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Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

Veteran Uses Exercise to Tame His Demons

Posted by YWM on January 17, 2014

By Liz McLean: Liz is a staffing advisor at Hewlett Packard, a veteran, Ironman triathlete and guest blogger.

How does one cope with stress?  Common methods are journaling, lighting scented candles, working in the garden or perhaps ferociously shopping on Amazon.com.  More harmful methods include turning to alcohol, excessive sleep or withdrawing from society.  All that being said, when you suffer from stress as severe as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and treat it with alcoholism….in the end an outsider looking in can only hope the outcome is positive.  For Aaron Autler, a 28 year old Marine Infantry veteran, the healthiest methods to cure-all was introduced…..an intense exercise regimen to cope with the demons.  That is the journey that Aaron has started and I am here to help him finish not a 5k.…but an Ironman.

When we think of the typical homeless vet, we envision the older toothless gentlemen with a frayed beard on the street corner, dressed in military garb simply wanting a handout based on the merits of his cardboard sign.  We don’t think of a strapping young, physical specimen of a then 25 year old boy who simply couldn’t cope with reality.

When Aaron returned from his deployment overseas in 2010, there was not a welcoming team to ensure he was on the precise path to civilian populace integration.  Aaron returned to the US without a sense of belonging and without believing he truly deserved a chance to be a contributing member of society.  Fighting the medical systems to get the help that needed and deserved, Aaron’s biggest obstacle was his PTSD.  This (coupled with a faulty reintegration process) left him questioning his purpose and ultimately vet americamigrating on the streets as a homeless veteran.  My personal awareness of the homeless vet population was reinforced from my competition in the Inaugural Miss Veteran America Competition in 2012, where I represented Final Salute in the quest to remove women vets specifically from the alleyways.  Staggeringly, approximately 131,000 homeless vets line the street corners on any given night.

In the instance of Aaron, while on the streets the entity that quieted his dismal voices the most was alcohol.  Sadly alcohol became Aaron’s closest ally as he removed himself further away from the eyes of those who were capable of lending a helping hand.  Fortunately, over time those who saw his struggle eventually reached out and he was pulled from the downward spiral as a date was set for him to enter the Men’s Trauma Recovery Center in Menlo Park, CA.  Through the detox, the torment and countless hours of counseling, the once stellar athlete was then introduced to the art of cycling.  With hours of practice and the support of his trauma group, Aaron was able to not just meet, but exceed all expectations.

Now one year sober and working on his path to become a functioning member of society, Aaron is on the quest to become not just a triathlete…but an Ironman.  Having been a veteran myself who has dealt with personal traumatic struggles and competes in Ironman events, I was elated to coach Aaron on his journey.

The most recent contribution to Aaron’s success was made by Joe Santos of Davis Wheelworks in Davis, CA.  Joe selflessly santos and Autlerreconstructed Aaron’s gifted road bike into the dream triathlon bike.  Joe is a globally respected biomechanic whose precision in the art of cycling has led countless cyclist and triathlete victories.  Thanks to the help of Joe, his astute cycling knowledge and compassion, Aaron will now be able to take the next steps of traumatic recovery by putting his body to the ultimate test in an efficient way.

autler with tri bikeThe discipline of training and the adrenaline of completing a goal that less than 1% of the world’s population has completed is a triumph for any human being….but for someone like Aaron Autler the quest has an entirely new meaning.  Autler says,  “ I want to compete in Triathlons because I love to be challenged; that is why I became a Marine.  It allows me to train in multiple sports and helps occupy a lot of time by keeping my mind focused on improving myself and off the things that keep me stuck and moving backwards. It is a long and short term set of goals and I can measure the progress by competing in events and it is something I can continue to improve for the rest of life.” Cheers to athletics being civilization’s best medicine.

Posted in Friendship, Homelessness, sports, Uncategorized, Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women Veterans Speak Out: Archery Saved My Life

Posted by YWM on August 6, 2012

First appeared on Vantage Point: Dispatches from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

By Jim Theres

A crowd gathers as Babette Peyton, sitting in her wheelchair, stares down at the target 50 yards away. Holding a compound bow with her right hand, a spotter places the nock of an arrow onto the string. She squints through the sight, sets her jaw firm, grabs the string, with her teeth, to slowly draw it back…Yup, with her teeth. Her eyes stay laser-focused on the bulls-eye down range; her jaw clamped down on a small piece of leather…42 lbs. of pressure with her teeth. Just a few more moments of concentration, then release. The arrow soars toward the target coming to a sudden halt inside the yellow. Another bulls-eye.

“In fall 2010, I was living in a nursing home,” said Babette, an Army Veteran and Chicago native. “They wanted to place me into hospice care. I said, isn’t that where people go to die? They said, not necessarily, but I still didn’t want to go.”

Friends, recognizing her depression, convinced her to attend a sports clinic in Newport, Rhode Island, put on by Paralympians. She attended somewhat reluctantly. It was an Archery camp.

“I was sitting on the sidelines, when this Paralympian Kevin Stone looked over,” remembered Babette. “He said to me, ‘no one comes to my clinic and sits on the sidelines.’ He talked me into trying archery. I hit the target the first time. I said, ‘I did that.’”

Did that she did, and that was just the beginning.

“I never went into hospice,” said Babette. “I got motivated about archery and life. I got involved with the local Vet Center, Disabled and homeless Veterans, helping them to find jobs and housing. You know, Veterans helping Veterans, then letting others help us.  All you need is to be young at heart.”

After attending the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic in San Diego in September 2011, Babette set her sights on a new goal—to be a Paralympian herself.

“I enjoyed competing,” she said smiling. “I attended an archery competition in December and then entered national and international competitions every month since leading up to the Wheelchair Games here in Richmond. I’ve even placed in a few of the competitions.”

These days, if Babette isn’t helping her fellow Veterans find work or an apartment, she’ll be on an archery range in Chicago practicing her craft 4-5 times a week. She’s easy to spot too. She starts every conversation with a huge smile and ends it by saying, ‘I love you.’

“I finally realized that I’m not going out of this world,” she exclaimed. “I’m just coming in.”

An update on Babette’s participation at the National Veteran Wheelchair Games in Richmond, VA June 24-July 1.  She entered five events and won five gold medals in different sports including archery and swimming.

Jim Theres is a Public Affairs Officer at the G.V. (Sonny Montgomery) VA Medical Center.

Posted in Joining Forces for Women Veterans, sports, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Women Veterans Speak Out: Life Rules – Determination, Healthy Living and Athletics

Posted by YWM on July 3, 2012

Read the latest article in BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces feature that brings us the voices of women veterans telling their stories.

Returning guest blogger, Elizabeth McLean, an Air Force Academy graduate who has transitioned into the civilian world in search of fulfillment after serving on active duty for four and a half years tells her personal story.  Elizabeth is an avid triathlete.

I don’t sweat…I glisten. I enjoy wearing stylish and chic clothes when I workout. I care how I look in spandex when running outdoors. I still like my hair to look neat when I pull my swim cap off. I want my race photos to look cute…not scare people away. I relish in the concept of wearing fake pearl stud earrings when I run.  All of the statements above may be true, but I also am determined to attempt to keep up with any man competing…and not let my smile be misconstrued for weakness. Each of these statements makes me proud to be a woman, but not any less of a competitor. When I peel back the base layer of who I am as a person…the word “athlete” is where I locate the most pride. The truth of it is…..being an athlete is what has made me a strong female.

As a young girl, I did not cheer on my star football team boyfriend or learn about how to be a model wife in home economics. I learned how to be confident in whom I was through my athletics and intelligence.  By the time I was able to run, I was competing in local races against the rest of my community. By the time I was 9, I competed in my first half marathon in California. By the time I was 17, I had run over 25 half marathons in countries to include Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia and a cream of locations across the United States. Also by the age of 17, I had twice backpacked the John Muir Trail that was 220 miles long across the Sierra Nevada’s; carrying a 55 pound back with a race to the summit of Mt Whitney. By the time I was 28 I had run numerous marathons, competed in triathlons around the nation, backpacked the Haute trail in Switzerland and completed a full Ironman.

What these athletic endeavors taught me in my youth, were to always push myself to succeed. I learned firsthand that if I was driven enough, my gender would not get in the way of paving the path of my life.  My confidence in athletics and competition spilled over into the classroom, where I was never content with as much as an A- on my report cards. A cyclical pattern of cross-country, track and sport competition encouraged me to not ever settle in any aspect of my life. I knew that if I could control my body, I could control my mind and therefore control my future.  I did not settle in school, in love or in expectations of myself or others closest to me.

It was the fact that I would be graded on my athletic determination and disciplined abilities that convinced me to join the service and enter a military academy. I would not just be judged on my grades, but I would be judged on my ability to stay healthy and in-shape while keeping the rest of my life in order. If I could wake up at 0400 to run with a headlamp on before classes, I could surely keep myself disciplined in my academic studying and the other pillars of my life.

The path to healthy living starts with involvement in athletics. With healthy living, comes more contentment in oneself through career, love and leisure. I utilized this mantra to challenge my airmen in the service to better themselves and those around them. I would never let a member say that a female could not keep up—-if you can’t be militant in your own self-discipline, how can you be in the military at all? If I was the one leading the push-ups and yelling encouragement at the front of the unit, nobody could ever make a comment that women did not hold their place. If had a reputation for being able to push any man to his limits physically, it is not likely they would contest my abilities to lead or make decisions in the field. I can safely say I gained the respect of my airmen and leadership by first impressing them with my physical abilities.  The rest followed after the initial PT session…..

True, I may still add a little extra water proof mascara before my races so I feel more feminine, but it is not the makeup that defines me. It is the fact I am allowed to sign up for the event that makes me who I am today. Without athletics, I do not know where my motivation would have come from.  I am grateful it has been such a large part of my life  and that I was privileged to grow up in the era after enactment of Title IX that allowed my generation of women to participate in sports competition in the first place.

Posted in Joining Forces, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Military, sports, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Great Moments in Women’s Sports History -Kathrine Switzer and the Boston Marathon

Posted by sherrysaunders on June 8, 2012

As we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Title IX this month lets look at an important event in women’s sports history — In 1967, five years before passage of Title IX, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry. She had registered as K.V. Swizer, a name she often used.  When race organizer Jock Semple realized there was a woman in the race he went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon. Photographs taken of the incident made world headlines.  Katherine finished her first Boston Marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes behind the first woman to finish Bobbie Gibb.  Gibb had run unregistered.  Finally in 1972 women were allowed to officially run in the Boston Marathon.  In 1974 Kathrine was the first woman finisher with a time of 3:07:29.

Switzer has since devoted her life to creating opportunities and equal status for women in sports.  She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame  in 2011 and named Female Runner of the Decade (1967-77) by Runner’s World Magazine.  She has also received an Emmy for her work as a television commentator.

To learn more about what Kathrine Switzer is doing now visit her website and her blog.

Posted in sports, Title IX, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Couples’ Survival Guide for Football Season

Posted by joyinhome on September 13, 2010


Are you ready for some football?

It is a long-standing joke that couples fight during football season; traditionally, women complain that all men want to do is watch football and NOTHING else. I have some tips for surviving this season that, for some, comes much too soon and for others could last year-round.

1. Ladies, cherish this time- let ’em watch football! Get some alone time. Take this opportunity to do the things that you love. Bonus: you know where they are and what they’re doing.

2. Men, if your team sucks, do NOT take that bet. Okay, it’s great to be loyal to your team but you know if the squad is deficient in key areas. If you must take the bet, let it be for $20 and not the vacation fund.

3. Make it a family affair. Maybe not for every game, but cook some good food and snacks, buy some team colors and gear and watch the game at home with your kids and/or significant other. If they don’t know the game, explain it to them; start with the basics and go from there. They’ll love you for it.

4. The world does not stop for football. This may sound blasphemous to some, but let’s be real. We can not forget our responsibilities because it’s Sunday or Monday…or Saturday. When you don’t pitch in on the shared responsibilities- house cleaning, running errands, child care, grocery shopping- it creates frustration and tension.

5. Do nice things for your mate. If you know that many of your hours are going to be spent in front of the TV, at the stadium or at the sports bar, make sure you still spend quality time.

6. Don’t pick a fight because the game is coming on. You knew they loved football when you first met. Besides, it will make them resent you and you will seem petty when the game isn’t the true issue. It’s only football for goodness sake…

7. Tap into their passion for the game. I won’t go into detail, but use your imagination and be creative.

8. Join in the fun. Just because it may not be your favorite passtime, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. Watch a few games- try it, you might like it. (Tip: you don’t have to sit thru the entire game, especially the halftime report. You can move in and out and still have fun.)

9. Host a football party. Invite some of your friends too, this way it is a shared time but you can have your own fun.

10. It’ll all be over soon enough. There are far worse obsessions than football. Many men and women love it and it is harmless fun (most of the time).

Posted in Families, sports | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on August 20, 2010

A break through for GOP: more women running [Time]

 19th Amendment: how far have women come since 1920? [Christian Science Monitor]

As workers choose to stay on the job longer who benefits, who pays? [Denver Post]

 Caregivers fight employers on discrimination [HBR]

Norfolk Navy base gets first female commander [Hampton Roads]

Most highly paid women athletes [Forbes]

Kathleen Rogers, Earth Day Network President: women and climate change [Your Daily Journal]

Without the vote of women, these laws might not exist [LubbockOnline]

US Chamber says women to blame for pay gap.  We need to choose right job and right partner [Think Progress]

New white collar job juggle [Wall Street Journal]

Examining work schedules, gender and marital quality [ScienceBlog]

Watching the gender wage gap [HBR]

What women want is important [Cascade Business News]

The female factor: Counting the cost of machismo [New York Times]

Yes you can get fired after taking maternity leave [Slate.Com]

Newsweek ranking the countries of the world [Newsweek]

Working mothers, forget time off [Salon]

Federal job funding opens doors for single mothers [Womens E-News]

Editorial: Maternity leave ruling shows how little childrearing matters to society [Boston Globe]

For every woman challenger running for a seat in the WI Legislature, six men are running [jsonline]

Why shouldn’t women shape the political agenda?  Interview with new executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy, at Chatham University [Post Gazette]

 Social media a new tool for work life balance? [AFL-CIO Blog]

Harris Poll: Most Americans agree that US has long way to go to achieve gender equality [KXVO]

Unmarried women hurt more by recession – make up 63 percent of unemployed women [Infozine]

Working women redefine success [MSNBC]

Why girly jobs don’t pay well [New York Times]

Posted in Economy, Environment, Families, Feminism, Link Love, mature workers, Pay Equity, sports, Uncategorized, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on August 13, 2010

Women’s sports need more TV attention [Washington Post]

Annie Oakley would be 150 [Smithsonian]

Cathy Guisewite to end working woman “Cathy” comic strip [AllVoices]

 Social media a new tool for work life balance? [AFL-CIO]

Cracking the business casual code [Forbes]  

Maternity leave quandary [Boston.Com]

The flexibility stigma [Huffington Post]

Auto IRAs can shore up retirement security [Washington Times]

MA court says only 8 weeks of maternity leave [Boston Herald]

Corporate Voices for Working Families and Working Mother Media announce best of Congress 2010 [Corporate Voices]

Do kids kill a career? [Huffington Post]

Work Life policy debate [WorkLifeNation]

Some law firms accommodating work life balance [USA Today]

How women can get ahead [CIO]

 Gender discrimination in the workplace hurts [Live Science]

Feminists at fault? Thoughtful essay [Economix NYTimes]

First woman to head major US intelligence organization [Huffington Post]]

America’s parent trap [Washington Post]

Separate but equal schools based on gender? [Washington Post]

Social Security: don’t fear the boomers [OurFuture]

Women are paid less but more likely to be rehired first [Courier Post]

Are there jobs women are too attractive for? [Science Daily]

 How will the recession impact women [OCRegister

Unmarried women, economic well being and the great depression [Amercian Progress]

Posted in Career Advancement, Economy, Education, Families, Feminism, Financial Security, Link Love, Pay Equity, sports, Worklife Balance | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

News to Chew On: Link Love for Lunch

Posted by sherrysaunders on July 2, 2010

Closing the venture capital gender gap [Business Week]

Fact and fiction about Kagan [Media Matters]

Why friends matter at work and in life [Harvard Business Review Blog]

PEW study: Globally gender equality embraced but inequities acknowledged [New York Times]

How we fail our women vets  [Time]

How women changed the Supreme Court and didn’t [NPR]

Polls and public ignorance.  Should not be surprising [NY Times Blog]

Family leave policies: moving towards fairness by including LGBT [InTheseTimes]

Woman CEO explains why companies should hire women for companies own success [Forbes]

NY’s new nanny legislation causing problems with working parents [Wall Street Journal]

Is flexibility a casualty of the recession? [Wall Street Journal]

Diversity programs benefit companies and employees [BostonGlobe]

Labor organizations seeking to provide protections under the law for wider range of employees [Scottrade]

Clothes that fit the workplace [Appeal Democrat]

First women to be inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame [New York Times]

Posted in Diversity, Feminism, Financial Security, Friendship, LGBT Rights, Link Love, sports | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Happy Anniversary Title IX!

Posted by egehl on June 28, 2010

Since I was 10, I have loved playing tennis.  I was hooked at my first lesson and had the opportunity to play competitively for both my highschool and college teams.   I never questioned whether I could play sports at school or whether the women’s tennis team would be treated equally as the men’s tennis team.  That’s because of a law passed 38 years ago.

Like many women of my generation that grew up playing sports we have Title IX to thank for the equality we have been able to enjoy on and off the sports field.  Last week was the 38th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which is the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in all federally funded educational programs and activities.  It has been credited for the dramatic increase in the participation of women and girls in athletics programs, and overall equity in educational programs as well.

Title IX was passed to ensure women and girls were not excluded from any educational program by banning sex discrimination.  This landmark civil rights legislation has broken down gender barriers in education and athletics in monumental ways.

Before Title IX’s passage, fewer than 300,000 high school girls played competitive sports and now over 3 million do.  I certainly took for granted that I was born after 1971 and never had to think twice about whether I could play tennis.  Like many women, engaging in sports was a very positive experience for me as it helped me stay physically fit, taught me how to act under pressure and ways to build successful teams.

Women playing sports can be especially important during highschool.  We know that high school girls who are involved in sports are less likely to experience an unintended pregnancy and are more likely to have a positive body image compared with girls who aren’t athletes. One study found that women who played sports growing up had a lower obesity rate even 20 to 25 years later in life.

Most people who know about Title IX think it applies only to sports, but athletics is only one of 10 key areas addressed by the law. These areas are: Access to Higher Education, Career Education, Education for Pregnant and Parenting Students, Employment, Learning Environment, Math and Science, Sexual Harassment, Standardized Testing and Technology.

An important impact of Title IX is the vital role it’s played in increasing gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education by improving the climate for women in those fields.  Women continue to struggle with advancing in these fields because of a variety of environmental and societal barriers.  I can’t imagine where women would be in STEM fields without Title IX.

There have been attempts to weaken Title IX, which have thankfully been rolled back.  In April, the Department of Education issued new Title IX athletics guidance that rescinded the deeply flawed 2005 “Additional Clarification of Intercollegiate Athletics Policy: Three-Part Test – Part Three.”   This allowed schools to be able to use non-responses to an e-mail survey to demonstrate a lack of interest in athletics and use that as basis to justify cuts to women’s programs.

Every school or school district that receives federal funding (which includes almost all colleges and universities, as well as public elementary, middle and secondary schools) is required to designate and adequately train at least one employee to coordinate the recipient’s Title IX responsibilities.  However unfortunately thousands of schools across the country are still not in compliance with the law.  For more information about Title IX regulations visit titleix.info.

While Title IX has made great strides for women and girls over the past four decades, there is still room for improvement.  We must protect Title IX and ensure that future generations of women and girls can benefit from it like I did.

Posted in sports, Title IX, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Title IX More Than Fun and Fairness

Posted by sherrysaunders on June 25, 2010

Title IXThere have been lots of statements and tributes on the 38 year anniversary yesterday of Title IX, legislation that broke down barriers for women and girls in sports and education.  Since then, young women have flocked to the fields and courts to hone their athletic abilities, have fun and improve their health.  But the importance of Title IX is more than fun and fairness.  Important new research by Wharton business and public policy professor Betsey Stevenson offers empirical evidence that playing sports leads to more education and better employment opportunities.

The paper titled, “Beyond the Classroom: Using Title IX to Measure the Return to High School Sports,”  compares the variation in outcomes across states for girls who went to school before Title IX and after, and concludes that playing sports paid off. Looks like denying young women the right to play sports actually hurt their employment and financial futures.

So let’s give a cheer for all of those, including BPW members  and Representative Patsy Mink, who worked tirelessly for passage those many years ago.  But in particular I would like to give a call out to former Senator Birch Bayh of Indiana, without whom, women would still be sitting in the stands.  Attention to his role and efforts have been missing in all of the hoopla and coverage of this anniversary.  So thank you Birch Bayh!!!

Senator Birch Bayh

Posted in Advocacy, BPW, Career Advancement, Education, girls, sports, Title IX | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »