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From court to heart: What women’s sports can teach in leadership

The amazing young women in women’s sports are having a highly successful season, but there’s lessons to be learned from their joy.

Caitlin Clark, a white woman with brown hair wearing an Iowa State jersey, spins a basketball. On the left, Angel Reese, a delighted Black woman in a Lousiana State jersey, grins after a recent victory in women's sports.

This year has been a year like no other in women’s college sports, especially for basketball and softball. 

The women’s basketball final was the most-watched women’s college basketball game to date. Networks made decisions to show games in a manner that encouraged viewership, but much of this interest was driven by an interest in players such as Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark.

These young women play with passion and precision. They are using their platforms to develop brands and drive interest in the game they love. Their approaches are different, and their approaches reflect who they are. 

This year’s women’s college world series is already seeing increased viewership. The University of Oklahoma team has received criticism related to their exuberance. The team’s coach has unapologetically stated this team plays with joy. They celebrate everything. 

One thing I have noticed watching these young women play is that they celebrate. They make themselves big, take up space, and do not apologize for bringing their whole selves to the games they play. 

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The University of Oklahoma Women's Basketball team cheering and shouting wildly together after a big win.

There is a lesson here. Bringing our whole selves to situations expands what we are capable of doing. It also provides space for others to bring their whole selves.

Celebrating the small successes creates the momentum to achieve the big goals. The small successes serve as a reminder that progress is being made. 

These young women serve as a reminder and an example that passion and persistence are critical parts of goal achievement and have the potential to make positive impacts far beyond the stated goal.

Kaelin Peterson has a B.A. in Political Science, an MBA, and is currently pursuing an EdD in Performance Improvement Leadership. She currently works as faculty for a non-traditional university focusing on traditionally underserved student populations while also volunteering with a focus on leadership development, values-based leadership, and change management. When not working or doing school work, Kaelin enjoys discovering new foods, quiet spaces, and spending time with her husband and dog.


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