I grew up a tomboy. I’d rather play with matchbox cars and climb trees than play with Barbies; wear jeans and a T-shirt rather than a dress; and don’t get me started on the color pink.
My idol was Bo Duke — I got in trouble trying to enter the family car through the window — and I would have played sports if I had any athletic bone in my body.
That may not seems so extreme in this day and age, but at my elementary school in the late 70s and early 80s, I was in a box all my own — or, at least, that’s how it seemed to my 8-year-old ego.
Looking back, I don’t think I would have stuck with many of the things that I wanted to do. I mean, fishing sounds like fun until you have to take the fish off the hook. And my dreams of being an Olympic high jumper died after I severely bruised my thighs during gym class. (There’s a reason it’s called the high jump.)
No, I think I just wanted the opportunity to try.
That opportunity has been paid by women much tougher than I am. We celebrate those women during Women’s History Month, as we should.
But equality doesn’t just rest with historical figures that bucked the system. It’s the everyday interactions with our mothers, daughters and sisters. It’s the women who run businesses, teach our children, and protect our families. It’s the women who aim to break glass ceilings and the mothers who want to stay home with their kids.
This month, The Pioneer will highlight some of these women. We kicked off our series Friday with Emma Daum, a junior at Big Rapids High School who’s the first girl to earn a spot on the varsity hockey team.
“I had to show the coaches I had speed and I am a strong skater and I can play the body and take hits,” Daum told The Pioneer’s John Raffel.
And show them, she did. She recently earned Grinder of the Game as a defenseman in a 4-0 shutout over Manistee.
In our next profile, Big Rapids Police Chief Danielle Haynes shares what she has learned during her first year as the city’s top cop.
“When you are able to take the high road, lead by example and do the right thing for the right reason every time, it becomes more of who you are at your core and not so much about the title,” she told reporter Catherine Sweeney.
The Pioneer will have more profiles throughout the month, profiles of women who are making the most of their opportunities.
For me, I still prefer wearing jeans and a T-shirt. But I’ve found my place sitting behind a computer, using my creativity to inform and serve the readers in my community. For that opportunity, I feel blessed.
Julie Norwood is the associate editor for the Pioneer. She can be reached at Julie.Norwood@pioneergroup.com.