I was the third daughter born to parents who desperately wanted a son. Hence, my first name, Lee (spelled the traditional “boys” way), and my former middle name, Frances, after my Dad, Francis Perry. Despite this, I was not much of a “tomboy” and I was definitely not an athlete. In fact, by the time I became of age to play Lassie League (girls softball), which was the only team sport for girls, my father – who had previously coached my two old sisters in this league – was tired. I wasn’t encouraged to play.
To further inhibit any natural athletic abilities or instinct I may have possessed, I was consistently put in the boys gym class in middle school – because I had a “boy’s name.” I would show up in my uniform (best described by Kathy Eliscu in her column on page 26) and because back in those days all of the gym teachers took a stern, military approach to teaching, I was on the list, so I had to stay in the class. It was horrifying. By the time I got to high school, I refused to go to gym and I failed every single time.
Lucky for me, I rode a bicycle and walked everywhere as a kid, and the older I got, the further I found myself riding and/or walking from home. I walked hours and hours with my best friend, every day after school. I didn’t do it to stay in shape. I did it to get away from the house and explore the town with my friend. Today, I walk to stay in shape – still hours on most days, and I still enjoy exploring a lot of new ground.
In this issue of Maine Women, you will be meeting 12 women athletes who excel in their chosen sport. We selected the women based on suggestions from readers and friends, as well as some research. Adriane Kramer, who owns Girl Power Fitness in Lewiston, is a longtime dancer and certified instructor who claims that Zumba has changed her life (meet Adriane on page 15). “If you love what you do, it will show. If you’re just doing your job, it will show. Those are the best words of wisdom I could give to anybody doing anything in life, period.” I couldn’t agree more.
Emily Bouchard – 2011 Maine Women’s Amateur Championship winner – has been playing golf locally for almost half of her life – she’s just 22 years old. You can learn more about Emily and what fuels her passion on page 12. She says: “I will always try to be better, if better is possible, and “good” is not good enough. That’s what you should always keep reaching for – to go as far as you can go.” Whether it’s in the game of golf, in a future career in air traffic control, or in life in general, I bet Emily will go far.
In Nancy Grape’s column this month (page 23), she mentions two women that most of us will be familiar with. Pat Gallant-Charette of Westbrook, the woman who just successfully swam the English Channel, and Diana Nyad, the woman who just recently had to leave the water during her 90-mile swim from Cuba to Key West. After her recent attempt, Nyad said, “People my age must try to live vital, energetic lives. We’re still young. We’re not our mothers’ generation at 60. Live a life with no regrets and no worries about what you are going to do with your time. Fill it up with passion. Be your best self.” Great words from a great athlete, a great woman.
I was so inspired by all of these women featured in this issue of Maine Women magazine. If you are, too, or if you know other women who inspire you, let us know. And don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook. Thanks for reading.
— Lee Hews, Publisher