What does it mean to play like a girl? That’s the question a new television spot airing in Texas explores. One of its stars, a UT-Arlington student, says playing like a girl helped make her dreams come true.
For Josie Aslakson, basketball is more than just a game. It’s a life changer.
“I never thought I’d be playing a college sport,” said Aslakson, who is a freshman at UT-Arlington. “If you’d asked me 10 years ago, I’d be like, what?”
A car crash left Aslakson paralyzed from the waist down when she was 5 years old. She thought any chance of her living a normal, active life was gone.
"I told myself, 'I'm in a wheelchair. I can’t play sports,'" said Aslakson.
But then she found wheelchair basketball, and now she’s on scholarship playing for the Lady Movin Mavs wheelchair basketball team at UTA.
“I’ve gained so much confidence through basketball,” said Aslakson. “When I started out, I was shy. I was just very not confident. But now I feel like I can do anything.”
Now, she’s sharing that message in a brand new campaign by “Play Like a Girl,” an organization that works to empower girls through sports. She and other athletes, including two Olympians, are featured in a TV spot that’s now airing throughout North Texas.
Play Like a Girl says it was important for the campaign to highlight female athletes of all shapes, sizes, and abilities, which is why they approached Aslakson about joining them.
“I was a little nervous because I had never done anything like that before,” Aslakson. “But it worked out. It was a cool thing to be part of that process.”
In the ad, Aslakson encourages girls to “go fast” because that’s what they’re meant to do.
“There’s a lot of things that can get your self-confidence down, especially as a girl, because you’re already insecure,” said Aslakson. “But you just can’t let anything like that stop you from doing what you want to do.”
She hasn’t, and she hopes the ad will help other girls see they don’t have to either.
View the full ad below: