Growing up, my favorite breakfast cereal. was Wheaties. I tried all the others – Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran, Coco Puffs – but I always came back to Wheaties. I thought they were delicious. As I would sit at the breakfast table in the morning, munching on my Wheaties and milk, I would do what everyone does — read the box. The sides were all about the ingredients, which I found pretty boring. The front and back were what held my interest. The front usually had one type of athlete or another, and the back usually went into more depth about the athlete or some other kind of promotion.
This was in the early sixties. I never remember a woman ever being on a Wheaties box. When I was young it was Bart Starr, Tim McCarver, Raymond Berry, and Bobby Richardson. I followed sports because of my dad and brother and knew who these men were. They were inspiring and outstanding in their particular sport. But the front of the Wheaties box wasn’t for girls. When I was young, girls weren’t recognized for achievement in sports the way men were. We weren’t really encouraged to participate in sports the way young girls are today. I wish it had been different. I would have loved to play baseball or football, but that just wasn’t what girls did.
I think Samantha Gordon is a hero. She is 9 years old and is the first female football player to be featured on a Wheaties box. I’ve seen the youtube video of her playing football and she is something to watch. She’s faster than any boy her age and out scores all of them. She is fierce. I wonder if I had been looking at her face on a Wheaties box when I was a young girl if my life would have been different in any way.
Change is one step at a time. By being our best selves, our strongest and most inspired selves, we can change the world – like Samantha.