Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Jen Welter August 3, 2015

welter

One of my favorite memories from college was the year that my girls and I hosted a little Superbowl party in our dorm’s suite. That year, I became close to Kelly, who is now a lifelong sister. We had met freshman year, but it wasn’t until we lived together sophomore year that I really got to know her. I was amused and surprised when I discovered that she was a big football fan. While I consider myself an athlete, I don’t come from a family of sports fans, so being raised with football culture was complete foreign to me. So, it was an awesome sight to see when little 5’3 Kelly plopped herself on the couch between two 6’0 dudes to hold court and talk informed smack about the game on the screen. Classic!

So Kelly popped into my head when I heard the news that Jen Welter was recently hired by the Arizona Cardinals as the first female coach (intern) in NFL history. Check out Welter’s unique set of qualifications for this role:

  • She played rugby in college
  • She was on the Dallas Diamonds team in the Women’s Football Alliance (as a linebacker) for more than a decade
  • Last year, she was recruited to play running back for the minor league (men’s) indoor team, Texas Revolution
  • She became part of the coaching staff (assistant coach) of the Texas Revolution

Bonus: she’s looking forward to being a role model for little girls who as passionate about sports as she is. The New York Times quoted her:

“I want little girls to grow up knowing that when they put their mind to something, when they work hard, that they can do anything regardless [of the expectations of others]”

Good luck, Jen, you’re going to kick some butt! I look forward to following your career. 

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LizzLoves Women Coaching in the NBA August 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of WNBA

Becky Hammon, Photo courtesy of WNBA

Did your jaw drop yesterday when you heard the news? Did you think this day would ever come? I have to be honest…I didn’t! As cool as I knew it would be for a woman to be a coach for an NBA team, I just couldn’t see it truly happening. But, yes folks, this week it was announced that Becky Hammon was hired as the first full-time female hire for an NBA coaching staff — as assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. In her own basketball career, Becky has been a standout — with nearly 16 seasons under her belt in the WNBA, and seven times as an All-Star. So the woman knows her stuff…and then some!

We can do air high-fives and hat tips to Becky, we should definitely also give shout-outs to a few women who paved the path for her to step into this prestigious role:

  • Most recently, Natalie Nakase, who coached the L.A. Clippers summer league this year, and cut her teeth 3 years ago as head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan, as the first female head coach in Japanese men’s professional basketball.
  • Nancy Lieberman, who coached the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League team in 2009
  • Lisa Boyer, a volunteer assistant on Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff in 2001-02.
Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

But Becky Hammon said it best:

“There’s women that have trail-blazed much bigger paths and really trail-blazed the path for things like this to happen. There’s a lot more important things going on, in the bigger things, CEOs of companies. Women are really in every area. They’re in the surgery rooms. They’re doctors. They’re lawyers. They’re COOs. So even me sitting here today to be able to have the playing experience that I had as a professional basketball player, women went before me to pave that trail. So I’m really just reaping benefits of all their hard work and labor.”

Much respect to Becky for acknowledging her sisters who have made it possible for her, and other women in the future, to use their skills, experience and passion for the game to lead other talented athletes to success.

 

LizzLoves Surf With Amigas June 26, 2013

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The other day I spent an evening on the beach at the Jersey Shore, wiggling my toes in the sand and taking in the sights, particularly the wetsuit-clad surfers who were braving the chilly waters. Suddenly in the distance I saw another surfer join the wave riders. From afar, I could see the figure was much smaller than the other surfers and the surfboard was almost twice the size of the person.

As they got closer, I realized…it was a woman! I was so excited, I stayed to cheer her on (in my head, at least!). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see her catch a wave before I had to leave, but I was giddy watching a girl holding court among the guys.

That surfer girl made me recall a very cool woman, Holly Beck, who I saw on episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters International.” Holly, a former pro surfer, was searching for a place to launch her dream of starting a surfing school in Nicaragua, especially for women. She knows, first hand, that it can be tough as a woman on the waves. As a kid, Holly was told that surfing was for boys, so it’s a good thing she didn’t listen. She now makes it her business, literally, to inspire women to hang ten with confidence and a sense of adventure. Now the school, Surf With Amigas, is so successful that they’ve even expanded to offering retreats in El Salvador and the Philippines.  As part of their program, SWA also offers yoga, local outings, hikes, and, most importantly, a unique sense of supportive sisterhood.

If you’re not up for a trip to Nicaragua, then there are a few other awesome women-run, women-focused surf schools out there, like Surf Diva (California & Costa Rica) and Las Olas Surf Safaris (Mexico). Surf’s up, ladies!

 

LizzLoves Saudi Women to Compete in 2012 Olympics July 13, 2012

Saudi Women in Olympics

Photo courtesy of CSM

Today history was made: for the first time ever, Saudi Arabia will be sending female athletes to the Olympics. Hooray!

 

I can’t imagine how excited the two women must be! Judo competitor Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani and runner Sarah Attar will not only be representing their homeland, but they will be breaking ground for all of their Saudi sisters who have Olympic dreams.

 

If that weren’t enough, Qatar and Brunei will also be sending women to the Olympics for the first time as well!

 

Read the details in this Christian Science Monitor article.

 

Now that’s what I call a way to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Title IX! 🙂

 

LizzLoves Soccer Without Borders in Nicaragua December 31, 2011

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Ladies, did you play sports as a kid? For me, there was no question about whether or not I COULD play sports, it was just a matter of which ones! I played soccer, softball and basketball from the time I was 4 years old. I also did ballet, tap and gymnastics. And my parents were equally supportive of both. Of course, it helped that in the community and society in which I was raised, little girls and women didn’t have to face obstacles to explore the world of competitive athletics. However, not everyone is that lucky.

 

Soccer Without Borders is an international nonprofit that works to empower youth with soccer as a catalyst. While they have outreach and camps in several countries, one of their efforts called to me in a special way: a girls team in Granada, Nicaragua. Through participation in the SWB program there, these Nicaraguan girls not only build self-esteem and develop a stay-in-school mentality, but they can also gain “points” they can exchange for school supplies, clothes and toiletries.

 

I was so inspired by these chicas, that I included them in my holiday giving by donating to their project through Global Giving. To watch a video of the girls and learn more, click here.

 

Before the new year hits…are you supporting girl power organizations with a donation this year?

 

For another inspiring Latin American soccer story, you should also check out “Dreamtown,” an unforgettable documentary (produced/directed by my talented friend Betty Bastidas) about 3 young Afro-Ecuadoran men who struggle to follow their dreams of finding success as soccer players.

 

 

LizzLoves Laila Ali October 26, 2010

"She Bee Stingin'"

I’m trying to get back in to fighting shape…well, not literally. I would, however, like to return to my kick-butt physique, so I’ve been looking to friends and celebrities for inspiration.

The first woman that came to mind was Laila Ali. If I were to look like any athlete, I think I would choose her. She’s healthy, strong and beautiful. Although she is now retired, she dominated in women’s boxing. While genetics certainly played a role (her daddy is legendary boxing champ Muhammad Ali), Laila knows what kind of discipline and dedication it takes to push your body and mind to greatness.

I particularly admire her fitness message to young girls and women through her involvement with the Women’s Sports Foundation, an advocacy group that supports, promotes and highlights the accomplishments of women in sports.

Laila is also lending her one-two punch to other endeavors as well, including a new hair/beauty product line and a music career! Just like her dad, she has the poise to float like a butterfly, but the drive to sting like a bee!

Laila and her dad put up their dukes!

Stay tuned for more posts on female athletes! Do you have a favorite female sports role model? Hit me up and tell me more! Now it’s off to the park for a jog for me 🙂