Future generations should pursue sport careers

It’s up the next generation of female athletes to continue the work women have been doing for years

KATIE ARCHER, Evergreen reporter

Because I was born during a Monday Night Football game, sports and I were destined to be together.

I grew up seeing women working in sports. It was possible for me to dream of being a professional athlete. While it was unlikely that I would play sports past high school, it was possible for me to still consider a career in sports.

Unfortunately, most women before me did not experience that, and I am thankful that girls growing up now will have a greater exposure to careers in sports than I did as a child.

As a child I remember seeing sportscaster Erin Andrews. Now, there are even more women in different roles throughout sports. Broadcasters and athletes like Beth Mowins, Jessica Mendoza, Samantha Ponder, Maria Taylor and Alex Morgan inspire me.

Women and girls belong in sports. For women and girls to stay in sports, we need the next generations to believe that.

Seeing women in sports, in all roles, will help girls believe they belong there. I hope the younger generation will not let the negative comments they see on social media, or hear from men, stop them from pursuing sports.

I know how hard misogyny can be to ignore. When I was in middle school, I had a male basketball coach tell the team of girls that he likes to coach boys more because they worked harder.

Girls work just as hard as boys, and there a million other things middle school girls could do other than play basketball. If middle school girls show up to practice, it is because they want to be there.

That was the last year I played basketball. I am not proud that I let his sexism affect me. I loved playing basketball, but I was so discouraged by the coach’s derogatory comments.

Looking back I wish I made a different choice, but I’m glad I remember that experience because it has helped me moving forward.

Today, I won’t let bigotry stop me from doing what I want. I have experienced misogyny from women just as often as men. Scumbags are out there, but I have far more positive people in my life. So, start building your support system now because on the bad days you will need it.

Don’t be afraid to take risks or be afraid to fail. This is something I am guilty of doing. As a woman, I think I can’t afford to fail because my failure will be viewed as a product of my gender instead of human error. That, of course, is ridiculous. People fail all the time and failing leads to improvement.

Comparing myself to other women is something else I am guilty of doing. This practice is toxic. It’s important to remember that everyone has a different path to success. There is not a universal example of success because that is defined by an individual.

Please, don’t tear down your fellow women in sports. We get enough of that from men. Let’s not do this to each other. We are all on the same team.

To the next generations, do not be afraid to seek a career in sports. It is up to you to continue the work that women before you did because you belong in sports.