Home » An Interview with Michael and Dr. Doreen Greenberg

An Interview with Michael and Dr. Doreen Greenberg

Wrote Inspiring Book Series On Female Athletes

The Anything You Can Do... series is unprecedented in its concept of offering real stories of new heroes to young girls. The premise of the series is to profile a variety of young athletes, from a variety of ethnic, socio-economic, geographical and family backgrounds who have grown up to achieve excellence in Olympic and professional sports.

Dr. Doreen Greenberg is a certified consultant in sports psychology and has worked with school, college, professional and Olympic athletes from a variety of sports. She was a primary author of Physical Activity and Sport in the Lives of Girls (1997), a report for the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Sport in America (Oryx Press, 1998), and editor of Sport in the Lives of Urban Girls (Women's Sports Foundation, 1999).

Michael A. Greenberg is a former English teacher and a retired business executive. He and his wife, Doreen, live in New Jersey with their three dogs. They have two grown daughters.

An Interview with the Greenbergs

What inspired you to write this series?

A few years ago, at a family celebration in North Carolina, I was introduced to a family with a lovely 12-year old daughter. She was charming, outgoing, self-assured and crazy about softball. Upon discovering that I was a consultant in sport psychology, the parents were very anxious to find out how to solve a new dilemma in their lives. Their daughter , whose life had revolved around sports, was beginning to miss practices and lose enthusiasm for her team participation. It seemed that her friends did not think it was "cool" to be an athlete. She was even called a "dyke jock" by a few of them.

This was a story that I was very familiar with. Through my work with the Women's Sports Foundation, I knew that six times as many girls drop out of sports as their male counterparts. It is quite prevalent at puberty. My husband, Michael, was quite shocked, however. After all, here was a girl whose family was very supportive of her athleticism, she was successful and had many happy experiences with her teammates. He thought of his youth and living for sports and the stories of sports heroes. He decided to go to the local bookstore and see was available for girls. He was surprised, with all the recent successes in women's sports that there were so few books for girls about sports and athletes. It was then that we decided to create a series for girls to read and follow.

It was important to us that they be true stories about real female heroes.

Why is it important for girls to have women to look up to?

Girls, as well as boys, need something to attach their dreams to. Boys have always had their heroes right out there - in books and the media for everyone to admire. Even some of the successful female athletes that I know have had role models that were men. It is very interesting to me, how Nancy Lieberman-Cline idolized the guys on the New York Knicks and now she is a role model for young girls.

So today, we have Mia Hamm, Serena Williams, Jenny Thompson, and Cynthia Cooper out there in the public eye. We need to let girls find out what makes these women tick. How as little girls they too had dreams and went after them, in spite of many obstacles. It is very important for girls to hear about their struggles and accomplishments. Girls really do need their own heroes-strong, powerful, determined and yes, even sometimes sweaty, heroes.

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