March is Girls Sports Month, and as part of USA TODAY High School Sports’ third-annual Girls Sports Month celebration, we’re speaking with some of the most influential female athletes, coaches and celebrities in the sports world. Today we’re speaking with volleyball icon Gabrielle Reece.
Along with her volleyball career at Florida State and on the pro beach volleyball circuit, Reece is an actress, model and author and has become an advocate for health, fitness, alternative solutions for pain management and other causes. As a mother of three daughters, she is raising her kids to be strong and active with an emphasis on having fun.
In an interview with USA TODAY Sports, Reece expounds on the value of sports and the interactions between girls that come from being on a team.
My thinking is the value of sports is really about what we learned from sports. Do it for fun through high school and college. Whoever you are, you can benefit even if you say, ‘I’m not really an athlete.’ Even being on a team is very powerful. Boy plays really well together and girls aren’t taught that all that much. They go shopping and go get their nails done. Sports is really healthy and so good for girls to relate to each other in a different way and those relationships continue on beyond sports.
I played with so many talented women that I learned to celebrate them. One girl always will be stronger or jump higher or be cuter, no matter what you do. That’s just the way it is. But learning to play, being physical and learning to celebrate other people’s gifts is something that sports bring.
Teammates you don’t even like you can learn how to reach common goals. Winning is awesome and that’s at the essence of sports, but unless you’re on a team, girls stop doing that by the time we’re 7 years old. I had to learn how to be a winner. What you get beyond the winning is the discipline and other things.
Having three daughters, what’s also so good about sports is you can’t be on your phone and do it at the same time. That’s a 120-minute period of time when you are completely disconnected and in the moment. There’s too much time spent with the documenting of the doing.