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‘One day you will be the inspiration.’ STM grad Kia Nurse encourages aspiring female athletes to pursue ‘crazy’ dreams

Canadian basketball star writes an open letter as part of the Star’s Women in Sport series

By Kia Nurse
(Special to the Toronto Star, Mar 8, 2019)

As part of the Toronto Star's special Women In Sport project, it reached out to a few high-profile Canadian, female athletes and offered them an opportunity to write an open letter on the topic. Here's what Hamilton basketball star Kia Nurse had to say:

Dear young aspiring female athletes,

Today we celebrate women. Women of all ages, all nationalities, from all walks of life who have accomplished incredible things. Today we celebrate powerful women whose actions have given the next generation bigger aspirations. Today we celebrate the moms who worked hard to be positive role models for their impressionable young daughters. And my young aspiring female athletes, today we celebrate you!

It's important to me that on this day I express my appreciation for the women who inspired me. I met my biggest inspirations the moment I was born. A nurturing, strong-willed, fearless mother and a bright-eyed big sister whose energy, confidence and determination were unmatched. It was a 4-year-old me who sat on the floor in an old gym in Hamilton watching seemingly "ordinary" girls play basketball. They couldn't have been more than 9 years old. But watching them dribble and shoot challenged me to learn the skills. They laughed and had fun together. They developed a sisterhood. I just wanted to be part of the experience. Not long after, sport became my new love. You never know who is watching. You never know who you are inspiring ... by simply being you.

While being a female athlete can be rewarding, the world of sport can be challenging to navigate. Sport is a business. It can be cutthroat, harsh with judgment and simply put — unfair. They will define your sport by placing "female" or "women's" in front of it. They will undermine its quality in reference to its masculine counterpart. Your aspirations may be deemed unreasonable. Your dreams may be called crazy. Be crazy anyways. Dream crazy anyways. They are only crazy dreams until you achieve them. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be great at something.

Please know that you are not navigating the male-dominated world of sport alone. We are here with you. Surround yourself with people who have high aspirations, people who want to accomplish more. Hold yourself to higher standards and align yourself with like-minded people.

You are not defined by your gender. You are not defined by your sport. You are a female athlete, but you are so much more. One day you will be the inspiration to the little girl in the gym, on the field, the pitch, in the pool or on the ice. One day your crazy dream won't seem so crazy. One day that crazy dream will be the norm. Today we celebrate all that you are, all that you can be and all you will empower someone else to achieve. We are all connected; bound by our femininity.

I am she. And she is me. And we should celebrate her everyday.

Happy International Women's Day!

With love,
Kia Nurse

Kia Nurse advises young female athletes to surround themselves with people also who have high aspirations. - FIBA
Kia Nurse advises young female athletes to surround themselves with people also who have high aspirations. - FIBA