Being a shy not overly brave girl as a child I found that in playing baseball with my neighborhood friends I could hit a ball with a bat and it would go far.  This brought a certain amount of prowess to my participation and I gained confidence.

Growing up in the 60’s, children were not placed in organized sport very early but gradually I learned to swim and by the age of ten joined the summer swim team and found out I could win some races. I had parents that could get me to the pool and I could meet friends and learn what it was like to compete.  I experienced the excitement of an upcoming swim meet, overcome the fear of “what’s going to happen” when I dove into the water and then found encouragement from team members, coaches and family.  More confidence gained. We did not win all our meets and I did not win all my races but I had support and stuck with it.

I can thank my parents for giving me the opportunities, especially my Mom. She was a PE teacher after WWII.  Girls and young women loved sports but did not have the opportunities to compete like the boys.  They had  “play dates”. But

Mom knew the value of playing and learning through sport.  She also got out of my way and encouraged and did not dictate. I owned my love of sport. I knew I loved it.

In high school and college I had the opportunity to play tennis, basketball and field hockey. Sport gave me friends and the joy of being a participant.  I was never a star but I learned what it took to give my all to a team and that the team was more important than myself.  I learned to give.

I loved what sports did for me in my life so much that I dedicated my career to teaching Physical Education.  My happiest years other than those raising my two children have been teaching elementary school PE.  The participation of teaching children skills in movement and sport was a joyful experience for me.  Joy and smiles in the activity was always evident when children experienced success. That is the key.

Success is not all about being the winner.  It is about being able to accomplish a skill successfully.  Sometimes things are modified to help with the process. When worked on in an encouraging setting the joy exudes.

I was never great but there were great moments and participation in sport changed my life.  I am in my 60’s now and still active in outdoor pursuits on a bike, in a kayak, on a tennis court, in a sailboat on a hike or in a workout room. It is a joy to move.  If you love it keep it up. It will change your life.

By Barbara Bucklin
Board Member