Ellie Bauer ’22, a field hockey goalkeeper from Denver, was teaching a young girl how to hold her stick during a recent sports clinic offered by Bates Athletics.
After a few minutes, the girl looked up at Bauer and asked, “Can we just dance?” And Bauer replied, “Of course!”’
“So we took a time-out, she danced and shook everything out, and then we went back to the sport,” recalls Bauer.
The lesson — sports can offer unexpected fun and friendship — was a good one as Bobcats from the college’s women’s teams celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day by hosting 45 schoolgirls, ages 5–14, for a free clinic in the Gray Athletic Building on Feb. 8.
Video by Aaron Morse.
Another lesson from the day: Sports help young people on the road to self-discovery.
“I really found myself through softball and athletics,” says Kirsten Pelletier ’20, a softball pitcher from Readfield, Maine. Paying it forward is what she liked most about Women in Sports Day, “providing a platform for younger girls to really find themselves through athletics.”
Seventy-six Bates students — representing Bobcat women’s teams in field hockey, softball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, rowing, track and field, cross country, skiing, swimming and diving, squash, and golf — helped to put on the clinic, now in its second year.
Clinic participants came from 25 schools throughout southern Maine and Massachusetts, and two from Portland, Ore., who were visiting a relative on the Bates coaching staff.
“It’s important to have role models,” says goalkeeper Bauer. “And for a day, we could be their role models, even if was just for eight minutes learning how to stick-stop. Those little moments can go a long way.”
Maya Seshan ’20 of Wilton, Conn., got to explain to her young charges what a rowing coxswain does. “They were funny and cute. They were like, ‘You mean you just have fun with your teammates and motivate them, get them going, and steer the boat?! Sounds like a pretty sweet gig!’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah it is!’”
The day was a valuable bonding experience among the Bates women, too.
“All of women’s athletics coming together in such a cool environment is something we don’t get to do because we’re so busy when we’re in our season,” says Pelletier. “It was really empowering.”