Dance music, cheers and whoops filled Farley Field House on Sunday. For the first time, all 17 women’s sports teams participated in the National Girls and Women in Sports Day event hosted by the College. Around 100 girls in first through fifth grade from the Brunswick area participated in scrimmages, ran drills and chatted with Bowdoin women athletes.
The girls that participated in the event were split into groups of six and took turns with each team for 15 minutes. Emma Gibbens ’25 helped participants jump through hurdles and run sprints as a part of the track and field workshop at the event.
“It was just nice to get to interact with the community around us and also interact with girls that are interested in sports and are really enthusiastic about it. It just made it really fun,” Gibbens said. “There was one girl that just had so much energy. We were at the track station … and she was able to jump and duck under hurdles. When we called for a water break, she was like ‘absolutely not.’ And she’d beat us all through the hurdle segments…. She just loved track.”
Gibbens thought the event was important for young girls to see role models in collegiate sports, encourage them to try out new sports and see a future in sports.
“It’s hard to get that visibility for women as professional athletes, and for college athletes, a lot of the focus is on men,” Gibbens said. “So, this is an opportunity for girls to see that there are people passionate about the sport that they’re doing.”
Reflecting on her own career as a collegiate athlete, Gibbens thinks attending a similar event as a young girl could have changed her mindset toward athletics.
“I didn’t know that throwing as a track athlete existed until high school because I knew the throwing coach very well. If I had known that in middle school, maybe I would have thrown for many more years,” Gibbens said.
Rylie McLaren ’26 and her teammates on the women’s soccer team took turns playing 3 vs. 3 scrimmages with girls participating in the event.
“We had decided to ask all the kids to come up with a celebration whenever they scored, and it was just so fun to watch them get excited when they scored and then they would all hit a griddy or something,” McLaren said. “It was so funny. And just watching them have fun with it, and being excited to score a goal was fun.”
Ruby Fyffe ’26, who is on the rowing team, helped lead erging sessions with her teammates. She believes the positive environment at the event can be attributed to the women-only audience in the field house.
“I think because it was all women there, there were no worries about embarrassing yourself or how people perceive you because it was just really uplifting and positive,” Fyffe said. “Most of them had no idea what rowing was, but it was really cool to show them how to erg.”
Fyffe pointed out that not all sports are accessible because of the equipment or space needed to practice. She believes this event helps make sports more accessible to young girls in the Brunswick area.
“I definitely had no experience with sports like squash, tennis, rowing, sailing or Nordic skiing. That did not exist anywhere for me,” Fyffe said. “When you think of sports like sailing, when I was younger, I wouldn’t have automatically thought of women doing it. It’s really cool that there are these role models right there doing it.”
Like Gibbens, Fyffe thought that participating in this event as a child could have exposed her to different sports and helped her see herself as an athlete.
“I wish I had something like this. It’s really easy for us to find something we are good at and just stick with it,” Fyffe said. “This event really showed these girls that there are different things to try.”