The Catholic University of America


“It’s Our Time!”
How Sports Benefit Women


The spring 2013 cover story of The Catholic University of America Magazine explores how Title IX changed athletic opportunities for women and how those opportunities paved the way to success for today’s female student-athletes at Catholic University. Coaches, athletes, and faculty who were interviewed for the story share their thoughts on how sports benefit women.

“Athletics teaches young women confidence, assertiveness, discipline, and time management. The confidence is the biggest piece. It gives you something to be good at and a way to move your body. I think it’s so important to incorporate body and mind. For those who are more shy and introverted, sports give them a place to go all out and be a competitor.”
-Gia Cillizza, head field hockey coach

"Athletics promotes a lot of skills that are needed in the workforce, like teamwork and determination. For me, it gave me another family. I think for women, it really helps with self-esteem.”
-Jill Woerner, senior basketball player

“In middle school, what girl isn’t awkward and uncomfortable? The only time I felt totally comfortable was on the soccer field. Sports teach the importance of physical fitness, leadership, and discipline. When you look at the things that have allowed men to have so much success in the business world, a lot of them are gained on the basketball court or on the golf course. Women need to be able to go have those opportunities. If you can’t go out with the guys, then you’re immediately excluded from so many opportunities. If you’re in a board meeting with 10 men and you were on a sports team or you follow athletics, you have a topic of conversation. It’s not necessarily the way it should be, but it’s the truth.”
-Meghan McDonogh, head women’s lacrosse coach

“For me, athletics is an incredible lesson in time management and multi-tasking. People find it funny that I was a coach and captain and I could be so loud on the court because when I’m at work, I’m very quiet. Some people just don’t see both sides of you unless they see you play.”
-Haley Jones, former women’s basketball assistant coach and player (2001-2005)


“I’m very much about empowerment for women. Sports show that we’re not just standing against the wall anymore. I think sports are a really great platform for women to perch upon. Participating in sports gives women a strong foundation to pursue other goals in life. They give you the motivation and the determination you need and I think sports help level the playing field for women to succeed.”
-Laura Kinley, senior cross country and track team member

“Working as a team is beneficial. You’re going to be a team member your entire life. You need to learn how to work with other people to a common goal.”
-Catherine Mirsky, senior field hockey player

“Athletics give women confidence in performing in public. I know some of them have found that having played competitive athletics at the college level was a plus when they were interviewing for jobs.”
-Rev. John Beal, professor of canon law and faculty representative for the Department of Athletics

“There are unlimited benefits. Being part of a team, you have a core of people who have a similar interest. You become a member of a group. It gives you an identity to be an athlete on campus. There’s the health aspect of it. You’re getting yourself into shape. You have to be able to budget your time. All of those are very important life skills. The lifelong values that you learn in a sport are extremely important, such as how to relate to other people, how to be able to take a loss or disappointment, and how to accept a win and be gracious about it.”
-Jone Dowd, former women’s tennis coach and women’s athletics administrator

“When I was a kid, I was a tomboy. I was always really into sports. I think it’s kind of amazing that we can do a lot of the same things guys can. I played co-ed volleyball and it was really fun to block the guys’ shots. That gives you confidence. It’s great that women today can play just as many sports as men. And it’s definitely a benefit to anyone’s life to have physical activity and teamwork.”
-Kelly Crimmins, senior volleyball player


“Young women coming up in athletics learn the value of competition and being a leader and working to attain goals as part of a team. You’re a leader on the campus and in the community. It becomes a part of your identity. Sports provide opportunities for young women to really learn about themselves. They learn how to deal with setbacks. Everyone is happy when they’re attaining the ultimate success but character is revealed in how one deals with adversity.”
-Matt Donohue, head women’s basketball coach

“Sports build confidence, competition, and a healthy lifestyle. Women who play sports learn how to prepare for something. For example, in order to start on a team, you have to work hard. That goes into all parts of life.”
-Sharon Repass, former women’s basketball player (1977-1981) and first woman inducted into Catholic University’s Hall of Fame

“Sports give women an appropriate physical outlet. It makes them feel good about themselves. It gives them an opportunity to learn how to build teams and work collaboratively. They learn how good it feels to win but also what it feels like to lose, because we’re not always going to win in everything that we do. For me, sports and exercise give you that space in your head so you can compartmentalize. I think that’s important to do. You need that healthy space in your head.”
-Teresa Walsh, assistant professor and director of the undergraduate degree in nursing and liaison to the Department of Athletics