WE'RE NOT HERE JUST TO HAVE FUN
A SERIES BY MARY POLLEYS
BECCA, 15 - PITCHER
"Playing sports shows my personality and what I do best. I'm a whole different person when I'm playing. At school, I'm serious and don't talk and then I get out here on the field and it's all-out"
On being underestimated by the boys:
"A lot of guys think I can't do things, or that they can do them better, just because I'm a girl... until I prove them wrong."
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SARAH, 15 - FIRST SINGLES
“I feel like in a match, I can just put myself out there, play the sport, and focus on what I'm doing. I'm confident when I'm playing.
It has opened me up to new people and I've become less shy - a lot less shy - than I used to be.”
On what's like to be 15 and an athlete:
"It's kind of hard sometimes, balancing school and trying to study with having practices every day and always trying to get better at the sport. It was also a little intimidating at first, going up against a bunch of older girls, but I ended up being the number one player on my team. I made friends with my teammates quickly and it seemed to give me opportunities to meet people that I wouldn't have met otherwise. A lot of people at school know me as 'the girl who is good at tennis.'"
EMILIA, 8 - SHORT STOP
"Sports come easy to me, easier than some other things.
I played up with the fifth graders when I was a first grader, and that made me feel like I could do anything."
On what's different about being a girl in sports:
"Just that anything a boy can do, a girl can do better."
CAITLIN, 28 - CATCHER, COACH
"Being a female athlete has always given me a sense of pride and confidence that I don’t think I would have possessed otherwise. Playing sports was my purpose growing up and it formed a huge part of my identity."
On how being a girl in sports has changed:
"One word: Pink. When I was playing sports in high school, we would scoff at any girl who dared show up with a pink glove or pink cleats. Pink represented femininity - and femininity and sports did not mix. We were tough, not girly. Then, one day while I was working at Sports Authority, a father came in asking if we had any pink football cleats for his 11-year- old daughter, the only girl on the team. I was a bit surprised by this, figuring she would want to blend in and be 'one of the boys.' When I asked him, he said 'She wants to wear pink cleats so that when she makes a tackle, the boys know they got tackled by a girl.'
It finally dawned on me: Why can’t girls embrace their femininity and athleticism simultaneously?
Why should girls have to be 'one of the boys' just to be taken seriously?"