I recently wrote an essay for a competition put out by the selfless people at Nike Women’s. This competition sprang from their Let Me Play Fund, which generously awards prizes and money to female sports teams across the country.
I accidentally ran into this while surfing the Web and decided to give it a shot. I finished my essay and sent it in to Nike. Then I thought, well, while I am trying to win money for my team, I might as well share it with my community (the people who could really make a difference for us) and maybe they will learn some things they don’t know about female athletes and from now on, support all female sports teams, which they deserve!
So the following is my effort to show support for all female athletes by helping Nike to let us play! Wish me luck with the competition!
Just the same as everywhere in the world, women’s sports in the U.S. and their female athletes, are still underestimated, underrated and miscalculated. Of course, I am aware that female sports have made huge advances in popularity and participation since the 1940s when the only sport women were playing was ‘clean and sweep.’ The problem I see with female sports these days is the lack of recognition from everyone else not directly involved with these remarkable female teams.
Everyday, the girls of my incredible family, the Diamond Duster 18U fast-pitch softball team, have to go through their practices and games being second best to the boys, knowing few other people besides their teammates and opponents respect and realize their talents. Only those who surround themselves with our sport totally understand.
Everyday, my girls turn on ESPN and see only Major League Baseball games or college baseball. Never do my girls turn on the TV and see non-stop coverage of their sport (not until the World Series at least, thanks, when there’s one week of televised fast pitch). Never do they see their role models, their heroines.
Though we all seem to have gotten a bit used to this reoccurring content, none of us agree with it or want it to continue any longer.
“Why do they get so much attention? We have a better record!” “Why are they being televised? Our sport is more difficult!” (Don’t believe me? Go on the Web and search “Sports Science: Jennie Finch Myth.”) “Why do they get press? We don’t use steroids!”
My girls’ ask these questions every time they see the boys and men being praised for whatever they did, and us girls still being ignored.
But my girls have hope in their eyes every time that they see companies like Nike who make such a huge effort to campaign for women’s sports. Finally, somebody believes in us and will do just about anything to see us succeed. Winning this competition will do more than just fund my team’s expenses for the season; it will make every female athlete in my community have faith that someone still believes in them and that their efforts are not going to be ignored any longer.
Hannah McCluskey is a senior at Kingston High School. When she’s not writing, she’s playing fast-pitch softball.