As I’m rounding up my first year with SWSG, I can’t help but think about some of the incredible relationships I’ve developed with other mentors. We experienced successes and struggles together at our individual mentor sites, and this is the basis for any great relationship.  Most importantly, SWSG gave me an entirely new sense of awe for my roommate and fellow mentor, Maddie. “Mads,” as I like to call her, encouraged me to join SWSG with her this year, and I could not be more grateful. Furthermore, living with Mads constantly inspires me to become more of a Strong Woman.  You see, this year Maddie joined the Pittsburgh Passion, our city’s professional full-contact women’s football team. I must say, seeing Maddie and her teammates dressed in football pads, charging down the field is both shocking and empowering.  When I was younger, my father coached our high school football team and I always wished I had a brother with whom he could share this love.  Why?  Because I, until recently, classified football as a “man’s game.” And I doubt I am the only person to ever do so.
One of Maddie’s favorite moments this year occurred right after she told her girls about playing on the Passion’s Offensive line.  The mentees were amazed to know a woman playing football.  This sense of awe is what I love most about SWSG.  I am excited to show young girls that they should not consider their lives limited by social factors.  Millions of opportunities are available to women in the modern world, and raising awareness for these options is crucial.   The Passion women do so much more than simply break gender stereotypes; they actively show the world that women are capable of chasing their dreams—especially if gender is the limitation that would normally hold them back.  Watching women play football is sensational because it is out of the ordinary. Last night, Maddie and I ate dinner while one of her games replayed on ESPN 3 in the background. On any given day, a young girl can turn on her TV and feel inspired by what the Passion is doing. I think it’s awesome!  I found myself thinking about the many different ways the Pittsburgh Passion helped this year’s Duquesne chapter of SWSG bond.  Everyone is excited by what the Passion Women are doing, and our chapter supported Mads through words of encouragement and even group attendance to a game!  In Pittsburgh, football reigns supreme and the Passion’s games give our chapter an opportunity to grow closer together while watching Strong Women conquer the sport we all love.