“Why should girls have to be ‘one of the boys’ just to be taken seriously?”
When I was thinking about ladies to launch my new series “We’re Not Here Just To Have Fun,” there was no better choice than this girl. Beyond being my best friend, she’s always been a serious athlete and fierce competitor. Now she coaches volleyball and softball to the next generation of kick-butt ladies, and I know from experience that she’s a hell of a woman to look up to.
Caitlin is both one of the most intense people I know, and the goofiest. This photo is one of my favorites of her.
Things get simpler when you’re playing the game. You can put all of yourself into what you’re doing in that moment, and at the end leave it all there when it’s over. Caitlin was always the player that left it all on the field.
Writing being one of her many talents, I knew she’d have some great things to say about what it’s like to be a girl in sports. She’s seen it from the athlete’s perspective and she sees it in her players.
I asked Cait what being an athlete meant to her.
“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 she thinks being a girl in sports has changed since she was growing up:
“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?”
Cait has always been an athlete, and she always will be, regardless of how much she plays the game. The determination and inner fighter means she’ll tackle anything that comes her way the same way she snipes a runner stealing second, or throws her body to the floor to pop up a ball on serve-receive: with everything she’s got.
Interested in being part of the series? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.