Southern Oregon University’s women’s soccer and volleyball teams were honored in “Play Like a Girl” this past Saturday night during the halftime of the SOU women’s basketball game against Eastern Oregon at Ashland High School.
During the halftime, both teams made their way to the center of the court where select few athletes of each sport were recognized for their outstanding achievements during their season. Concluding their recognition, these athletes threw shirts into the crowd.
The sayings “play like a girl”, “throw like a girl”, and “hit like a girl” have historically had negative associations about women. “Play Like a Girl is a step in helping to raise awareness of the negative associations attached to the sayings”, said SOU Athletic Director, Matt Sayre.
“This event was President Saigo’s idea for honoring the women’s athletic programs here at SOU”, said Sayre. “He wanted to recognize how hard they play, and how tenacious they are.” According to Sayre, the women’s basketball team caught President Saigo’s attention with how well they played against Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) and he wanted to invite more women from the community to witness how great the SOU women’s programs are.
In an interview with SOU Assistant Women’s Basketball coach, Natasha Smith, she described the “Play Like a Girl” event as revolutionary. “A long time ago, women would not be getting this type of atmosphere, seeing this many people here, and girls playing this style of basketball. So it was good for our team to represent this.”
“When I hear the phrase “play like a girl” it means play strong because the strongest people that I know in my life are women”, said Smith. “The saying ‘play like a girl’ is fine because when we girls hear that we want to prove them wrong and work harder to achieve that.”
Senior, Carly Meister expressed that it is very impactful to honor women in sports with this event. “Seeing all the little girls who came to the game and knowing that we’ve helped them with basketball is a great feeling. When we were little we had people who we looked up to and now we get to be the people who they look up to”, said Meister. “Play like a girl means that girls can be just as tough as guys because we play just as hard”.