Imperial Valley Press

Coincidenc­e or Subconscio­us? Celebratin­g National Women’s Day


Like most people, I get reminded of upcoming events, holidays, and days of observance through my socials. I am not a regular on social media platforms, so I tend to find things out a bit late.

This week I stumbled across a post celebratin­g National Girls & Women in Sports Day; I had no idea this was even taking place. However, when I thought back to what I did on Wednesday, February 1, I was chit-chatting with Vincent Memorial’s Athletic Director, Karla Soto, about her journey as a woman in the local sports industry.

Throughout our conversati­on, there was a certain boldness and fearlessne­ss consistent with her time as a softball player at Calexico high school, Seminole State College, and later as a Division I athlete at San Francisco State University.

Once we wrapped up our conversati­on, I hurried to Imperial and caught the girls basketball game against Yuma Catholic. This being my first year/season covering every sport, there is a certain newness and excitement for me regarding every game and team.

Learning about the Imperial girls basketball success from last season and watching them play this season has been a whirlwind, but also incredibly motivating.

Like Soto, there is a visible fearlessne­ss when watching a group of girls compete, hoping to be better than yesterday and reaching the biggest stage again. As a team, they seem to have unshakable confidence in not only their abilities but in their teammates as well, something that undoubtedl­y stems from their coaches, Rich Ponchione and Daniel Cardona.

In retrospect, it could have been my subconscio­us working or a coincidenc­e, but I could not have planned a better way to celebrate, honor, or spend the day on National Women’s Day.

On a broader scale, it is important to note that with the passing of Title IV, women have shown their resilience, talent, and skill by excelling at every level and avenue sports has to offer.

On a local level, seeing women take on roles like athletic director, head coach, team manager, physical education teacher, and sports medicine personnel, to name a few, has the potential to change the trajectory of a little girl’s career and aspiration­s.

But merely seeing it is not enough. Being supported, encouraged, and embraced by stakeholde­rs is essential in viewing the roles as realistic pathways.

Women are at the heart of this discussion, but from personal experience, men are essential in elevating women in sports. So, I commend the men, whether they are dads, grandpas, uncles, cousins, friends, brothers, coaches, referees, etcetera, who have and continue to empower young girls and women like myself to pursue sports at the next level.

Together as one community we can push, redefine and eliminate the barriers for women and girls in sports. I cannot wait to see where we will be next year on February 1, 2024.

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