When I was growing up I was always a lot taller than all the other girls my age. and I’m still taller than most women. I hated walking into a room full of people because I stuck out like a sore thumb. I used to hunch my shoulders because I thought it would make me look shorter and thought maybe people wouldn’t notice me as much. And believe me, walking into a gym where people would just size you up slowly felt beyond awkward.
The Sport Memory
I was at a rep tournament with my team, and there were at least a hundred people in the stands. Parents cheering for their kids, coaches yelling at their players, players hanging out with their head phones on, and players’ brothers and sisters running up and down the stands. It was just jammed.
We walked through the gym doors and suddenly it felt like the entire gym went silent. It was as if we were watching a slow motion movie. As we walked in front of the bleachers as we made our way to the change room to get ready for our upcoming game. I saw girls on other teams looking at me and pointing. My coach was walking behind me and squeezed my shoulder from behind and leaned it to tell me something.
“They are talking about you, Stephanie,” he said. “They are looking at you because you are the best player on this team and their coach has told them to watch out for you. Stand tall, my dear. You’ve earned it.”
I already knew my height was an advantage, a coveted trait in the basketball world, but that’s the first time I really felt proud of it. From that day on I have always walked with my shoulders back and my head held high.
I’m still taller than most women, but I’m happy to see that a lot of really tall younger women walk the same way, proud of their height. I feel like I’m one of the ones who broke the mold and let women know it’s OK to be tall. No, scratch that: it’s not just OK to be tall; it’s great to be tall!
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Stephanie uses easy-to-understand principles—simple, relevant, practical solutions for dealing with mediocrity at work, at home and on the athletic field—without quick fix schemes.