Girl Power! Life Lessons From The Littlest Athletes

When you're sweating in the gym or running the track all alone, it can be easy to lose sight of why you're really there. Sure, we all work out to be fit (and maybe even to look a certain way), but there's so much more to it. We also work out to be strong, to have fun and, perhaps above all, to feel powerful. That's exactly what these young athletes, ages 9 to 14, reminded us of when we asked them what it means to them to #PlayLikeAGirl. Their answers will inspire you.

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"People try to compliment me by saying that I do not skate like a girl, which is stupid because what does a girl skate like? You're saying I have to be a guy to be good? Obviously, that's not true. I am proud to skate like a girl, because I can show the world what we're capable of just by doing what I love. When I'm skating, I feel like I can fly! There are no limits." — Spencer Breaux, 11, Denver, CO. Photo Credit: Courtesy, SELF

"Before I started ice skating, I was never sure of myself. I was always worried that I wouldn't be good enough. Now, whenever I face a new challenge, I think, This isn't as hard as skating practice! That's the new me. I'm proud to skate like a girl, because I can be an example to other girls who doubt themselves like I used to. I'm a role model and I'm only 10 years old!" — Amber Stuart, 10, New York, NY. Photo Credit: Courtesy Nate McDonald, SELF

"Sometimes, I get picked last for a team, because I'm one of the few girls out there playing. When that happens, I'd like to tell those boys, 'Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I'm not as good as good as you. I may even be better!' I'm proud to play like a girl, because being a girl is awesome!" — Lucie Bacho, 11, San Francisco, CA. Photo Credit: Courtesy, SELF

"I've been running for two years now. It's taught me that I'm capable of making my own decisions. I don't have to cower in anyone's shadow. I can say whatever is on my mind—and my words can change the world." — Carson Mae Whitlock, 9, Charlotte, NC. Photo Credit: Courtesy, SELF

"Boys my age have underestimated me, because I'm a girl—but only until I play them one-on-one. That's when I prove them wrong. Being strong is awesome because it keeps you mentally prepared for the peer pressure and bullying you may have to face as a kid. You need to be strong on and off the court." —Naijah Vann, 12, Brookly, NY. Photo Credit: Courtesy, SELF

"Competing in triathlons has taught me that I can do lots of things I never thought I could. I'm proud to race like a girl, because that means I'm strong!" —Bela S., 10, Chicago, IL. Photo Credit: Courtesy, SELF

"I'm proud to ski like a girl, because I am a girl. Just because I'm not a boy doesn't mean I'm any less capable. Skiing has taught me that I have the power to be myself and be happy." —Emma Morgan, 14, Mountain Green, UT. Photo Credit: Courtesy, SELF