“Dear Girls with Game” – Hannah James

dear girls with game

Dear Girls with Game,

I still remember the pressure weighing on my chest and the nerves tingling through my fingers as I would get into my starting blocks just before the gun would go off for a race. In that moment of silence, the thoughts of the task set before you run through your head and the determination sets into your mind, then the gun goes off, and you take off sprinting full speed ahead over the hurdle to get to the finish line.

There will always be hurdles in your life and how you handle those situations will determine your future. “One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things,” is a quote from one of my favorite books written by Charlie Mackesy. There will be moments in your life when people will wait to see how you react so they can either use it against you or applaud you for it.

Growing up, I was favored to win one of my races for the 300m hurdles. I started off feeling great as I flew over the hurdles, rounded the bend, and had two left to go. I was fighting for first until I wasn’t, and I was face down on the track. I had briefly looked over my shoulder and at that moment my trail leg hit, and I fell. The runners ran past me as I quickly got back up and finished the race. I felt so defeated and so mad at myself because I did the one thing my track coach said not to do — don’t look back, keep your eyes forward. It was my fault that I fell, and I knew it. How I handled myself and my reaction to that situation would determine how people saw me handle defeat. Would I scream and make a scene, or would I congratulate the winner and take some time to review what I did so it wouldn’t happen again? I chose the latter. A year later I would have my redemption in my very last race at the district meet for the 4×4 race. My team would receive seventh in our district and knowing the journey that got us there made it all the more sweeter.

Hannah James and her team after the 4x4 relay

Always keep your eyes forward. Never look back at what might’ve been. Review past mistakes but don’t linger on them, instead, correct them, and keep moving forward. Setbacks aren’t failures, they’re opportunities to go in another direction. Celebrate the small victories, but never stop continuing to better yourself. Admit when you’re wrong but hold fast to the truth and don’t be afraid to get back up and finish the race.

How you measure success is not by trophies, medals, words of praise, or how you are treated. How you measure success is the feeling inside you, knowing that you gave everything you had and put all that you are into something, and you feel that sense of pride that no one can ever take from you. Hold on tight to that feeling so that when you cross your finish line, you will know it was your hard work and the people who supported you that put you on that podium.


Hannah James, Little League Video Production Manager

Hannah James with her father

gwg50 color spacer

NOTEThe “Dear Girls with Game” letter series is a piece of the #GWG50 Celebration in 2024, with written letters from staff members from Little League International focused at inspiring the next generation of Girls with Game. To learn more about this initiative, visit LittleLeague.org/GWG50. The #GWG50 celebration is proudly supported by DICK’S Sporting Goods, a long-time Little League partner that is committed to creating opportunities for girls and women in sports and will be activating around key events and milestones this year.