Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sports For Chicks: 10 year old runner inspires on a national platform

Lauren 002.jpg
Photo by Julie Charney

Sometimes it takes awhile for our kids to find their niche, the one or two interests that will fuel them through childhood and adolescence. For Lauren Charney, a 10 year old fourth- grader from Saline, it wasn't until third grade that she truly found her passion. Running.

Not only has the sport inspired Lauren, but it has given her the platform to inspire other girls to run too. A national platform.

Although Lauren participates in other sports, it is running that "makes me feel like I can do anything." When I asked Lauren what advice she would give other girls who might be a little shy about putting their first step forward, she didn't hesitate in giving credit to Girls On the Run. Girls On the Run has given Lauren a vehicle to great achievement and put her in a place to inspire all of us.Girls On the Run is a non-profit, non-competitive organization. According to their website,

"Girls on the Run® is a life-changing, experiential learning programs for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development."

Lauren Charney has taken her running a step further. Turns out her love of the sport and inspirational attitude has launched her to a place where she is one of six national finalists in the Kelloggs 2010 Junior Achievement Awards. She has already been flown to Chicago for a photo/video shoot, and is now being featured on the Kelloggs webisite competing for the 2010 ESPY award. She will fly to Los Angeles later this summer to attend the ESPY breakfast, where the winner will be announced. The winner will then attend the ESPY Award Ceremony that evening. To learn more about Lauren and vote her to to the top, go to

Lauren has learned more than how to prepare for a race (like loading up on healthy peanut butter waffles and warming up her muscles with jumping jacks). She has learned what it is like to be supported by a community, to have self-esteem, to feel empowered to do anything.

Sometimes it takes a little time for our kids to really find what it is they are looking for. When they do, it is important for us as parents to support them, find outlets for them to go after what they dream of that gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment. We all could learn a lot from girls like Lauren. It is never too late to take the first step.

The "Beauty" of Tennis: Sports For Chicks on Tennis

I love tennis season!  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer usually end up sweating it out in the finals of any given tournament, adding to the beauty of summertime.  Despite their ease on our eyes, they are both electrifying on the court. The French Open (clay courts) in Paris is underway this weekend. Nadal has an upper hand on clay, where he is so much more comfortable than many other players.  For those who are loyal fans of U.S. players, Andy Roddick is currently ranked eighth in the world, and is sure to give those ranked above him a real run for their money. 

On the women's court, Williams sisters Serena and Venus lead the world rankings in spots one and two.  Every year we wonder which sister will top the other in rankings.  This year, Serena leads.  I don't know about you, but I am inspired by these women everytime I see them play.  They are strong and explosive, both with daunting serves and unbeatable stamina.  I can't wait to see them play and often wonder if we'll see them head to head in the finals.  Then truly, who do I root for?  I remember the first time they were in the finals at Wimbledon and we got to see them in Prime Time on a Saturday night.  So awesome!

Competitive world tennis season is here:  The French Open, Wimbledon, The Australian Open, the US Open in NY.  It will be so exciting to see how our favorite players compete, see the upsets and the killer shots, hear the grunts and gasps of the crowds and get sucked into the drama.

And yes, I'm not above saying it, welcome back to television Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  We've missed "seeing" you.  Happy Summer!