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Sports participation has been consistently shown to support all aspects of academic achievement

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

Crush softball team in the dugout

When my daughters were young, we put them into sports programs in the neighborhood. I remember the few opportunities I had as a kid were some of the most vivid memories of my childhood and I wanted my girls to have some of those too. I saw sports as three things, a way for my children to make friends, a way for them to build self-confidence and a way for me to build a community of families and friends that I knew I could trust with my child, after all, who doesn’t need a trip to the mall without their kids sometimes.

I have been a member of the Bensenville Boys and Girls Athletic Association for probably fifteen years. In the not too distant past, we have had 2 teams of girls at every level of softball. I thought it was so awesome, when I would take pictures for our Facebook page and be able to show those happy little girl faces. I’ve included one from our photo gallery.

Unfortunately, I have watched as less and less girls come out to play the sport. I can’t help but take some responsibility for that because, maybe, we don’t get the message out well enough. Then I thought, maybe, in this virtual, social media world, with so much pulling at us to get our attention, we haven’t shown the value of softball, and sports in general, to parents. So, here is the first in a multi-part series on girls and sports.

According to Keeping Girls in the Game, a research study by the Woman’s Sports Foundation, girls who participate in sports show higher academic achievement including “positive academic self-concepts, a positive attitude towards schoolwork, improved academic performance and higher grades, and higher educational aspirations and attainment.”

I cannot speak for all the girls who played sports with my daughters, but I can tell you this, my girls, Emma and Claira, were always on the honor roll, and I had nothing to do with it. They took responsibility to study and do their homework. They wanted to succeed in school. My youngest daughter Claira was in the National Honor Society and actually wore her Fenton softball uniform to her NHS exit ceremony as a senior. She went straight from her softball game to the ceremony and even chose her Fenton coach as her mentor and rose giver.

My daughter Emma was on the Fenton cheer team. She proudly announced that her cheer team had the highest GPA average of all sport teams at Fenton that year. (By the way, cheerleading is a tough and demanding sport.) It was not unusual for girls on her team to study on the bleachers as they waited for the basketball game to start.

When I went to both of my girl’s honor roll events, I saw the other girls from her team there and remember asking myself, is it because they are in sports or because they are a team that makes them all so accomplished?

Sports can be part of a parent’s strategy for academic success. So, if you are interested in getting your daughter into a sport, here are some local programs available.

Softball: My shameless plug is to join the BBAA softball program. We offer levels from 8U through 14U. Go to to register your daughter for softball this Spring. No experience required.

Wrestling: Wrestling is going on now and there is one girl already in the program. Contact Giana to learn more.

Cheerleading: Cheerleading registration is going on now. Practices start later this summer. Go to to learn more.

Volleyball: Addison offers a great girls program for volleyball for 2nd through 8th grade.

Flag Football: Girls can play Fall flag football in the Raiders program. Practices start later this summer.

Basketball: The Bensenville park district offers winter basketball for girls. The program is already going on, but you can register in the fall for winter.

Swimming: There is a swim team in Bensenville called the Wahoos that practice at the Water’s Edge (connected to the Edge ice arena). Call the Edge to find out a little more about the swim team, 630-766-8888.

Tennis: Courts Plus in Elmhurst offers a junior pathway program to learn the game.

Golf: The Bensenville park district offers summer golf lessons and camps at White Pines. Contact the Bensenville park district for more information.

Get girls in the game!

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