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Gah, last week was seriously nonstop. On top of visiting Cheetahparents, with whom we enjoyed spring training, Selva tastiness and Asolo Rep’s Hearts in the span of 24 hours, I’d scheduled myself into a corner with various interviews (including the Orioles’ Gold Glove-winning center fielder, Adam Jones) and ill-timed promises to send 100 individual emails for the monster of a project that is Biz941’s “Top Companies.” Plus kickball and Chillounge and UFC. Busy busy.


So, while it’s not surprising that I agreed to go to Tuesday’s Girls Inc. Celebration Luncheon and then totally forgot about it, my first instinct was to try to weasel out. Which is hard to do the morning of the event. So there I was Tuesday at noon, my mind distracted by annual revenues and fitness tips, sitting amid nearly 900 people in the Ritz ballroom.


But damned if that luncheon didn’t turn out to be totally inspiring. Girls and women sharing stories of hardship and triumph—like, 10-year-olds sharing their dreams, doing what they do. And, y’know, it must’ve been dusty or something in there, because I kept getting stuff in my eyes. (sniffle)


Seriously, when a story starts out with, “When I was seven I saw my mother overdose and have a heart attack...” I’m almost crying now. And then honoree Charli Lenger of Tropex told a great story about being in charge of the grocery shopping as a kid, and how she taught herself to account for the price of each item in her cart by taking the necessary money from one pocket and putting it in the other. (When the first pocket was empty, she either had to stop shopping or put some items back.) Funny and a perfect story to tell, really. I thought I’d made it through, but then she described how they were going to have lasagna for dinner, and she realized ricotta was expensive, so she walked around the store asking every single person if it was possible for her mom to make lasagna without ricotta and finally some woman told her she could mix cottage cheese with an egg as a replacement and oh my god I’m totally crying at my desk.


Like, ricotta makes me cry, y’all. Weep, apparently. Just when I think I’ve got myself all figured out…


This happens every year: I go to this luncheon, cry at the stories, get totally inspired and empowered while trying to ignore the pang of guilt over how much I’m not taking advantage of that inspired empowerment (empowered inspiration?). And then they bust out a quote to really stick it to me: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?”


Dammit, y’all are gonna make me get off my ass and do something, aren’t you.


I love Girls Inc. for precisely this reason, of course: the chest-pounding energy they preach, and the matter-of-fact way they treat ability and potential. Not so much ”Wow, that’s amazing!” as “Damn right; keep it up.”


But then, as the message goes, it’s up to me to make something of it. My mind scrambled around for a while during that lunch (in between crying sessions, of course), looking for things that really matter to me, things in my world that had room for improvement.


So what’s my dream? Not so surprisingly, really: That sports won’t be so gender segregated; that women’s athletics won’t be governed by separate rules that imply that women need things easier, and safer; that maybe, eventually, women’s athletic opportunities won’t be so reminiscent of “separate but equal.” And only sort of equal.


What am I gonna do about it? Start small, I guess, and address the things you see every day. I’m-a have a chat with the Harribles (Mr. is a referee; Mrs. holds a prominent place in our state women’s hockey league) and look into specifics in the USA Hockey rulebook. And then I’m going to write a letter to USA Hockey ask about the motivation behind the rules differences that separate adult women’s hockey from adult hockey. And, assuming that model is outdated, I’m going to ask what we can do to change that. We’ll see where it goes from there—heck maybe there are good reasons that these changes can’t be made. But I’ll tell you what, it feels pretty good to try.

What's your dream? What are you gonna do about it?