotes character building. The founders believed participating in sports would build perseverance, self-discipline and teamwork.

The foundation partners with a host of donors such as GoGirlGo! Foundation, Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, Larry S. Newman Memorial Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, and Middle States Tennis Association. BWSF offers scholarships, hosts essay writing competitions, and volunteer opportunities for high school aged black girls involved with sports programs.The foundation also has internship and employment opportunities for those who would like to work closely with them.

I’m thankful that someone had the heart and mind to start this foundation! Black girl magic in sports is being spread all over the country!

Aaliyah Bass

As you all know, I am using the month of February to highlight black, female superstars in the sports world. This time, instead of searching online, I did some local research paired with interviewing and found another precious, African-American superwoman in the sports world. She is a USM track team participant who is using her platform to introduce other women to Jesus.

Aaliyah Bass is a freshman, Athletic Training major from Jackson, MS. She walked-on to the USM Track and Field Team this year, so she is currently not receiving scholarship at this time. She doesn’t let the fact that she isn’t on scholarship determine how hard she works and plans to soon receive one from the athletic department. Aaliyah is a short distance sprinter.

Aaliyah says, “I run because it takes me where I want to go.”

The most interesting thing I learned about her was that she is apart of FCA, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has actively and single-handedly gotten several of her teammates to join her in this organization over the last semester. Aaliyah believes the only reason God allowed her to be apart of the team was for His glory and her outreach. She thinks her purpose in this sport is much bigger than just running because evidently she’s not even as fast as she used to be right now! Thank you for your contributions to the sports world girl. I hope that you keep spreading black girl magic and the love of Christ to your peers!