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Peggy Kusinski, NBC-5 sports reporter, on empowering girls through athletics

NBC-5's Peggy Kusinski

NBC-5's Peggy Kusinski

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Updated: December 17, 2013 3:28PM

The sign-up sheet was taped to the outside glass on the gym door. It read: “Basketball tryouts today after school.” I ran home to ask my mom if I could try out, and before she said yes, I was already out the door, running back across the street to the school gym above the bowling alley.

But 10 minutes later, I was back home again. “I can’t try out,” I told my mother. “They said only boys play sixth-grade basketball. I have to wait until next year.” I was crushed.

The next year, though, I did try out. I persisted, and it paid off. I became an All-City Chicago player, and earned a spot on the coveted Illinois All-State team. As a result, I gained recognition throughout my school days. But more importantly, playing basketball built my confidence. I loved the camaraderie. I learned what it took to win.

Because of my experience on the basketball court, once I entered the male-dominated broadcasting industry, I never felt intimidated. Despite the intensity of the competition, especially in sports broadcasting, I was prepared to face it. Whether it was competing for a job or competing for an interview with Chicago’s sports stars, I had the confidence I needed.

Today, I look at girls across Chicago, and I see they still do not have the same opportunities as I did back in the mid-1970s, even 35 years after Title IX. That’s why I have such a passion for Girls in the Game, a local nonprofit organization that provides and promotes sports and fitness opportunities in the city’s less fortunate neighborhoods. Girls in the Game puts a keen focus on nutrition, health education and leadership development to enhance the overall health and well-being of Chicago’s girls.

I am privileged to have joined the organization’s board of directors, and do what I can to support and help lead the cause. This is the largest generation of girls in our history — and I want to help by being there for them today.

There are a few ways you can support Girls in the Game. Attend an upcoming evening at the Evanston Bottle & Bottega, a fantastic art and wine studio where groups of friends, couples and business colleagues can let loose and paint. The spot is hosting evenings that will benefit the organization, and the next one is Dec. 10.

Also, Girls in the Game is hosting a celebration on Wednesday to benefit the organization’s Charity Race Team, a group of male and female professionals who run races in Chicago to fundraise. We need your help — and more importantly, so do Chicago’s young women.

To sign up for the Dec. 10 event, visit To attend the Nov. 20 event and learn more about Girls in the Game, visit

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