Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
We’ve all heard this and we all probably have different thoughts on the truth behind the words. As an athlete, father of three children and CEO of Sting Soccer I’ve heard and seen first-hand what name calling
and labeling can do. It may occur in the heat of the moment, to get a teammate psyched-up, or wanting to rattle an opponent. It may also be a way to just categorize someone and move on – – not spending the time and effort necessary to better understand the individual and his/her motivations.
Fact is, calling someone out or labeling someone has, and will always exist. And it will always exist on and off the field.
Some will say it builds intestinal fortitude. Others say it is unnecessary and in some instances, cowardly.
Earlier this year, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, grabbed headlines with her ‘Ban Boss’ Campaign. According to Sandberg: When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead.
The campaign generated positive interest and – as often happens when national attention is given to a particular topic – its share of detractors.
Last night, the CBS affiliate in Dallas – KTVT-TV – aired a story on being bossy and interviewed two of our Sting soccer players, Kate Haydo and Julie James of our Sting ECNL ’97 Team, and myself. The segment talked about how boys are typically praised for being assertive, but girls – in the same situation – are called bossy.
One of the main reasons I got involved with Sting is because I wanted young girls to understand that you must believe in, and love yourself; that it is okay to be strong and reliant on yourself without having to rely on men or anyone else. As the father of two daughters (and a son) it was important that my daughters’ embrace that they can do anything they want to, if they set their mind to it.
At Sting, we believe in “The Education of Life through Soccer” and teach our girls the importance of Pride, Tradition, Character, Commitment and Leadership. These attributes can be seen on and off the field.
Our girls have a rigorous schedule on and off the field – – whether it is practicing two to three times a week, traveling to games throughout the country, keeping up their grades and participating in community service – – that is netting real results. This year alone our young women have received – in many instances – full ride scholarships to colleges such as Kentucky, A&M, UT, Notre Dame and many others.
We don’t have time for name calling or labels. Honestly, we really don’t put much thought to it. I’m very proud and humbled to say our girls do the right thing on and off the field and have the confidence and self-awareness within themselves to embrace and love who they are – – we know we cannot control what others say or do toward us.
The only labels and name calling we concern ourselves with is: Having Pride in ourselves; Honoring our Tradition; Building Character; Showing Commitment and Creating Leadership.
Anything else is Sticks and Stones…
We enjoyed the interview. If you are so inclined, please watch the segment and like, comment and share it.