Girls: Curious About Sports? Bring It

Annual Event Lets You Try Before You Try Out

2014 members of the Women’s Leadership Club at Grandville High School

What if you could try out a sport before trying out for the team?

For girls at Grandville Public Schools, it’s possible.

The Women’s Varsity Leadership Club is sponsoring a Girls Sports Day from 2 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the high school Athletic Center. Some 120 girls last year learned about 12 sports from female athletes who play on those teams.

The district’s guidance counselors have offered the event in the fall for the past six years to encourage more girls to get interested in sports. Girls in lower grades get to try their hand — or legs, or feet — at every sport offered at the high school level as long as there is a member of that group to show them the ropes. Those include lacrosse, rugby, volleyball, basketball, soccer, track, cheerleading and swimming.

Two sessions will be held: one for girls in k-3 and one for fourth- to sixth-graders.

A Grandville elementary student tries lacrosse during the 2014 Girls Sports Day event
A Grandville elementary student tries lacrosse during the 2014 Girls Sports Day event

Much More Than Athletics

Sue Mattice said she and fellow high school counselor Erika Brown started the event about six years ago when they were both counselors and coaches at the school.

“As coaches, we were both very interested in and into the team-building and leadership development sides of athletics,” she explained. “We wanted to start a group to promote the healthy benefits of athletics for girls including character-building and the promotion of girls sports both inside and outside of the school.”

Girls Sports Day also is aimed at giving those who belong to the Women’s Leadership Club the opportunity to share their expertise and experience, and to encourage its members to be role models for younger girls, “to let girls see at a young age the possibilities that are ahead and not be afraid to try something new,” Mattice said.

Grandville’s Women’s Varsity Leadership club is open to any female varsity athletes in the district, and is aimed at bringing together throughout the year athletes who participate in sports but whose seasons may not coincide.

The club also works to promote awards and accomplishments of its athletes, and visits students in lower grades to talk about being on a sports team and the positive impacts that can have.

Maddy Irwin says if she could have tried some sports she had never played before high school, she might have joined more than the swim and water polo teams.

But at least now she can expose younger girls to sports they have never tried. The varisty athlete has participated in Girls Sports Day for three years.

The best thing about it? “When I overhear one of them say ‘I’m definitely going to play that sport when I get older,'” Maddy said. “Then you know you’ve inspired someone.”

Organizers ask that girls interested in attending email ebrown@gpsbulldogs.org.

Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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