The women’s sports teams held a clinic to inspire more girls to be athletes. They later got to sit up close during the women’s basketball team and participate in half-time events. Photos by Anna Meassick.

Children all over Rhode Island, from the age of three to 13, participated in a University of Rhode Island-organized clinic at Keaney Gymnasium to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Sunday, Feb. 17.

The Athletics Department organized the pre-game clinic. Mary Ginsbach, marketing assistant for the URI Athletic Department said that the idea for the clinic was to get as many URI female athletes to come out on the weekend to celebrate the day with the kids.

“[The athletes taught] them what they do on a day-to-day basis in practice and [helped] the kids get excited about sports,” said Ginsbach.

The Rams were enthusiastic to spread the message of hard work and emphasize the importance of teamwork. The parents and the participants also seemed to enjoy the event.

“I appreciate URI’s commitment to growing young women into athletes,” Lisa Macaruso, a parent, said. “I appreciate the Athletic Department came out as role models on the courts. Specifically trained so athletes from URI encouraging and empowering young girls from the community.”

Macaruso’s daughter, 12-year-old Brie Macaruso, also enjoyed the event. “That was really fun and I thought the coaching was really nice,” she said. “I already play soccer. I think it’s really awesome that they are doing this for National Women and Girls in Sports Day.”

There were five stations in the clinic and each session was approximately eight to 10 minutes long. In each group, about 10 to 12 kids learned how to play volleyball, soccer, cheer, track and field, cross country and tennis. The children also learned what the players do to warm up before every game.

“Our main focus is to try and empower young girls to hopefully get interested in sports and continuing their growth and staying active and healthy and seeing their full potential,” Ginsbach said.  

Following the clinic, about 12 participants also had an opportunity to act as honorary staff members at the women’s basketball game.

“They will be shadowing the band director, the announcer, marketing assistant, audio engineer and social media manager during the game,” Ginsbach said. “For example, we have an intern who will be our actual social media manager. The little girl will be taking photos and videos for our social media sites. We’re just trying to empower young fans and girls to know that they can do anything they set their mind to.”

Following the game, the post-game clinic was held. This was where the participants got to learn some of the dribbling and shooting techniques from the team players.

The Rhode Island Rams lost the game against the Duquesne Dukes with a score of 58-75.

“Everyday we come out and try to play hard to inspire little girls,” Maia Moffitt, a sophomore on the team said. “When it comes to the little girls, it’s inspiring for us as well, because you can tell how much they want to play, and be like us and ask us how is the game.”