How the Introduction of the Individual into a Non-traditional Sport for His or Her Gender Affects t

1429 Words6 Pages
How the Introduction of the Individual into a Non-traditional Sport for His or Her Gender Affects that Individual and the Sport Itself A high school age boy makes the papers when he joins the girls' varsity field hockey team at his high school. A woman is judged according to femininity rather than muscle mass in a body building competition. An African American is thought inferior to his white counterparts on the sports field. A woman is discouraged from playing contact sports under the pretext of being too delicate. All of these events have one thing in common: they, in their own context, involve individuals entering a non-traditional sport for their gender or race. Over the years, events such as these continually arise causing either…show more content…
After all, I myself would have been surprised if a boy showed up on the field one day wearing a skirt like the rest of the team and expecting to play in the game. Part of the problem is that it is so uncommon. People are afraid of things that they've never seen or done. Non-traditional athletes in certain sports are partially unaccepted due to the fact that they are a first. This is part of the reason why Bev (from Pumping Iron II), was so unaccepted by the judges of the women's bodybuilding contest: the judges were disgusted by her muscularity. "Images of muscular women... are disconcerting, even threatening... [she was a] threat to established values." (Holmlund 302) There is a first for everything, but firsts are always hard to accept and integrate into society. There was, for instance, a single female member of the wrestling team at my high school. It was something that we'd all heard of happening at other high schools, but was never something that we'd anticipated coming to our high school. She was seen as being strange: butch, unlady-like, even ugly. I never gave her more than a thought because I felt the same. In this context however, of non-traditional athletes in sports, I see how hard she must have worked to overcome the obstacle of being the social outcast due to her perceived peculiarity. Wrestling must have been something that she loved to do. If I can respect women like Martina Navratilova or Tony Stone for being pioneer women in
Open Document