Poly Hosts Tribute for National Girls and Women in Sports Day


Sergio Abboud, Contributing Writer

National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) has been celebrated for over 40 years nationwide. Beginning to incorporate this tradition into our community, Poly had its first NGWSD celebration this year. The celebration consisted of fun activities during the day for the Middle School students. As for the Upper School, female athletes were recognized for their hard work and determination with a cake in Commons, and t-shirts to remember this historic day. There was also a Girls’ Varsity Basketball game with exciting half-time games from the Girls’ Lacrosse and Softball teams. Since it is the first time this day has truly been celebrated here at Poly, many asked themselves, why now?

The leaders behind this day were Coach Bill McNally and Coach Kym Carter. In order to draw more positive attention to girls’ sports, McNally and Carter decided to bring in female athletes from Poly’s varsity teams to speak to the middle schoolers in their P.E. classes. Carter said the reasoning behind this was so that the girls in the audience could not only “listen to the athletes’ story, but see it as their own story.” The main message that they were trying to communicate to the middle schoolers was that “anyone, regardless of gender can do whatever they can in their sport and out of it,” said Carter. Carter was attempting to shine a light on how the issue of sexism in sports applies in serious ways to athletes’ lives outside of their sport.

Looking forward, Carter added that the aim is to include more events like “Friday Night Spikes” (a community event that drew fans and families to Poly this past fall to watch the Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Team), since earlier she felt the school “wasn’t working hard enough to highlight female sports.” Carter hopes that these events will inspire all of the Middle and Upper schoolers at Poly and make them feel like “they can do anything, inside and outside their sports.”

Carter joined us this year as the new Athletic Director. Carter was a five-time college All-American at Louisiana State University, won two NCAA team titles, and six conference championships. Carter finished 11th in the 1992 Olympics in Spain and sixth place in the 1993 World Outdoor Championships in Germany. Carter ended that season ranked #1 in the U.S. and #8 in the world in the heptathlon. Female athletes even as qualified as Carter can face gender-based discrimination in athletics, which is part of why it’s so important to celebrate NGWSD, and ensure female athletes get the credit they deserve. When asked about the degradation she faced from men in sports as a woman, she said that she was not often discredited, but the comparison to men always came up. 

“This comparison is invalid and that this day is meant to remind the girls here at Poly that no one can discredit them for the hard work they accomplished,” said Carter.

Freshman and Varsity Volleyball athlete Emma Arden stated that this celebration was really “important to her” as it made her feel “appreciated as a female athlete in the Poly community.”