Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friday Night Rocks

When I signed up for "ninja class," which meets at a local rock gym on Friday nights, I knew it would require a huge social sacrifice. Wild parties, late nights, and velvet-rope soirees would have to be put on hold, while I learned how to cling to walls and scale makeshift caves. Okay, so that's a slight exaggeration. The only sacrifice I really made involved my favorite Friday evening indulgence of spending time on the couch, belly full of Thai fresh rolls, eyes fluttering shut with exhaustion by 10 p.m. In other words, I'm a bit of recluse (some say "dork") on the weekends, and the rock gym would surely be more rocking than any other plans to which I might otherwise commit.

Turns out, the rock gym on a Friday night is a damn cool place to be, complete with loud music, hipsters adorned with tattoos and sporting faux-hawks, and- the ultimate barometer of cool- teenagers. Yup, the kind that might otherwise be at a mall or the movies or god knows where on a Friday night.

I had to smile when I saw two teenage girls helping each other climb a difficult route, while I imagine their peers were likely helping one another pick out micro minis at Forever 21 or uploading photos to their MySpace pages. It wasn't the first time that I thought Thank god, girls have sports, but it was the first time in a while. It made me recall countless moments from my youth during which my confidence, happiness, joy, and drive were stoked by athletic endeavors.

And, believe it or not, it made me recall a compelling ad that Nike released in the mid 90s, right around the time that sports were acting as my own internal compass, keeping the requisite adolescent angst in check and channeling my energy down a navigable path toward being the person I am now. Check out the video, which highlights some of the reasons why it's important for girls to have the opportunity to play sports.

Never underestimate the power of PLAY.

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