Women's Sports Foundation Experience
Thursday, November 1 2018 01:00pm
Four MSA '19s had the opportunity to travel to NYC to assist in the duties of the 39th annual Women's Sports Foundation Gala.
By: David Compher
Four Ohio University Masters of Sports Administration students had the opportunity to travel to New York City for two days in mid-October to assist with the 39th annual Women’s Sports Foundation Gala. Among the students were Amanda Byrd, Danielle Davis, Nicole Galli, and Kristin Judson.
The first day of their trip, they attended the Athlete Leadership Connection, where current college athletes had the chance to interact with elite athletes. In addition, they heard speeches from Olympic swimmer, Missy Franklin, and legendary tennis player and Women’s Sports Foundation founder, Billie Jean King.
“Billie Jean King telling her story from the lens of her time was truly eye-opening. The dedication, mental and physical toughness, and complete grit it required to endure the challenge of a female in sports and completely own it, shows her character and passion," said Davis. "She lived title XI. Starting the Women’s Sport Foundation began the era of opportunity for girls and women in sport.”
Next stop on their first day, they traveled to mid-town Manhattan to the National Basketball Players Association. Each studentw oversaw a group of girls from the New York City Public School System, where they competed in drills, such as fencing and gymnastics, and learned valuable skills, such as nutrition and team bonding, alongside an elite athlete from the Women’s Sports Foundation.
“It was inspiring to watch athletes of all abilities work with the young girls in the gym and workshops. It was a unique opportunity for the girls, but you could also see how much fun the elite athletes were having in teaching the next generation of women in sport”, said Galli.
The second day, the day of the Gala, the MSA students assisted in the preparation of the event. From red carpet to walk-throughs, to overseeing the beauty suite and escorting the athletes to the event, their spent the day bringing the night to life.
“Seeing all the operational logistics come together throughout the day was incredible. There were so many moving parts, and luckily, we were able to assist the Women’s Sports Foundation staff in making sure everything got done”, said Byrd. “Seeing firsthand the hard work and attention to detail that goes into putting on a first class event was such a valuable hands-on learning experience.”
The Gala recognized two-time Olympic track and field-middle distance champion, Caster Semenya, with the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award and recognized other athletes, such as Oksana Masters and Maddie Rooney.
The Women’s Sports Foundation was founded by Billie Jean King in part to recognize the accomplishments of women athletes, but also as a celebration of bringing women together through sports. King founded the foundation just two years after Title IX was passed and has helped the progression of women in sports participation.
“I think it’s come a long way, but I think there is still a long way to go. It’s the tip of the iceberg for women in sports. I think the roles for women are changing. Instead of just administration, it’s becoming more operational and leadership focused. Women have to continue to pave the way”, said Judson.