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MCLA celebrates National Girls and Women in Sports Day

02/02/2010

NORTH ADAMS, MA - Athletic girls and women from across the county will gather at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) on Saturday, Feb. 13, to celebrate the 21st Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Girls in grades 3-8 and women of any age are invited to this free event. Lunch will be provided to all participants. Sports clinics for girls will include basketball, volleyball and soccer. Activities for adult women will include a fitness warm up, a volleyball clinic and water aerobics.

MCLA women student-athletes and their coaches will be among the facilitators for this event, which is being sponsored by the MCLA Athletics department. This is the second year women have been invited to join the girls in the celebration.

"Several years ago, many moms came up to me and said, 'Boy, my children are having a great time. When are we going to have our time?' Now we invite all the adult women to participate," said Dorothy Houston, assistant athletic director at MCLA and the event's organizer. "We have some moms, we have some grandmoms who come with their daughter or granddaughter to this event."

Houston said the benefit of bringing the girls and women together is so girls can see that athletic activities can and should continue throughout their lives. During the volleyball clinic, the girls and the women will be together in the gym at the same time.

"So how wonderful is that, for the girls to see that you can continue to do this in your 50s, 60s and 70s. Then, for the older adults, they see the opportunities that these little girls have, that they did not have," Houston said. "It's a time out together where they can enjoy activities, lunch, and then watch an exciting basketball game at the college level."

In the afternoon, participants will attend the 2 p.m. MCLA women's basketball game against Framingham State College.

"If we can have one of the girls catch the bug of sports, and then continue that for a lifetime, then we've done our job," said Houston. "We have some wonderful student athletes who are role models. Those student-athletes make this activity fun for the girls, which encourages them to stay active."

NGWSD is celebrated in all 50 states with community-based events, award ceremonies, and activities honoring the achievements and encouraging participation of girls and women in sports.

This event began in 1987 as a day to remember Olympic volleyball player Flo Hyman for her athletic achievements and her work to assure equality for women's sports. Hyman died in 1986 while competing in a volleyball tournament in Japan. Since that time, NGWSD has evolved into a day to acknowledge the past and recognize current sports achievements, the positive influence of sports participation, and the continuing struggle for equality and access for women in sports.

Those interested in participating must pre-register no later than Feb. 5. Space is limited. To pre-register for this event, and for more information and a program schedule, go to http://athletics.mcla.edu/information/NGWSD/index .