Blog to Rally for Girls’ Sports Day!

Today, December 8th, is the official day to blog to rally for girls’ sports day and as many of you know, it’s a cause that I’m all for. If it weren’t for sports I wouldn’t have this blog, this website, this life, or this really cool scar on my leg! Ok, I’ll admit, this scar isn’t that cool…but the process of getting it was.

I was an extremely shy child. I was also a huge wimp. My mom had to come on all my class field trips until I was 10 because I was too afraid to go anywhere without her. I would cry at the fair because all the rides scared me. Then my mom enrolled me in soccer and baseball. I made friends with kids that I would be too afraid to talk to otherwise. I learned that falling and scraping my knees up wasn’t the end of the world. I quickly became outspoken and passionate about our wins and losses…maybe even a little too passionate. With each good kick or base scored I gained a mountain of confidence. With each missed goal or strike out I learned how I could improve.

Soon I was enrolled in every sport that my school offered. Volleyball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, track, skiing, and wrestling–I did them all. For the most part I could hold my own on the court and on the field, but being extremely tall and skinny ensured that I got my ass kicked every time I stepped foot on the wrestling mat. Take down after take down I was sure that next time it would be me advancing to the next round. It never happened and I learned more lessons by being bad at a sport than I did at being good. Wrestling allowed me to learn some of my limitations and learn to use defeat productively.

So how’d a failed wrestling career lead into a life of mountain biking you ask? Well, around the same time–junior high–the librarian at my school, Ms.Raymond (Ms.Raymond, if you’re reading this, thank you), started an all-girls mountain bike club. Being on my rampage to try every sport imaginable, I was the first one to sign up. I also was obsessed with skiing (things haven’t changed much) and for some reason skiing and mountain biking seemed to go hand in hand.

It took one mountain bike ride and I was hooked. Going out into the woods, alone, as a 15-year-old and facing challenges like fatigue, bike break-downs, injuries, and not getting lost was what I interpreted as being the ultimate feeling of freedom and independence. Each time I left the woods I felt confident and ready to take on any challenge life was willing to throw at me. School work? No big deal. Yesterday I rode eight hours in cougar country. University applications? Piece of cake. The day before I helped put a rider’s shoulder back into its socket and coordinated a search and rescue team to come find him…without a cell phone.

My involvement in sports, particularly mountain biking, gave me the skills to take on the challenges of daily life with great confidence. I learned about goal setting, setbacks, overcoming fears, and taking responsibility for my own actions. The lessons I learned on my bike would have taken a lifetime to learn in front of a computer.

As I write this, I feel a well of gratitude overflowing inside me. Thank you, Ms.Raymond, for starting that club. Your small action was a catalyst for huge change in my life, and the lives of all the girls I get to introduce to the sport of mountain biking.

So girls, go outside and do something that scares you. Sign up for a sports team, even if you think it’s not for you. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and walk away smiling. Even if you never win a wrestling match 😉

Click here for more information on the benefits on girls in sports:


About hellodarcy

I like bodies of water, piles of earth (the snowy or trail-laden type), two-wheeled human-powered machines, forests, waves and the things that ride them, powder days, Michel Gondry videos, trying to make videos like Michel Gondry videos, passing the pages of story books through my occipital lobe and into my cerebral cortex, cats (particularly mine), what's at the other end of a long plane ride, wandering, pulling paintbrushes over things, unknowns, going really fast, weightlessness, body moving, bobbing, music listening, music playing, the earth and all the people who borrow it from their grandchildren. I am a pro freeride mountain biker and I have a degree in Geography and Environmental Studies...soon to be outdone by an MA in Intercultural Communication. I also host and produce television shows. Please see my website for more details! Happy blog-reading.
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