The school year has begun and soon so will Fall sports for many our children. Soccer, baseball, t-ball are all slated to begin. And unless you’ve been under a rock then you may not have heard of Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old pitching phenom, from Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons. She is the first girl to throw a shutout in the Little League World Series, the sixth to get a hit in the World Series history and the first Little Leaguer to be in the front cover of Sports Illustrated. Although her team lost Wednesday, she is an inspiration to all youth and especially girls. She may not have been the first girl to play Little League, but she is the first to achieve so much. With 70 MPH fast balls there is no shame in the saying, “you pitch like a girl.”

Here are 3 important lessons girls can learn from Mo’ne’s achievements:

  1. Follow Your Dreams. Don’t let your gender or sport stereotypes keep you from trying something new. You have more potential and strength than you know. This teaches girls to not give up when someone tells you are not strong or athletic enough. Look to Mo’ne as an example or other female athletes such as the William’s sisters.
  2. Don’t’ be Afraid of Being Different. According to Dr. Jeremy Ng, a sports and performance physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Mo’ne is special and well adapted to Little League because girls typically start maturing earlier than boys the same age. At 13 she is 3 inches taller than the 12 yr old boys and has more flexibility. For girls who start maturing earlier than boys this can often lead to social awkwardness and teasing. However, for Mo’ne this physical maturity became an advantage when it came to athleticism. This teaches girls to embrace their differences and look for ways to use their differences to develop strengths.
  3. Show Grace When You Succeed. When asked what does it takes to win a baseball game, Mo’ne is quick to point it takes a whole team to do so. In this statement she shows that it is not just about her but about her teammates, that teams win baseball games not just one person. This teaches girls to show grace and humbleness and it’s not just about one athlete but about the parents, coaches and team players that all help to elevate a person to greatness. For parents who may have an aspiring Mo’ne at home, encourage your daughters to greatness not matter what they want to do whether it be baseball or ballet. Give encouragement when they fail but most importantly teach them to never give up.

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About the Author: Lyris Steuber, MS, LMFT is a Lake Mary Marriage Therapist & Individuals Counselor for Depression and Anxiety with Total Life Counseling Center. Total Life Counseling Center hires experts that specialize in children, teens, adults and can be reached for questions at (407) 248-0030.