Girls sports leads to success in lifeAt the end of March, the 1994-95 Superior Senior High School Girls Basketball team was inducted into the Superior Sports Hall of Fame along with many other successful athletes and community members.
By: Bethany Koehler Franz, Superior Telegram
At the end of March, the 1994-95 Superior Senior High School Girls Basketball team was inducted into the Superior Sports Hall of Fame along with many other successful athletes and community members.
A lot of praise was showered on us by the other inductees, the committee and our coaches, but as a member of that very special team, two defining features of our accomplishments are important to share with our community: How we achieved such an impossible feat and who we have become.
Superior is a town with a strong legacy in athletics; however, it had lacked consistent representation by half of the school’s student body. In more than 20 years after Title IV, this team in 1995 was the first of any girl’s teams from the high school to represent the school and the community at the state level. The reason this was even possible was that we, the 15 women, were raised in families where we were told we could, should, and sometimes must play sports.
Competition and winning was not solely reserved for our brothers. We were coached, critiqued and supported by our mothers, fathers, siblings and grandmothers who were all athletes themselves. They all saw the benefits for us girls to play sports ranging from exercise, competitiveness, to greater self-worth, and for the pure love of the game.
Our families made it all possible by creating an environment where there was pride in being a female athlete. And this was no small feat.
We were then handed off to coaches who saw our potential and demanded excellence and hard work. Their time and devotion to the game and our team produced a group of young women capable of surpassing expectations set for us that season. We accomplished a feat, together as a team, that no other girls team, regardless of sport, had ever done before in the school’s history.
We surpassed many expectations even around the state in 1995 when we arrived at the state tournament with a record of 13-7. The work of our parents, our coaches, and even our teachers, created the environment for our success. We want to ensure that those supporters hear our appreciation.
When the games end, athletes must walk away from the court and live their lives. The successful lives of these 15 women must be mentioned to show the link between girls’ sports and future success. Social scientists have studied this effect for years showing the link between girls participation in sports with higher achievement on test scores, greater self-esteem, increased education and wages, and stronger community involvement. Superior Senior High School’s ’94-95 girls basketball team is representative of the studies.
We graduated from high school and college, earned graduate degrees, created successful careers, raised families, traveled the world and supported our communities. We are educators, managers, engineers, system analysts, mothers, nurses, referees, coaches, mentors, volunteers and teachers. Our families and the Superior community created a team that continues to be positive examples not only in Superior, but in many communities where we live in America and even abroad.
As a member of this team, I want to applaud each and every one of my teammates for who they have become off the court and thank them for the positive examples they provide the community.
This March the community of Superior saw another excellent girls basketball team compete at the state level. My belief in the research and the example the ‘94-95 team provided makes me wait in joyful anticipation to see what these young women will do in their lives ahead. I hope they inspire and reinforce the importance of girls sports in Superior. And I believe they will represent our school and community as well as the ’94-95 team has.
Bethany Koehler Franz was a freshman guard on the ’94-95 SSHS Girls Basketball State team. She is a history teacher at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.