Get a Jumpstart on July with this Girl Power Poem

A funny thing happened after my biceps post went live. My sister Abby got an email from her friend Katie, and their conversation went something like this:

Katie: You should see this: It made me think of you! It’s so “Abby.”
Abby: Yup, my sister is a boss.
Katie: What does this have to do with your sister? What are you talking about?
Abby: Kelsey wrote this!

This isn’t the first time Abby and I have been on the same wavelength. In fact, unbeknownst to either of us, I was writing about embracing big biceps while she was working on a girl power poem for a professional development class.


My sister is a total badass when it comes to female empowerment in any arena, but especially when the topic is sports. In fact, she’s a sweaty mess in nearly every photo from our elementary school picture days because she spent her recesses playing soccer with a handful of girls and a whole herd of guys. When a guy in my grade—the grade above hers—kicked her in the shins to prevent her from dribbling past him, she kicked him right back and then hustled even harder to beat him to the ball.

Abby eventually cultivated a less retaliatory leadership style, honed in part as co-captain of her high school soccer and lacrosse teams. She continued with these sports in college, including a three-year stint on the soccer—I mean football—team at the University of East Anglia in England, where she was captain. These days, she plays on two adult soccer teams, coaches middle schoolers, hosts scrimmages for refugee and immigrant children through 4 Worlds United Soccer Alliance, leads an incredibly popular coed Zumba class at the elementary school where she teaches fourth grade, loves her women-only gym (especially the deadlifting class) and rocks Spikeball tournaments like nobody’s business.


All this is to say, she’s an athlete through and through. Oh, and she also happens to be a woman. Turns out she’s got something to say about that (she’s never been one to stay quiet!). So here you go, a girl power poem from my sister, Abby Rotwein.

For My People

For my people

who were chosen last

at recess

and went on to score a hat-trick

only to get chosen last


the next day

For my people

who have heard the “shirts and skins” joke

too many damn times

because a woman in a sports bra

is apparently funny

For my people

who have black toenails

purple thighs

fingernails dug in their arms

hair ripped

ankles clipped

never dive

never complain

but aren’t real athletes

For my people

who are “Weak, you know what I’m sayin’?”

For my people

who get the kids to school on time

work two jobs

do the laundry

pay the bills

cook three meals a day

and still play

For my people

who think Serena looks like a woman

a strong woman

a beautiful woman

who wear makeup when they play

or never wear makeup at all

who might be gay or straight or neither or both or not sure

but always show up ready to run and shove and slide

and always support each other

For my people

who tell their daughters


Yea. You can be scrappy.

Yea. You can talk shit.

Yea. You can have

skinny legs or thick thighs

broad or sloping shoulders

little or big biceps.

Yea. You can be chosen last.

But they know,

and you know,

it’s just cause they can’t handle your strength.

Fitness Trends Move

About Kelsey Schagemann

Kelsey is a former NCAA Division III cross country and track athlete who exchanged sneakers for spin shoes in her twenties. Hailing from the great state of Oregon (by way of St. Louis, where she spent her childhood), Kelsey has made Chicago her home since 2006. She can often be found at the helm of her daughter’s stroller, walking miles throughout the city. Her other favorite fitness activities include spinning, yoga, lifting weights and biking. As a freelance writer, Kelsey works with universities, nonprofits, websites and magazines (visit for more information). In her spare time, she enjoys trying new recipes, traveling with her family and keeping the library in business. Kelsey holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and an MA in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.