Graham Kelly was recently the 21st person inducted to the Medicine Hat’s Sports Wall of Fame which recognizes community leaders for outstanding success or contributions in sports. As I marveled at this tremendous accomplishment and admired his plaque on the wall, I also made a key observation: out of 21 inductees, only two are female. The late Mrs. Molly Gray was recognized for building an outdoor rink in 1930 and along with her eight children, caring for the rink for more than a decade. Laurie Sharland was acknowledged for organizing the Youth Bowling Council, establishing the Kinsmen Summer Swim Club, coordinating the Medicine Hat Tigerettes and volunteering with the Medicine Hat Stampede Queen contest. Both were inducted to the Sports Wall of Fame in 1983.

 

You’ve probably heard us quote before that girls begin to decrease their physical activity at the age of 12, until only 17% of females participate in sport at age seventeen. (Hay & Donnelly, 1996). While one of the main focuses of FAME is to identify strategies to increase participation, it occurred to me that seeing strong female role models recognized on our local Sports Wall of Fame would go a long way to inspiring young girls to stay in sport.

 

The success of our Canadian females at the recent Summer Olympics will motivate young girls to try a new sport, and encourage those already involved to strive for the next level.  But what about when physiological considerations come into play, like body insecurities, hormones and energy levels? What about social pressures, like whether it is cool to be a “jock” or not? That’s when the need for strong FEMALE coaches and mentors is important.

 

In my eyes, we have built a strong pool of successful female athletes and accomplished female coaches in our community, many worthy of nomination to the Sports Wall of Fame. Can you think of any? If so, please visit www.medicinehat.ca/walloffame and view the criteria and application process.

 

Terra Petryshyn is the Recreation Program Coordinator for the City of Medicine Hat and a member of the Females in Action Moving and Empowering Committee.  She can be reached at terpet@medicinehat.ca.