The Positive Psychology behind Women in Sports

Julia Flaherty

jflah017@uwsp.edu

In the university’s title nine series of General Education Access Opportunities, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point presented Jeana Magyar-Moe in “The Psychological Effects of Participation in Sports for Girls and Women,” on Jan. 28.

Photo courtesy of uwsp.edu. Psychology Professor Jenna Magyar-Moe presented a lecture about how sports involvement effects self-esteem.

Photo courtesy of uwsp.edu.
Psychology Professor Jenna Magyar-Moe presented a lecture about how sports involvement effects self-esteem.

Despite Magyar-Moe’s lecture being cut short by a surprise evacuation in the Dreyfus University Center where the lecture had been held, her point was still clear: motivate and encourage positivity.

Taylor Douglas, a basketball player for the UWSP women’s basketball team, was excited about the event before it began. Douglas said that she had previously taken a class with Magyar-Moe called “Pursuit of Happiness” that is offered to students as a First Year Seminar. From the positive experience Douglas had with the class, she felt encouraged to attend.

Andrea Davis, a coach of women’s basketball at UWSP, was inspired to see what she could learn.

“I wanted to see what I could bring back to my girls,” said Davis.

Davis, like others who attended, aspired to achieve what Magyar-Moe

brought to the table, which was a positive image for women in sports.

Magyar-Moe was introduced by an impressive list of her titles including a Ph.D in Psychology, an author, a five-time recipient of the UWSP Mentor Award, and many other roles.

Although the purpose of her address was to convey information about women in sports, she maintained a gender neutral tone and administered relative messages to a broad group.

Her overall message involved the encouragement of women to join athletics for more than just the sport. She noted multiple benefits including positive self concept, possible reduction of anxiety or depression, as well as increased alertness and energy. Magyar-Moe addressed several other relevant concepts with compassion and principal.

Her message encompassed a range of emotion, beginning with sports, then entwining with positive psychology.Topics covered were vast, yet understandable and appreciable.

Magyar-Moe’s message was not passive. Her message requires action and not just the motion of a basketball being bounced along a court, but action toward emotional positivity. Magyar-Moe gave many real life

examples to ponder, but the real inquiry of these questions was whether or not we could follow through in answering them encouragingly.

Due to the sudden evacuation, Magyar-Moe said, “Well this hasn’t happened before.” As irrelevant as it may sound, the subtext behind this statement was too resounding to leave behind.

The power to instill positive thought processes in young women’s views toward sport participation and our ability to deliver this message hasn’t happened like this before. One might think it is time to touchdown, slam dunk, and score.

 

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