The other day, my university newspaper released an article exposing a group of men talking about women in an inappropriate way. These women, my close friends and I, were hurt. Had we read these words several years ago, they would have significantly affected our self-esteem.
Times like these remind me of the importance of the work we do. When we write articles exposing these situations, we don’t just report them; we add something of value so we can learn and, ideally, alter our mindsets and actions. As profesoras in this incredible job, we don’t merely come to class to teach girls sports and leave. We come to incite power into their hands, power that society seems to tell them was never there in the first place. If nine times out of ten they fail, their one success demonstrates their abilities. Every time they fall and get back up again, they are reminded of their own strength.
When we ask the girls what they want to be when they’re older, they always say doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and teachers. They seek to help people who can’t help themselves, to defend and heal people, and to inspire young women, as we are doing now. They don’t wish to focus on anything but their aspirations and dreams. We work show them that they can, that no person can infringe on their goals, and especially that nobody should disrespect them. We want them to be rooted in themselves so well that distasteful comments about women won’t affect them.
This is something that the power of sport taught me. This is something that powerful women like my mother and grandmother taught me. Even my dad taught me this through his respect for and support of the women in his life. Lydia and I have the power and privilege to pass these lessons onto our girls.
We won’t take them for granted.