Playing beyond the Game is not just what we do, it is how we live. All our coaches and staff love field hockey, but most importantly, we love seeing young people develop the life skills that come from team sports. Below is Chrissy’s essay on what inspired her to start Beyond Sticks.
by Beyond Sticks Founder Chrissy Lewis Summers
I could say the idea of Beyond Sticks got started when I had to write a personal essay in 7th grade and I wrote a love poem to my field hockey stick.
Or I could say the idea came to me after someone asked me, after a long day at the office(back when I wore a suit to work), what I would do for free. I quickly replied “Make girls feel great about themselves by playing sports.”
I could also say it was when I laughed upon receiving my first coaching paycheck, finding it unbelievable that I was being paid to run around with a bunch of great girls.
But really, the idea of Beyond Sticks hangs on an article I read while taking an education class at the University of Pennsylvania before I began my full time graduate studies at Georgetown. I was writing a research article about the advances in sport for women since Title IX. I stumbled upon an article about how playing sports in high school gives women a leg up years later in the job market. The article and the research show that Title IX has given women a huge advantage in life and not just on the fields of play.
The article announces “that increasing girls’ sports participation had a direct effect on women’s education and employment. She found that the changes set in motion by Title IX explained about 20 percent of the increase in women’s education and about 40 percent of the rise in employment for 25-to-34-year-old women.” What an incredible piece of information.
Furthermore, Dr. Stevenson’s article shows that women who play sports are more likely to enter a male-dominated field and more likely to make more money than their non-athletic female counterparts. Keep in mind, she is studying athletic participation in high school. Not college- just high school.
Clearly, sports are not everything, but they are an important piece in the puzzle in helping women on the path to equality. I want to be part of empowering young girls by aiding them along this road. I can do it through field hockey, as that’s the path I know. But really, a stick, a ball, a racket…how you get there is irrelevant. When you get beyond the technical aspects, sports are about ingraining confidence, hard work, focus, and goal setting (among a myriad of others) into young people’s personalities early. When I see these areas develop in the people I coach, it is infinitely more rewarding than watching them perfect any hockey skill.
That is why I love coaching. It goes beyond the game.