Feb. 1, 2012
BERKELEY - In honor of the 26th celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and the 40th anniversary of Title IX, CalBears.com talked to members of the California softball team to find out what kind of difference playing sports made in their lives. CalBears.com also asked the Golden Bears why they thought all little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports.
Valerie Arioto -
Sports have really shaped who I am today! Dedication, hard work, competition, accountability, patience, compassion, friendship, heart, diversity, adversity and many more characteristics, I have learned and experienced through sports! I hope other little girls get this opportunity to grow up in a positive atmosphere, learn life values, make life-long friendships and just to have fun!
Cheyenne Cordes -
Softball has given me opportunities that I would not have gotten otherwise. First off, I do not come from a wealthy family, so it has given me the chance to get my education at the No. 1 public institution in Cal. Second, it allowed me to play on the USA junior national team and gave me the opportunity of leaving the country. Thanks to softball, I've gone to places like Colombia and South Africa. Lastly, it has given me the chance to be a role model for young girls around the country and world. Having little girls look up to you inspires me everyday to be better on and off the field. All little girls should be given the chance to play sports because competition is healthy and so is social interaction with other people. I have a huge love for the game, and if I was never given the chance to play softball, then I wouldn't know what is like to have that passion or feeling I have for softball.
Ashley Decker -
Playing sports has helped me get to where I am now. Along the way, I have met so many people and have experienced so many great things. When I look back on my life, I see great memories that I would never go back and change. All little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports because it is important to be active and experience new things. Sports could help change their lives forever and for the better, like it did for me.
Frani Echavarria -
I feel sports have helped me in many ways. It has helped me grow and shaped me into the person I am today. Sports are a part of my identity because it has helped me develop certain characteristics such as mental toughness, leadership, ambition, heart and competitiveness. If I never played sports, I don't know when I would be introduced to things of this nature, and then who would I be today? Sports have also taught me what it's like to be a part of a team and how to work with others. It also helped me build friendships with very special people. Sports give me strength, sports is my haven, and sports lets me express everything I am. I'm proud of who I am and where I am today. I am attending the No. 1 public school, graduating this spring, play in the dominating Pac-12 Conference, and I am a Cal Bear! I feel girls should be given the opportunity to play all sports no matter what it is. Just like how male athletes see sports as a stepping stone or an outlet to help them to become successful in their sport and as people, female athletes have the same dream!
Arianna Erceg -
I have been playing sports since I was five-years-old and I couldn't imagine what my life would be without them. Sports have given me life-long friends, a ton of opportunities, and they have taught me life lessons that I couldn't have learned anywhere else. I think that little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports because it allows them to meet new people who share a common interest and it could open many doors for them in the future.
Danielle Henderson -
In my lifetime playing sports have helped me find what I truly love to do. I love playing softball and besides it being lots of fun, it has given me a variety of benefits. Softball helped me gain some really close friends and become a part of families. Not only have I been able to gain friends, but it has helped me strengthen other bonds. Softball has made me be responsible, manage my time and learn how to work hard. I would never change playing sports because ultimately it has made me who I am today. All kids should be given the opportunity to play sports because not only is it a way to have your kids be active, it will also help them find who they are because they will be surrounded by girls their own age that have some of the same intentions in life. Sports are fun for kids and the competition enables them to continuously grow to become the best. In the end, sports allow kids to grow up with something they love and enjoy doing.
LaRisa Jones -
Being involved in sports has given me a confidence that I don't believe I would have found anywhere else. Young girls should always have the option to be involved in sports because it can give them so many opportunities and a chance to push themselves to excel and succeed.
Victoria Jones -
Playing sports has allowed me to develop life-long friendships and has given me athletic ability and competitive attitude to allow me to accomplish anything in life. Girls need to be able to have that competitive mindset and allow them to have fun in sports just as little boys do.
Breana Kostreba -
Playing sports has allowed me to make many strong and lasting friendships. I have also learned many life skills through playing sports, such as determination and punctuality. All little girls should be given the chance to play sports because it keeps them active and gives them access to many opportunities. Above all, it is fun.
Mary Lee -
By playing sports, I get to be active and competitive. It is a lot of fun to meet and play with so many athletes and friends. All little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports because it's a great atmosphere for competition, exercise, teamwork, commitment and fun!
Nikki Owens -
Playing sports has given me the opportunity to meet tons of really cool people and learn how to manage my time and energy efficiently. I also have gotten to see a lot of new places through traveling for tournaments. All little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports because they will be missing out on some really valuable experiences and lessons if they don't.
Elia Reid -
Playing sports has helped me become a leader and has helped my work ethic off the field. It has also given me the opportunity to play at a higher level. It teaches young girls responsibility and gives them better opportunities for success. Girls are just as capable as boys and should be given the same opportunities.
Jamia Reid -
I think it is important for all little girls should have the opportunity to play sports because it opens many doors. Sports allow you to meet people from different backgrounds, which can potentially help you when looking for a job. Sports help you overcome diversity. But not all sports are for any kid, so I would have to say it's important to find something you love and stick with it.
Alex Robben -
Sports have given me the opportunity to go to an amazing college such as Cal. All little girls should be able to play a sport because it benefits them in the long run by having such a variety of talents.
Taylor Vincent -
Playing sports has allowed me to develop my character, make lifelong friends and grow into a leader. This is reflected not only on the field but in life in general. All little girls should be given the opportunity to play sports because even if you are very successful, sports are a great way to make friends and exercise in the process.
Britt Vonk -
Playing sports has done so much for me, so much more than I ever expected. I have traveled around the world, met a lot of great people, and it's made me appreciate everything I have. Girls should play sports so that they have a chance to have great experiences and have an opportunity to develop a strong work ethic.
Jace Williams -
Playing sports has afforded me the opportunity to receive a top-notch college. Growing up, my father always told me that he expected all of his children to receive a college education. Knowing that the college fund he started for me can go to my brothers for them to have more opportunities makes me appreciate the true impact sports has had on my life and my families! Sports impact everyone's life differently. Playing sports allowed me to channel and express a lot of different emotions I had growing up, so for me it was more like a safe haven. Sports always made me feel like I had something that was truly mine. No one can ever take your talent away from you!
Lindsey Ziegenhirt -
Playing sports has given me a competitive edge that I carry into the classroom and life. I know if I work hard, I can be the best at whatever I do. Girls should be given the opportunity to play sports because it's a great way to help create friendships, exercise and encourage a competitive attitude. It also helps teach that failure isn't a stopping point but rather a turning point to work harder and try again.
During the 30 days leading up to the first game of California softball's 2012 campaign on Feb. 10, CalBears.com will be posting a multitude of releases and features. Check back Thursday to take a virtual tour of Elia Reid, Frani Echavarria and Jamia Reid's apartment. To see all 30-for-30 releases and features in one place, please click here.