Just a note: This post has nothing to do with technology or education or anything else that I normally write about here. Instead, it’s about a unique experience my family and I had at a New York Liberty WNBA basketball game we caught last night at Madison Square Garden. This was a Mother’s Day present for my wife, who in her day was a high school All-American forward in Riverdale, Ga. But more importantly, it was a chance for my daughter Tess to get a first hand look at women playing competitive sports in front of thousands of screaming fans, something that is not very often seen in this world. It was a good, enjoyable game to watch, with some really outstanding play by both teams, the opposing coach getting thrown out of the game, and some great dancing by a troupe of young kids who performed between quarters.
But the best part was really unexpected. Last night, the Liberty decided to fete Theresa Witherspoon who before retiring a few years ago had been one of the WNBA’s best players and also the emotional spark to the team and, some would say, the sport. Her defining “moment” came in a last-second, half-court, utterly amazing shot that extended the league finals in 1999 and put the WBNA on the map. The halftime ceremonies last night were pretty cool in general, but I realized how important it was for Tess to see. A woman being honored in ways that are usually only reserved for men. A woman being cheered for and remembered not only for her play on the court but also for her work with kids off the court. A woman who was obviously very loved by the fans and teammates and coaches in attendance, who continually kept embracing her and slapping their hands together and just really reveling in the moment.
I consciously took some time to study my daughter during those festivities, and I saw a glow that I don’t think was just about being in New York City at a “real” basketball game in a big arena and all that goes with it. I think some of it at least was that she was surrounded by a whole bunch of women who were just exuding success and confidence, both on the court and in the stands. I think, I hope, it was a moment that helps her remember what is possible.
Oh, and by the way, it’s not lost on me how important this was for my son Tucker to see too. It’s not just about the boys. There are real women to look up to as well (aside from his mother, of course.)
Maybe this was about education after all…