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 Dwelling in Possibility

The WNBA is about to grace our television sets once again, and my anticipation led me to a moment of reflection on the end of last season…

A fan of the Los Angeles Sparks, I was disgusted by their seventeen point half-time deficit in their first game of the WNBA Western Conference Finals match-up against the Houston Comets, so I abandoned my television and went to run errands rather than watch the remainder of the massacre unfold.

Halfway to my first stop, Circuit City, the fair-weather-fan-guilts began creeping into my heart. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, the guilts had left my heart and had swept through my entire blood stream. As a result, I shivered my way over to the television section instead of to the computer section, which was where I needed to be, wondering all the while why these big super stores were always over air-conditioned. Wouldn't they be able to save us even more money if they reduced their electric bill?

I drifted through Beethoven, Ella Fitzgerald, No Doubt, and Tina Turner rolling through speakers on each side of the aisle until I finally arrived in front of the two thousand dollar flat screen television, the one I secretly coveted and silently prayed for, and joined a little girl with brown curls already watching the closing moments of the game.

As I walked up, she looked at me with sparkling eyes as brown as her hair and smiled. The blindingly neon overhead lights bounced off glittering red letters scrolling "Girl Power!" across the front of her pink t-shirt. I smiled back.

"Fan of the Sparks?" I asked.
"No, Comets," she replied.
"Oh," I winced as Sheryl Swoopes hit another shot.
"The Comets are the three time defending WNBA champs," she stated.
"Yeah but Lisa Leslie's a pretty powerful center," I defended.
"She lost the league MVP vote 38 to 19. They gave Swoopes the trophy this afternoon. She cried. I watched it," she countered.
"Swoopes is good too," I grudgingly conceded.

The game faded to a Lady Foot Locker commercial, and the faces of little girls floated across the screen.

"What do you dream of being?" the narrator asked. "Do you dream of being the next Swoopes?" it asked again. "How about being the next great you?" it concluded.

As I watched the commercial, I saw the reflection of the great WNBA players in the eyes of the little girls floating on the screen. As I turned to the little girl beside me, I soon saw the reflection of the commercial in hers.

At that moment, I suddenly realized the staggering impact these empowered athletes and empowering athletic commercials have on the minds of the watchful little girls in this country and around the world. These little girls will grow up to be as aggressive, powerful, and successful as the role models they see on television.

Women athletes teach girls to be courageous, determined, and strong and to shed the skin of dependence, weakness, and fear. They arm girls with the weapons they will need to be successful in a competitive, capitalistic society.

"Wouldn't Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony be impressed?" I thought.

The game resumed and the Comets quickly closed it out, 77-56. The little one punched her fists into the air and yelled "YES" in a pose that I swear reminded me of Rocky on the top of all those steps. "It was nice to meet you," she called over her shoulder as she ran away. I waved and moved toward the computers.

I tried to focus on the current question: touchpad or mouse? But my mind kept skipping back to that little girl and to a line that always sticks with me written by the great nineteenth century poet Emily Dickenson.

"I dwell in Possibility," she wrote. The possible. That which may exist. That which may happen. That which may be true. Possibility. Since 1848 and the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, women have been vocally vying for equality, and now, twenty years after the second wave of feminism in the 1970s the vying may soon be over. Legislation like Title IX and events like the WNBA being broadcasted on television may change the world yet. Equality may soon be here.

Until then, I will dwell in that possibility. I will believe in the future. After all, I saw it in the brown eyes of a little girl with brown curls in the television section of Circuit City.

May 2001

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