Growing Up A Tomboy: How Playing Sports Taught Me To Be Strong In The Workplace

by Kayla Jardine

I grew up in a small town in a neighborhood full of boys. Every single day after school, we would all meet in the center of our houses and play sports until the sun went down. Our favorite was kickball.

I can’t remember a single day when they went easier on me just because I was a girl. Typically, I would be the only girl playing, which only made me want to prove that I could keep up.

Whenever I had the chance, I was practicing how to throw a football or working on my three-point shot. I would come home every single night with scrapes and bruises and I was never happier.

I got to be one of the guys and I got to tackle and punch and scream just like one of the guys; it was a ton of fun. I never had to worry about being ladylike or maintaining my manners. The game was all that mattered.

I truly believe my childhood shaped who I am today. When I look back on those late nights outside, I am so thankful for everything I learned. I’m not afraid to be competitive; I’ve never been afraid to take charge and get sh*t done when it came down to it.

On that cul-de-sac, I was the underdog. I was younger than most of the guys and not nearly as physically gifted. I had every reason to feel inferior and every reason to quit playing, but I never did.

Of course, there were times when I got hurt and went home crying, but I always came back ready to prove myself. It was a great atmosphere to place myself in and I feel so fortunate to have grown up with those people.

A lot can be said about men in the workplace. At the same time, a lot can be said about women in the workplace, too.

The important takeaway is that we have the ability to motivate each other and begin to push new bounds for the meaning of success.

Those late nights playing kickball pushed me to be the best I could be because of the people with whom I surrounded myself.

The guys never told me to quit playing the game because I was a girl. I kept up and they knew I had earned the right to play. The same can be said about the working world.

Women really are making huge strides in the working world. My mother was a stay at home mom and she did a phenomenal job.

It was customary at that time for women to quit whatever job they previously held to stay home to raise their children.

At this point, I don't anticipate feeling any pressure about having to choose between my family and my job in the future. The culture we are creating promotes powerful women.

With tons of campaigns based on this very ideal, like as Always’ #LikeAGirl and Pantene’s #ShineStrong, we’re altering our culture as we know it.

Ads are a huge part of our culture, and to see ads promoting women in the workforce and women who feel empowered is inspiring. Hopefully, these initiatives will have a huge positive impact on the younger generation.

Women have proved that we deserve a place in the working world, and I’m so happy to see that we’re finally getting a chance to kick the ball.