This is an edited version of a post I wrote in 2012 – almost 10 years ago! While the musings are dated (cute little 22 year-old Alex), the sentiment is the same. Enjoy!
I was doing a solo-mission hard run this morning, and I began thinking about the positive influence that sport has on girls. There are a lot of aspects of a young women's development that don’t come from sports, but one that does is confidence. Not any sort of confidence either, but physical confidence. Badass confidence.
Let me explain. Boys are raised to be badass. Yes, this comes with its own pressures (toxic masculinity) and unfair expectations for boys, but as a result, girls are typically less confident than boys. They aren’t expected to be badass, or tough, and often aren’t really expected to face their fears. If a girl doesn’t want to do a sport, most of the time no one really tells her to at least give it an honest shot. This type of girl goes around thinking she is terrible at sports, and she might go on to succeed in different areas, or she might not. However, she never had the opportunity to see what her body was truly capable of.
I don’t want to make it sound like sports help you to be skinny, and therefore give you confidence in your appearance. Athletes come in all different shapes and sizes, and certainly struggle with body image. If, however, you have pushed your body to the limit, and know what it can do, then you can respect it. You can value your body for what it can do for you, rather than what you look like.
Sports help girls to find themselves. Mean girl bullying you? Whatever, you know in the back of your head that “Hey, I can take her” (not saying you would- I’m not advocating violence here!). Sports help girls find their inner badass. I don’t think you can get that from other areas of life. That is why I think sports are important to girls. It is important to be badass.