WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration brings out the “fan girl”
When asking about the WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration I always received similar answers, but from different people. “I can’t really explain the luncheon…you just have to be there to understand what a room full of 1,500+ people passionate about WIN for KC and celebrating the empowerment of girls and women through sports is like.”
Fast forward several months and I am now attending my very first WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration. As I realized the event was one week away it became harder to contain my excitement. I couldn’t sleep through the night, the luncheon was all I wanted to tell family and friends about, and I wanted to fast forward time to February 4. Yet, I had to make sure I didn’t “fan girl” the luncheon! I was so pumped to finally experience what everyone was talking about!
It’s Game Day! The large Sheraton ballroom is jam packed. It is full of energy and excitement from start to finish. When the award winner stories start playing, there are tears of sadness and joy, excitement, laughter, standing ovations, and mass applause for the resiliency, courage, leadership, and benefits from sports those women and girls experience. Then, 6-time Olympic Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee took the stage to tell us about her incredible story! She amazed us all. Her speech of how she battled bumps in the road, but just kept going is proof that anything is possible when you set your mind to your goals. I know she inspired me, as well as, each individual in that room.
My favorite part of the luncheon was witnessing the award winner piece come to life. I had no idea what I was doing or how lucky I was to be given this responsibility and opportunity when I began promoting nominations being open to the public. Some time passed and an amazing committee selected the award winners and then it was time to meet them and learn their stories. Ryan from Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and KC Sports Commission President & CEO Kathy Nelson worked tirelessly to include pictures, videos, interviews, and new articles in a short, powerful three-minute video. The videos were not your typical video.
The videos told a specific story about each award winner. They showed FC Kansas City’s hard work and success on and off the pitch. Kelly Siebert’s selflessness, ambition, and leadership in creating a lacrosse program in North Kansas City. Claire Tietgen’s resiliency to bullying and suicide through mixed martial arts, boxing, and weight lifting. Marilyn Deister’s love and dedication to the Kansas City Sea Sprites Synchronized swimming since 1951. Alana Vawter’s resiliency to a near death experience with Stevens Johnson Syndrome and Katie Sowers’ dedication and passion to equaling out the playing field for girls and women in sports. I feel honored that we spent so much time working with these incredible females and look forward to watching their success in the future.
As Jackie Joyner-Kersee would say, “WIN when you can WIN.” No matter what happens just keep chasing your dreams and never give up. The WIN for KC Women’s Sports Awards Celebration is an experience I will forever remember. I can guarantee it will be extremely hard not to “fan girl” the 2017 luncheon as I already can’t wait to meet the incredible award winners and special guest we will have in the room.
Kristen Bell, WIN for KC/Community Impact Associate Manager