Like a Girl
This morning, Charlee and I showed up at the church gym to cheer on daddy as he played a basketball game.
Branden’s team was down a player, and I can play basketball. Branden suggested that I join the team, and I watched as some of the men shifted, some accepted, and some grimaced. Playing with a girl?
One of the men, stooped over putting his basketball shoes on, said, “Well, if we can’t get five guys we might as well start trying to get girls to play.”
I lifted my eyebrows, looked directly at him, and said, “might as well?” loud enough for everyone within the room to hear.
He caught on, laughing nervously and playing it off. I immediately said to Branden in Portuguese, “I don’t want to play with this guy,” to which he responded, “I get that.” There was an immediate assumption that I was going to play basketball “like a girl,” which phrase we can use interchangeably with “worse” in this case.
I ended up playing, because I wanted to play and I’m actually pretty good, not great but pretty good, and I played while my baby crawled around on the sideline. I asked the opposing team to play hard against me, and they did. I got swatted a few times, and I had a few great steals. I played good defense. And not that I was keeping score or anything, but I scored more points than that guy.
Women are as individual as men. Please do not make assumptions about me.
How does it make sense to assume that because someone is a woman, she cannot possibly play basketball as good as say, a middle-aged, out-of-shape man? And how does it make sense to assume that men can lift heavy things while women cannot? It doesn’t, but I’m still picked hesitantly to play for a team, and eyes still skip over me when looking for “strong hands” to help.
I am as individual as you, with strengths and weaknesses. Being a women does not make me weak and it does not make me strong. Let me decide what I am.
I am a mother and a creator and I like to play basketball. I can lift heavy things. I am a woman, a mother, a creator, an athlete, and I am strong.
In order to compete though, I need opportunities to compete–so give them freely.
And then if I am not keeping up, cut me from the team.
I want my daughter to hear the phrase “like a girl” and know that that phrase connotes strength and individuality, not weakness or inferiority. Because girls can do, well, pretty cool things.
See stats from basketball game today.