making change as everyday people

By Barb Anthony, NOWSA Co-Founder and Executive Director

I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't thought about how I or others around me would be able to make a difference in the world just by being "everyday people."

I used to think that in order to enact actual change, I had to make big headlines, have the best job, know all the "right" people, do the biggest thing, and work the hardest. What I have discovered now as an adult is that…

1. This is unrealistic.

2. True change can't be manufactured. It has to be authentic.

Athletes here in Northeast Ohio, the "everyday people" in many communities, positively impact our sports culture every day. They use their voices and their platforms to promote inclusivity and positive physical and mental health. As a society, we support the top elite athletes on the world's stage, but often fail to acknowledge the value of those local changemakers who don't make headlines.

Simone Biles. Naomi Osaka. Ibtihaj Muhammad. Big names on a big stage who are no doubt making a BIG difference.

At the end of the day, though, these seemingly otherworldly athletes are also people who began their journey in community sports just like we did. Do you have to have the best job, know the "right" people, or make the biggest headlines in order to make a difference? Nope.

It starts here, with us. Every day with everyday people. We create a shift by modeling vulnerability and creating a sports culture where caring about the person is more important than a final score or medal count. It doesn't have to be grand. It needs to be authentic.

About barb anthony

Barb Anthony is a licensed professional social worker and co-founder of the Northeast Ohio Women's Sports Alliance. She has spent the majority of her life trying to figure out where she fits into the world of sports and social work. She takes great pride in the NOWSA community, still tries to do ALL the things and definitely works harder than most - while also enjoying a day off now and again.