During the Super Bowl, there was an ad for Always Feminine Products entitled “Run Like A Girl.” If you didn’t see it, here’s a link to the 60 second version:
Runs like a girl. Once my daughter Allie became an athlete, I learned to really dislike that expression. As a young child, Allie was not all that athletically gifted. She couldn’t do a cartwheel like some girls, she basically walked out of a ski school class one day because she kept falling, soccer games were spent chatting with friends at midfield. Unfortunately, when it came to athletics, Allie got her mother’s genes. As I like to say about my wife, in elementary school when they were choosing sides for kickball, it came down to Linda and one other girl. Linda usually was the 2nd to last one picked because at least she was cute (and I’d be totally un PC if I described the other girl).
But if you know Allie, once she sets her mind to do something, look out. At about 10 years old, she decided becoming a better athlete was going to be a priority. She made the decision to switch from a nice Jewish sleep-away camp in the Poconos, where athletics were not the highest priority, and made the move to Camp Lenox in the Berkshires. It’s not only Syracuse where my children followed in their parents footsteps, as I also spent many happy summers on that Berkshire mountainside. And guess what? Their logo is an Orange torch!
At Lenox, where the emphasis is on athletics and instruction, Allie became an athlete. By freshman year in high school, she had honed her skills playing club lacrosse (which she started playing in elementary school) and made the freshman field hockey team, winning defensive player of the year. It was at a field hockey game where my dislike for the expression “runs like a girl” became a reality.
Watching a game one day, one of Allie’s teammate’s father said, “Look at them. They run like girls.” My very quick and terse response was, “Your daughter may run like a girl but my daughter runs like an athlete.” I’m sure the expression on my face matched the tone of my response, so Linda tugged at my sleeve and backed me up a few steps. I quickly calmed down but, to this day, I still think I should have decked that guy. Or better yet, I think Allie should have decked that guy.
Today, my California girl surfs, is a cross fit junkie, and has even been known to play on her company’s co-ed softball and football teams. If you ever get the chance to catch her working out on an elliptical trainer, it is a face of raw determination. Yes, Allie runs like a girl. A girl who is an athlete…and that’s the way she runs.