Ms. Magazine: The Power of Being Picked


Thank you Ms. Magazine and Carmen Rios for publishing my article, “The Power of Being Picked!”
The Power of Being Picked

When I was a little girl, I was never picked for sports. Ever. I couldn’t even play tetherball. I was clumsy, but I never knew why—until I learned, in my forties, that I had a treatable eye condition that destined me to be bad at sports.

But not every girl who never found her way in sports suffered from medical malaise. Many of the girls who grew up alongside me in the U.S. never knew the power of being part of a team—until Title IX became law on February 28, 1972.

Senator Birch Bayh and Rep. Patsy Mink re-introduced the provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that would eventually become Title IX. “This amendment,” Bayh said in a speech on the floor, “is an important first step in the effort to provide for the women of America something that is rightfully theirs: an equal chance to attend the schools of their choice, to develop the skills they want and to apply those skills with the knowledge that they will have a fair chance to secure the jobs of their choice with equal pay for equal work.”

The amendment was short, simple and so important: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Title IX’s opponents claimed they were concerned that the new law, and any increase in athletic opportunity for women and girls, would steal funds and opportunities from men and boys.

When there is a change, there is often concern about what will be lost, instead of what will be found.

But I’ve seen what magic can happen when we believe in individuals and support them in all of their abilities. I’ve seen a blind woman ski and a wounded warrior in a wheelchair race down the mountain in a bi-ski.

I watched as talented instructors at the National Ability Center shared their knowledge with a group of intrepid trainers from across the world seeking to expand athletic opportunities for people with disabilities.

After the Olympics in South Korea, instructors from the NAC ski team—including Saylor O’Brien, a 14-year-old athlete with spina-bifida who is the youngest member of the Paralympic development Ski Team—trained 40 South Korean instructors who are creating the first South Korean Sports Disability Association in how to use adaptive ski equipment. Their second training session took place in January, and their third was just last month.

After Rep. Mink’s death in 2002, Title IX was renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act. Being with the NAC team reminded me of the lasting impact of her work, and how it has provided women with more opportunity and all of us with more community.

I was proud that I could bear witness to the work NAC is doing to ensure that everyone who wants to ski, snowboard and experience outdoor sports has access to trained and talented instructors who believe that we all can—no matter what our gender, age or ability.

As Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Video with my South Korean friends:

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.6 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.6 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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