Change the Game
I established The Girls in the Game Named Scholarship in honor of my mother, Ruth McBride. I would like to tell you a little bit about her and why I chose to create this scholarship.
Ruth endured many hardships right from birth, developing complications that the doctors were sure she would not survive. Somehow she did survive and my grandmother named her Rocca Vita, which in Italian means Rock of Life. This name would later prove to be almost prophetic for me.
At the age of 13, she lost her mother, and the Park District, with all of its sports programs, became her safe haven. She excelled in sports and gymnastics, particularly the springboard.
At the age of 26, with two small children, Ruth was stricken with polio. She was completely paralyzed on her left side. Through therapy she was able to walk again, though she never gained use of her left hand. It was attending these therapy sessions with her that I first noticed her helping the children afflicted with polio. I recall one child in particular, would never speak to anyone except her.
She worked long hours as a cashier for the small grocery store on the corner, but still found time to volunteer at our grammar school. And it was there that the principal recognized her unique ability to connect with the special education children. She was hired as a teacher’s aide and spent the next 40 years teaching children with disabilities.
Education was important to her and it was her wish that I go to college. I knew that I needed to help support our family and believed college would come later.
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Ruth with Aaron Rowand
of the Chicago White Sox
College never came for me, but through Girls in the Game, I can help change the game for other girls. Next to family, Ruth had two passions: education and sports. And so, I see Girls in the Game as my opportunity to continue her work. For myself and those children, she positively was our Rock of Life.
With sincere appreciation,