Where’d You Grow Wednesday?

February 1, 2012

I grew to appreciate my female-sport-loving-self.

Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day. DON’T STOP READING!!! I know the topic of women in sports can be controversial. There are those people who think women’s sports are a bore. There are the women who don’t understand the psychology of a woman who would sacrifice so much of her life to something that seemingly no one cares about but her. There is still blatant sexism when it comes to women and sports, and I am becoming increasingly aware of the tension. All I want is a small opportunity to share with you some of the recent growth I’ve done with regard to this subject.

Some cool things happened this past week to broaden my enthusiasm for girls and women in sports. On the other hand, things have happened to promote my awareness that there are many issues female athletes still face.

First, the cool stuff:

  • I interviewed, via skype, Anthony Thornton, a national-level women’s field hockey coach in Australia (he is an example of solid support for women in sports)
  • I took the minutes for a quarterly meeting for Positive Coaching Alliance. The launch committee for the Twin Cities office is comprised mostly of men, but I have felt warmly accepted by them and I feel encouraged to contribute to this effort.
  • I accepted an invitation to present at the Female ADM Symposium for USA Hockey about girl team dynamics and team-building
  • I attended the University of Minnesota Tucker Center Film Festival featuring Salaam Dunk– a documentary about a college women’s basketball team in Iraq whose members were competing on a team for the first time in their lives.
  • Little Sprout (our 6-year-old daughter) had an opportunity to skate with her team at the Excel Energy Center (where the Wild play) and no one cared she was the only girl.

Some of the not-so-positive things I’m noticing:

  • Mainstream media has little interest in women’s sports. Try this yourself: count the local sports news stories about girls or women. I saw one story the ENTIRE week. Apparently I am not crazy. An extensive study done at the University of Southern California determined that not only is the coverage of women’s athletics in LA abyssmal (1.6%) but that is DOWN from 1989. National sports giant ESPN is even worse. (1.4% coverage of women’s sports)
  • On a much smaller scale, but important in our house right now: Middle Sprout’s U10 girls’ team had to play in the worst rink our hockey association uses. It was the third time they have played there this year, and there seems to be a discrepancy in the way the association schedules the games between the boys and the girls.
  • I’ve struggled to get a response to repeated attempts to connect with the Star Tribune sports editors. (I know most editors are too busy to connect with anyone, so I hope it’s not the content of the articles I’m proposing…nor the fact that I am a woman that has delayed response)
  • And sadly, the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPS), a league that had once shown so much promise for female soccer players, has suspended operation for this year. (and who knows if there will be momentum to get it started again?)

So, why are all of these things important: WOMEN’S SPORTS SHOULD MATTER TO ALL OF US. It shouldn’t matter to just the women who play at the highest levels, but also to the women who want a social place to experience the magic of sports competition.  It should matter to the men who father girls, to the men who marry them, to the men who work with and for them, and this will require a necessary shift in culture. We need to believe and promote:

Sports done right, make all people better.

It is widely accepted that sports are good for girls, specifically.  Youth sports expert, Brooke DeLench, has a phenomenal article laying out how Sports Benefit Girls in Many Ways. The benefits cover physical, social, emotional and intellectual aspects of life.

The benefits far outweigh the challenges, and I know with absolute certainty that I will continue to grow through the female sporting experience.

Copyright 2012  Meagan Frank                       Choosing to Grow

To learn more about Meagan Frank or the current book project she is working on, you can visit her at www.meaganfrank.com.

Where’d You Grow Wednesday?

Powers Lake Woodbury, MN

Back in August, I had a brilliant idea. I wanted to start a weekly blog conversation about the ways people purposefully put themselves into new places. I had a bad title (Walkin’ on Sunshine Wednesdays)…. and….. I forgot to write any other posts. Even more inconsistent was the fact that I didn’t even walk!

So here I go again. The first Wednesday of the year, and my intention remains. I want Wednesdays to be the days I challenge myself to “go and grow” somewhere. It doesn’t have to be somewhere entirely new, but I want to take a photo,  and then write a quick blurb about how I’ve been inspired.

Today I went to the frozen version of Powers Lake. It’s the lake I walk all the time, but to watch its subtle changes through the seasons…I’m reminded how small I am, how little control I have over everything, and how I am meant to appreciate beautiful changes…both big and small. Plus, I just had to venture there today. It is 35 degrees and I saw four ice-fishing people.

(Note to self: explore most what you don’t understand)

Maybe next week I’ll venture INTO one of the ice fishing tents. If not, I will still make the point of going to and documenting how I grow next Wednesday.

I invite any and all people who would like to come along with me. Email me at: choosingtogrow@meaganfrank.com

If you send me photos, or a link to a blogpost, or  a tweet with the #choosetogrow hashtag (see…even I can speak twitterese!) or a Facebook link.  I will start to include other people’s Wednesday growth here too.

Happy Growing!!

Learn more about Meagan Frank at her website: www.meaganfrank.com

Embracing the Mess of Motion

I love time-lapse photography. I am grateful to this family for putting up a video clip that so closely resembles the way the holidays feel for me.  Actually, any point of the year when all three of our children are home feels just like this.






You get the picture. I know I only have the mess because of their motion, and I intend to take time regularly to remind myself that I WILL MISS THE MOTION.

There will be stillness in this house…eventually. There will be times of silence…eventually. Those things that I safely store on the counter will actually stay put…eventually.

I don’t want to make that motionless time come any closer than it already has.

Our oldest is 11. The other day he pointed out that he is already more than half done with his time in our home.

I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe that the motion will stay this way forever.

I absolutely know better.

I didn’t really make a new year’s resolution this year, except that I want to yogify my life. As part of that process I intend to be in the moment. It means I embrace each part of my life, whether it is the motion… or the mess.

My little mess-makers are making messes back in their classrooms today, and I have had a few minutes to contemplate (clean) and give thanks.

I’m moved to gratitude for the motion… and the mess… in our home.

I’m moved to offer comfort and prayers for the local families who have to deal with the sudden loss of motion.

For the family and friends of a 3-year-old Minneapolis boy who was killed by a stray bullet, and for the family and friends of a 16-year-old Benilde-St. Margaret hockey player who lies motionless in a hospital bed after a check into the boards.

There is motion and mess in my house, but there is motion and mess outside of my house too. Perspective only comes when we can see the whole picture.

Motion leads to mess, but it matters most how we decide to be moved by the life around us.

How will you be moved this week?

Copyright 2012 Choosing to Grow- Meagan Frank

To learn more about Meagan Frank, you can visit her at her website: www.meaganfrank.com

Being Led to Give Back

Dan Rockwell- A.K.A. Leadership Freak

There was an emergency scene… a flight-for-life helicopter that carried the badly battered body of a man I’ve never met. I struggled to imagine, fully, the chaotic trip to the hospital or the impact a single phone call must have had as it rippled through the hands of concerned family members and friends. Truthfully I should be barely impacted by an accident so far removed from my life. But that’s just the thing.  The injured man has very quickly become a part of my life, an important voice in my journey to grow and learn. I can’t help but to be moved to do something.

I started following Dan Rockwell’s incredibly popular blog Leadership Freak in the early weeks of October. I look forward to his posts every day. He manages to pack some fantastic stuff into a post that is no longer than 300 words, and the people who comment regularly take the idea and create an insightful and thought-provoking conversation.

Just after Thanksgiving, the posts stopped. I was sure he was taking a much needed vacation. I hardly had time to really wonder what might have happened to him…because he posted….about the accident.

He took time and space and an untold amount of emotional and physical energy to send a post out to explain his absence. He has found and shared lessons in and through his injury ever since.  Leadership, wisdom and guidance inspires me to be better, but to then offer those things through weakness and vulnerability…few things impress me more.

It doesn’t take long to hear Dan’s wisdom, to feel his belief in responsible leadership and to hear his call to challenge leaders who are willing to learn about how to lead well… how to do it better.   I am growing and benefitting from his offerings, and I feel blessed to have a chance to pay tribute while paying it forward.

He has already impacted untold numbers of leaders who read his stuff and listen to his keynote presentations. And there are even more employees who benefit from the wisdom he imparts. It is no wonder that the movement to help him now, in his time of medical and financial need, is propelled by a sense of gratitude for who he has been and who he continues to be for his readers and followers.

I donate to causes and to people I believe in, and Dan Rockwell is on my list this year.  If you don’t yet read his blog, you should, if you support positive causes that impact hundreds of people, this might be a place, a person, in which you should invest.

I cannot take the injuries away. I cannot make the rehabilitation faster, but I can offer a word of thanks, a space on my blog for others to hear about his efforts and the efforts of those who care about him to make his burdens lighter. There are great things worth celebrating, and I hope for nothing but healing for Dan and nothing but strength for his family and friends.

If you head to his blog and you read about who he is, you’ll be glad you took a few minutes to let his words pore over you and into you.  And then, if you feel a pull to donate and contribute to his healing, the donation page to help with Dan’s medical expenses can be found here: http://leadchangegroup.com/time-to-give-back/

May the holidays continue to bless each and every one of you, and may all the places you look for guidance fuel you to be better too.


To learn more about Meagan, you can visit her website at www.meaganfrank.com.


My Story is a Sports Story

As much as I try to keep the sports blog separate from my choosing to grow blog, the two are consistently colliding these days. Must be that book research, or something.  Anyway, the latest post is about the woman’s story through sport. The experiences are almost too new to completely understand, but they are worth investigating.


You can check out the entire blogpost here: A Woman’s Sports Story You’ve Never Heard.

Children Expose our Broken Places

For the record, I do not think this is a FAIL...just a really bad day!

A man punches his thirteen-year-old son after losing a basketball game.

A woman flushes red as she tries to instruct her daughter during a relaxed holiday dance show.

Another woman yells at a teacher for her daughter’s failing grade…even though the daughter never shows up for class.

A dad writes a nasty anonymous email to a coach because he thinks his son is being treated unfairly.

Yes, I am in the midst of research about youth sports, and the crazy sports parents, I’ll call them Chuck and Belinda (sorry if that is your name) they come into conversation often.  What I am starting to observe is that Chuck and Belinda would be crazy no matter what their kids were doing.

Our children are reflections of us. For the people who are pretty satisfied and self-assured about their own reflection, they have been able to see the efforts, successes, and failures of their children as separate from themselves. Chuck and Belinda are far from that centered awareness.

You see Chuck probably has some issues from his own relationship with his parents, or he is carrying around a ton of shame about his life that manifests itself in his efforts to make the lives of his children better than his. It kills him when his kid screws up.  He hates it, and the son hears it in the post-game carride home.

Belinda may have body image issues or self-esteem problems. She can hardly control the emotions she has never addressed, so they come blurting out of her mouth on the sidelines of a game, in the telephone at a teacher or from the front row of her children’s stage.

Sports arenas are likely the most acceptable place to express the unresolved emotion.  We are allowed to yell and scream there.  The acceptable adult temper-tantrum.  Dance moms (you’ve seen that incredibly addictive show, haven’t you?) emote with tears, some yelling, and the cat-clawing nastiness.

So what are you like?  Why are you like that?  Is it an enjoyable experience for you to “feel” all the emotions that come with watching your children try to grow up?  Is it painful to watch them fail, and fall, and learn? Why?

I am not perfect, and when I can feel Belinda starting to well up in my own chest, I have been known to put myself into time out and spend some time thinking about what brought her out today.

I see innocence in my children, vulnerability and a great responsibility to help guide them to that next phase in life.  The thing is, I have my own growing to do too. I can’t ever, ever forget that!

Find out more about Meagan Frank and her current book project at:  www.meaganfrank.com

Copyright 2011 Meagan Frank

All I Want for Christmas….Is a Balanced List

This time of year it is crucially important to keep up on my lists. I have the kids’ wish lists, the to-do lists, my grocery lists and my list of must-do traditional activities. (It looks like I might need a master list too.)

I live and die by my lists.

Because of a recent conversation I had with my mom, I realize that I am missing a couple of lists.

As a pre-New-Year’s resolution and holiday-survival exercise, I have created two more TOP PRIORITY lists.


November was tough, and December isn’t looking much lighter. There is illness and injury, friends struggling with divorce, people moving and parents dying. It is a list that can get heavy and depressing, but to pretend that those things aren’t going on is not a healthy decision.

So I make my burdens list. I write out those things that are weighing on my heart and I put all of that heaviness onto paper. I give each item the respect it deserves and I breathe slowly… exhaling the ugly emotions that come with the bad parts of life.

On my second list I lay out the joys and blessings in my life.  There are my kids, my marriage, our heated home, weddings, parties, family gathered for holidays, good friends and support that matters. There is laughter and happiness too. I put all of that down on paper and I imagine if I were to lay the JOYS list on top of the BURDENS list it would be light enough to lift both pages off the desk.

I read a recent blogpost by one of my favorite parent writers.  The blog is called Privilege of Parenting, and the man behind the prose writes often about the balance of life. His latest musing dealt with a riding machine called a Fixie.  I hadn’t heard of it, but he explains that the rider can get the machine to go either forward or backward with petal motions.

We, people, are the third dimension in these polar forces. Life wants to pull us forward and backward, up and down, and it is up to us to bring it all into a center to keep it all balanced.

It is easier to get caught up in the negative, or to put on a face of positive without acknowledging the hard parts. It is easier to stay lost in a positive memory or to spend endless amounts of energy in the planning-for-the-future phase. What is difficult, but necessary, is acknowledging our place in the middle and writing our lists accordingly.

Sports Parent or Sports Fan?

Spent some time this morning over at my For the Sport of It blog. Make sure to subscribe to that blog, if you want the sports perspective for choosing to grow.

Parents need to take a serious look at how they behave as fans, and if their emotions override their parenting.  I’d love to hear your opinions on this one.

I also posted a new audio clip from my time at the rinks this weekend. I’ve added a voting poll, so take your best guess at what levels I’ve highlighted.

What Level Do You Hear?

It’s hard not to be shaped, molded and grown by sports when so many hours a day are devoted to this subject right now. I promise to balance out my life for some other blogpost topics soon.


I Unfriended my Husband…But Should I Ask to Get Him Back?

Yesterday was Jimmy Kimmel’s National Unfriend Day.

My husband and I were sitting in our dueling armchairs during the Unfriend telethon last night and I joked that he wouldn’t even know if I unfriended him.

You see… my husband is a Facebook poser.

He has never posted a single comment, picture or update.  He even calls himself “Pudger” a name I have NEVER used for him.  I’ve called him lots of things, but never Pudger.

So last night, on the prompting of a fearless late-night leader, I went to my husband’s so-called Facebook Page with the intent of unfriending him. We both laughed when I realized I had no idea how to do that.

I sifted through the four birthday wishes on his wall and I made note of the fact that by unfriending him he would go from 15 to 14 friends. I finally landed on the prompt I needed to unfriend my husband.

I hovered the mouse over  “unfriend” and asked, “Do you think I can get you back as a friend if I unfriend you?”

“Does it really matter?” he laughed.

So I did it.  My husband and I are no longer Facebook friends, and Jimmy Kimmel is right…I feel so much better to have the added weight of my husband’s creepy pictureless avatar filling up my FB friend list.

Do you think I did the right thing?

Should I have kept him as a friend and bugged him until he started engaging in Facebook land, or does it matter that I have a world there that he might know nothing about?



Once a Coach…Always a Teacher


I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few weeks, but for some reason I’ve had a hard time sitting down to do it. It’s probably because I don’t want to officially deal with some of the emotions I’ve avoided over the course of the past few months.

This was my first fall as a fan for the UW-Stout women’s soccer team, instead of as a coach for them. Part of me has completely moved on from my time on that sideline, but there is a part of me that will likely never let it go.

My record of wins and losses with that team was rather abysmal. A record that for all objective purposes reflects my effectiveness as a coach. That is a rather difficult pill to swallow.

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