Fun fact: the first woman to summit Mt. Rainier did so wearing an “immodest” flannel bloomer suit.

I hadn’t given any thought to the history of women’s climbing in Washington prior to a recent event I attended: Washington State Senate Resolution 8694, which honors women and girls in sports (including climbing, as referenced by the title of this post), was being recognized by the state senate.  And so a handful of Puget Sound representatives, myself included, found ourselves in the state capitol building, on slippery leather seats, looking down onto a room of senators and shiny desks and oddly flowered carpet, and heard the following statement:

WHEREAS, The University of Puget Sound athletic department offers eleven women’s varsity sports at the Division III level, giving two hundred ten female student athletes the opportunity to compete in collegiate athletics; its women’s soccer squad has won twelve consecutive NWC titles, the longest active title streak in Division III women’s soccer history; and its women’s crew squad has reached the NCAA tournament eleven years in a row….

As the speaker read the names of the people attending, the senators rose and applauded.  So now I can say I’ve gotten a standing ovation from people far more powerful and influential than I am, how’s that for a bucket list item?

Disregarding bucket lists for a minute, though, I have to say that I’ve achieved far more athletically and personally at Puget Sound than I expected as, say, a junior in high school who was a bit surprised to find herself rowing in the top varsity 8.  I’ve had conversations with people here about how excited we are to see this person beat us on the upcoming 2K test and how impressed we are with that person’s progress.  Maybe I was just an exceptionally self-centered high schooler, but things like that would have made me a bit bitter a few years ago.  Watching and learning from the examples of past and present UPS rowers has both inspired me athletically and helped me grow as a person.  And, as the WA state senate has pointed out, personal growth is an integral part of athletics.

But seriously, how cool is it that the state senate has a proclamation and an event specifically for female athletes?