Being a Woman in a Male Dominated Sport
The first documented athletic competitions began in a land of myths, in a time of kings, ancient Greece. These widely popular sporting, social, and cultural events sadly did not allow women to attend them, let alone compete. Although we have come a long way towards inclusivity in sports, it continues to be a work in progress.
A relevant question would be: "Well, what changed?" I don’t mean girls being allowed to attend physical education classes because, let's face it, some of us would rather not. For others, like Emma Brodeur, a Dawson blue athlete in a male-dominated sport, a passion for sports is encouraged, but there is still much change to be had.
Sport has always been one of Emma's biggest passions. She previously played soccer for a few years but, after giving baseball a shot, she fell in love with it. Now, she is a member of Dawson's baseball team, playing in the center-field position. She happens to be the only girl on the team and, while playing baseball brings her an incredible amount of joy, reaching this goal was quite a ride.
Emma was happy to share that the current team is very supportive and she gets along with all of her teammates wonderfully, but it wasn't always like this. She spoke of an event that opened her eyes to the difficulties of being a woman in a male-dominated sport and the stigma that comes with it. A while back she was supposed to be a substitute for a different team and while the coach wanted her on the field, rightfully calling her their best bet, the rest of the guys on the team had a rather passive-aggressive and judgemental attitude towards her. Despite the negative experience, it only made her want to be better and prove that she is just as capable as her male peers.
"When I started playing baseball, I would often be told things like, 'Don't worry if you miss. It's normal. You're a girl.' I was able to see early on that, often, there are lower expectations for girls and a condescending attitude. We have to work twice as hard to earn the same level of credibility. So, I know it can be really hard sometimes and people can say very mean stuff to you but the most important thing is to constantly work and improve your skills no matter what anyone says," Emma shared.
Emma pointed out that she has seen many girls quit baseball because there often aren't any more women's teams after a certain age, and the constant pressure to prove yourself as deserving of a place on the men's team broke many good female players. Emma added, "I really think that having a women's baseball team would make many girls interested in joining."
When the conversation touched upon inspiring female athletes, Emma confessed that when she thinks of someone who motivated her to be better, she doesn't think of anyone famous. Emma explained, "I don't have an athlete that inspires me. I get inspired by all the girls out there who push through every day and come out on top, against all odds. It's not about a few successful people, it's a collective effort to destroy this still-existing prejudice that girls don't play sports as well. So, I am simply inspired by everyone who does their best.”
I don't know about you, but I unquestionably got inspired to learn how to swing a bat, if not for baseball, then for other nonetheless exciting adventures.