By Allison Steele, Staff Writer
The player runs up the field and past the defense. She shoots, she scores! It is a goal by Abby Wambach. She is such a strong player. She was told she could not make a name for herself in sports.
Like many other females playing a “masculine” sport like soccer or baseball, she was told it was a rough road ahead of her. Because of inspiring female players like Abby Wambach or Hope Solo who are soccer players on the U.S. National Team, more females are gradually joining the once called “masculine” sports.
It took several years before the majority of the population had more progressive views on female joining sports. At first, it was unthinkable for a women play a sport. There were riots in the streets saying the women’s place is in the kitchen, not a field. Thankfully times have changed.
According to the University of Michigan’s assistant professor of sport management’s research on Newswise, “the gender bias gap in sport may be decreasing, but likely still exists”. Kathryn Heinze agrees that strong and successful women athletes will help diminish the gap even further. In her research, only 37 percent of parents held traditional beliefs. They did not approve of the cost for their daughters and 45 percent of those parents did not want their daughters to take part in a sport. PLOS has done a research on gender differences in sports. The result of their study was, “females comprised 28 percent of those who participated in individual sports and 20 percent of those who participated in team sports”. It is no surprise that the females are in the minority.
Like everywhere else, Olivet has athletes and nonathletic girls. Many of the girls who play sports were highly encouraged from their parents to join for various reasons. Parents wanted their daughters to get involved and be active. Many of the daughters were progressive and joined on their own anyways. They enjoy the community and the bonds that a team brings. They loved staying active. Even Carlie Fernandez who said her mother made her join because she didn’t want any fat kids ended up enjoying her sport very much and continues to play now. Some would see an athlete and automatically think she is a tomboy, but many of them do not consider themselves tomboys or preppy girls. They enjoyed playing and wearing athletic clothes, but like Kayla Hedgren says, “I still like putting on dresses,” and she was not the only one. It is possible to be pretty and athletic.
Only a few considered themselves tomboys and only one athlete, Madison Nelson, considered herself preppy, “because I always wear pink”. Many of the nonathletic girls were not encouraged to play sports. They were not told they could not play, they just never did.
The one that wanted to join a team really bad eventually got the chance, but did not stick with it. Her parents did not want her to join because of her asthma, but joining helped with her breathing techniques. Others thought it would be fun, but focused on their school work more than sports. One chose to join band instead because she hated running, but she wanted a sense of community.
Most find the idea of traditional beliefs out dated. Sports can be a fun way to stay active and make friends. A bond a team shares is special. Progressive beliefs are becoming the norm, and more females are joining the fun.