Here's Guest Dad Joe Burris with musings about girls, sports, and role models:
Prior to coming to the Sun, I spent 16 years as a sportswriter for the Boston Globe, and among the things I remember most about that time was watching how female sports had evolved since my childhood, when opportunities for girls and women were paltry at best. I was there for the start of two women's professional basketball leagues and one professional soccer league in the 1990s. And though the leagues struggled (and two eventually folded), I figured that the future for women's team sports was bright. I envisioned that someday when I had children, I'd take them to both men's and women's games.
Fast forward to this year, when my 12-year-old daughter Nyaniso decided to take up ice hockey at school.
She and a few of her friends joined the TC Williams High School (of "Remember the Titans" fame) girls team in our hometown of Alexandria, Va. The program allows eighth graders to practice with the team and play only in non-league games.
The TC Williams team bills itself as the only girls' ice hockey team in Northern Virginia; it plays in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League. Though I initially had reservations about the sport due to its physical nature, I encouraged my daughter to pursue her interests.
Yet earlier this week, when the program's officials decided the girls should see ice hockey played at a higher level, they took the team to a Washington Capitals-New Jersey Devils game at the Verizon Center.
I'm glad that my daughter witnessed the electricity and excitement of an NHL game up close.
Yet I wondered: Weren't there any women's ice hockey games that the group could have attended?
After a quick Google search, I was discovered that several colleges in the Baltimore-Washington area play club hockey. Among them: the University of Maryland, College Park, American University and the University of Virginia.
The University of Maryland regularly plays its home games at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, but on Saturday afternoon it meets the University of Virginia at the Verizon Center.
Right now, we're slated to go. It's not the Caps and the Devils but I figure it can't hurt seeing women involved in a team sport she now relishes as a preteen. Plus, the Maryland-UVa game is free. That's a far cry from a Capitals game, where ticket prices are high enough to all but require a down payment plus closing costs.
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar