Sunday, February 7, 2016

Don't Underestimate the Power of Small

This post is sponsored by Socialstars and Tide, however all opinions are my own. #SmallButPowerful

I used to look at my youngest daughter and instantly think of her as this fragile tiny thing. When she initially was delivered my wife and I wondered where the rest of her was. The other kids had been much bigger than her, born around the same length and birth weight as my wife and I as babies. Of our three kids, she was easily the smallest by two pounds but made it clear quickly that her size was not to be underestimated.

Soon, she was zooming around and seemed to skip crawling altogether. She was motivated to keep up with her older brother and sister and proceeded to learn how to walk at a very young nine months. Coincidentally, this was the same part of her life that she first visited the emergency room for a gash on her forehead as she was trying to navigate our slate steps in our kitchen. She hasn't slowed down since then constantly amazing her mother and I at her agility and coordination.

When it came time to find an activity that was suited to her interests, we tried many things like gymnastics, running, and swimming. There is nothing she hasn't been able to do. We entered her into a kids running series and she blew away the competition. In swimming, she has jumped a level every month surpassing her older sister by a least one level.  But by far the thing she has excelled at has been karate.

There is nothing like watching your baby girl spar in karate. Sometimes I just sit and watch in amazement as I think about how she used to hold the baby spoon with those same fingers that are wielding the nunchuks. There's a sense of pride that wallows up in me as I watch her tiny fists of fury defending her position. To think those little toes I used to marvel at while she slept, are not countering against her would be attacker. My daughter is #SmallButPowerful.

I don't think of sports in terms of girl's sports or boys. As a former high school girls basketball coach I can tell you that the biggest obstacle for girls today is someone telling them they can't do something. I used to tell my players that the game of basketball is the same whether you are a boy or girl. The fundamentals are the same. The courts are the same. You change the game, it shouldn't change you.

People see me at 6'6" and instantly think "Do you play basketball?" I usually respond with "Do you play miniature golf?" just to elicit a chuckle. There's an expectation there that size has everything to do with talent. That's not the case with Tide Pods when it comes to laundry as the #SmallButPowerful pods are incredibly efficient at cleaning. That's not the case with people either. Size isn't what defines you, it's your will to win that does.

There have been many athletes who have played the game regardless of stature. Take for example, Becky Hammon who at 5'6" is a full foot shorter than me. Becky Hammon is #SmallButPowerful.  In 1999, she was an undrafted rookie point guard from Colorado State simply trying to earn a roster spot with the New York Liberty. Through hard work and determination she became a six time WNBA All Star and lead her team to three WNBA finals appearances.

According to an interview on ESPN Hammon was quoted saying "The fans have always embraced me, even when I was the last person on the bench," she said. "I had to fight and scrap for every little bit of playing time that I got and I would not do it any other way. I like being able to say that I worked for my career and worked for my success. Nobody handed me anything."

It's this drive to be the best is what I try and instill in my own daughters. Labels shouldn't define you. Hammon's career was a huge success in the WNBA but after suffering from an injury in 2013 she didn't give up on basketball. In fact, she became involved with the San Antonio Spurs and Gregg Popovich noticed. He didn't see a female basketball player. He only saw her as a prospective coach and hired her as the first female assistant coach in the NBA.

She didn't let labels and height hold her back from being successful. Hammon's journey as an athlete and now coach defines her as someone that is small but powerful. She has had in impact on sports that will hopefully change viewpoints and pave the way for gender biases to be broken down.

It's not enough to be the first. It's about earning respect every single day. Steve Nash knows what it takes. #SmallButPowerful Tide #ad
Posted by Official Becky Hammon on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hammon told ESPN "Just because something's never been done doesn't mean it can't be done. And there's a big difference there. So I don't see why not -- if it's not me or someone else. The point is, 'Do you know basketball? Do you know what it takes to lead people?' And leadership really has no gender. What works with men works with women."

I'm hoping that my daughters follow in Becky Hammon's footsteps. Size is not what defines you. It's what you do with that size that really matters. I never underestimate someone based on their size for things that are small are often the most powerful things of all.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like your daughter is tough and athletic despite her size. Good for her!