What a treat to spend the weekend in Iowa working and getting to watch the NCAA semi-finals with my daughter and my Iowa friends. Growing up in the heart of ACC basketball country, and as a daughter of a UNC grad and a proud Wahoo myself, March madness was always must-watch TV in my house growing up.

As I shared with one of this weekend’s clients, however, to me this wasn’t just about “good basketball.” It was also about powerful, smart, strong women taking center stage.

It was about women’s sports drawing bigger crowds than many other elite men’s sports events and displaying electrifying athleticism that’s inspiring another generation of girls. It was about fiery young women being themselves on camera. And, not coincidentally, it was also about a broadcasting team of 5 fierce women athletes – athletic powerhouses themselves but also stylish, dressed to the 9’s, brilliant, and technical.

The Sunday broadcast team made me think about our @DrMomcast podcast team too. We’re not just about kids’ health, sports, and safety as we say in our intro. We’re Real Moms, talking about Real Science and Real Life.

We’re also women in science and women supporting women. The mutual respect and collegiality, compliments and acknowledgements among the broadcast team of Elle Duncan, Andraya Carter, Chiney Ogwumike, Carolyn Peck, and Aliyah Boston was inspiring for me too.

They praised each other and the behind-the-scenes staff who contributed stats and technical expertise. At times they talked over each other, reflecting the healthy enthusiasm and excitement of 5 strong, smart, and talented women who love the sport and have a lot to say vs mic-hogging disrespect, as the mutual respect was repeatedly acknowledged and readily apparent.

So for me, it wasn’t just about phenomenal basketball.

It also reminded me of Billie Jean King’s opening words in the Women’s Professional Hockey League (WPHL) draft. As she celebrated the birth and inaugural season of women’s professional hockey, Ms. King also celebrated “a tipping point for women’s sports.”

She added that “It’s not about a single moment, it’s about a movement… And the best part, we are just getting started.” That, to me, is all the more reason for all of us to celebrate with these elite college athletes who are modeling so much more than just great basketball for women and girls everywhere. We can be fierce and feminine, stylish and athletic, strong and warm. Caring and teamwork can be – ARE – sources of strength and power.

During the pregame show, the broadcast team also talked about a key difference between the two 2024 championship teams, Iowa and USC, that is also a great analogy for so many other aspects of our lives. That is, that this championship game included one team led by an extraordinary star who has been the trigger for her undeniably talented team, vs. a team on which there is no single stand-out star, comprised of players who maybe could’ve had more of a standout role elsewhere but instead chose a team whose coach emphasized We over Me.

Which “kind” of team will ultimately prevail was a question that Duncan and colleagues posed at the outset. More than the storylines of Does it take a national championship to cement GOAT status? or the impact of a “revenge game,” which approach provides us with a playbook for how one can truly come out on top that is a lesson for us on a stage that is bigger than a 94-foot court? The USC team was also led by an extremely talented coach who let her players just play their game and be themselves, too; how much of a critical spark was that as well?

There are lessons for all of us in all of it. An exceptionally talented female athlete helping to elevate her sport to another level and inspire millions. Women’s college basketball tournament games drawing more viewers than NBA finals and many other elite men’s sports competitions. A former standout player turned trail-blazing coach prioritizing honesty and discipline, aspiring “to be the best dream merchant I can be” who emphasized We over Me and in so doing took a team of “improbables
” through a perfect season that ended with them as true Champions.



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