The sixth-annual Women in Sports Day, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, took place today during the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open at Drexel.
The day began with a special mid-afternoon panel discussion at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Laurelle Holley, US Squash’s marketing and events manager, welcomed a large crowd to the DAC’s media room. In the crowd were Drexel students, college coaches, urban program staff, teaching pros, national champions, and U.S. Squash Hall of Famers. Ellen Staurowsky, a professor in Drexel’s department of sports management, moderated the panel. Staurowsky is an expert on social justice issues in sport.
Panelists included Trinity’s Wendy Bartlett, now entering her thirty-sixth season as head squash coach of the women’s team; Baldwin School’s director of squash and former world No. 3 Madeline Perry; and Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, champion ice hockey players. The panel discussion centered around the theme “Gender Equity & Women’s Sport: Shifting the Landscape and Participation.”
Watch a replay of the panel discussion here.
Two years ago, the Women in Sports Day panel discussed the mental side of squash; last year, it was about how to build and maintain a strong physical body. This year the discussion was titled: “Gender Equity & Women’s Sport: Shifting the Landscape and Participation.”
The Lamoureux twins spoke about their journey from skating on a pond across the street from their house in North Dakota to winning silver medals with Team USA in the 2010 and 2014 Olympics and gold in last year’s Olympics. They spoke about their work with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in Philadelphia and their roles in guiding USA Hockey towards greater gender equity. Perry talked about growing up in Northern Ireland and how she had been told, “girls don’t play squash,” the day before she decided to try the sport. Bartlett spoke about the paucity of women coaching in collegiate squash and the need for succession planning and networking so that more women have the opportunity to coach.
The hour-long discussion ended with a robust question-and-answer session.
In addition to the panel, Women in Sports Day also included a practice with the girls of SquashSmarts. They practiced on the courts at the Kline & Specter Squash Center at Drexel. Two PSA players—Tesni Evans and Nele Gilis—joined thirty SquashSmarts girls, giving them a first-hand look at life on the professional tour.
Founded in 2001, SquashSmarts has just begun its nineteenth season. A 501(c)3 non-profit, SquashSmarts is an award-winning, free, intensive, out-of-school academic and athletic mentoring program changing the lives of Philadelphia’s public school students. Students are recruited in middle school from Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, Neuva Esperanza Academy Charter, Science Leadership Academy, Carver School for Engineering & Science and Overbrook Educational Center. Operating out of two facilities—the Lenfest Center in North Philadelphia and Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center—the program has students attend practices three days a week for seven years. SquashSmarts is the central community partner of the twenty-court Arlen Specter US Squash Center opening next year on Drexel’s campus.