Gender Inequality Within Sports NEEDS To Stop

Gender Inequality Within Sports NEEDS To Stop

One of the males that is on the men’s team at the gym wanted to try out for the women’s gymnastics team at his high school, but he was denied on the basis that he is “too advanced” for the women’s team.
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I walked into work today ready to take on another day of coaching gymnastics. Today was different though because outside of the building were two parked news vans, Channel 2 and Channel 7.

It did look as if they finished whatever they were doing inside the gym and were getting ready to leave. I walked into the building with cautious steps not knowing what to expect, but everything was normal. I asked the gym’s office personnel what was going on; why were there news stations here? She proceeded to tell me that one of the males that is on the men’s team at the gym wanted to try out for the women’s gymnastics team at his high school, but he was denied on the basis that he is “too advanced” for the women’s team. In other words, he is much stronger than the woman on any school gymnastics team. This was a story worthy to news reporters, so they came to the gym to interview him and his coach.

Not too long ago, 10 years give or take, Boys Gymnastics did exist through the public-school system. The school system then decided that there weren’t enough boys doing gymnastics and trying out to have schools compete against each other, so Boys Gymnastics was cut. However, to compensate for this, boys could try out for the Girls Gymnastics team up until a couple of years ago. Now, this single male is challenging the system by getting a platform to bring the issue to a larger audience.

Even though this topic is an issue within itself because the school system is restraining this male from doing something that he loves and wants to showcase, this story is addressing a much larger issue: gender inequality.

While there are sports that are co-ed, the majority of sports within the school system and leagues are not. There is a single straight line down the middle; if you’re a male, you go on the boy’s team, or if you’re a female, you go on the girl’s team. That’s it. Usually, schools do have teams for both sexes under the same sport, such as basketball and soccer; however, what happens to the athletes when their school lacks their sex's team, like the male at my gym?

There are arguments for either sex. If a male joins a female’s team, then it’s not going to be fair because the male is going to be much stronger than the women he’s competing against, so naturally, he’s going to win every time. On the flip side, if a female joins a male’s team, then it’s not going to be fair because the woman is going to hold the team back.

In both situations, it depicts women to be the weaker link. It’s true that males are naturally stronger than females, but should that be a valid argument to denying an individual to try out for a team of their opposite sex?

Being an athletic female myself and living within the 21st century, it hurts me to know that these topics are still an issue. It’s upsetting to know that society still views females as a weaker sex. By denying this male access to the Girls Gymnastics team, the school system isn’t just denying this male, but they are telling women that they are not good enough; they are not strong enough; they cannot beat a male.

No, the system should allow this young man to join the team and tell the women that yes, you can beat him. You have the strength and you have the power. They should be telling these young women that they can push forward and come out on top. They shouldn’t be backing down to a potential challenge. The system should be encouraging the women to say, “bring it on.”

It’s the school system and issues like these that make young women feel like they aren’t good enough or strong enough. It’s issues like these that make women still feel inferior. In times like this, it disappoints me that women are still not fully equal to men after all the progress women have made in the past.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.
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With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed.

So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes.

The problem these days in the cheerleading world is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team, the chances of her being on level 4 next year are slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude.

Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level-4 tumblers but have level-2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete.

Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins Worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time.

What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10-year-old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes.

Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

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UFC 241: Showtime For Nate Diaz

The Long-Awaited Grudge Match Has Been Made

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Former UFC Lightweight Champion and Former WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis gets himself an opponent he has been waiting for since he was sitting at the throne in the UFC's Lightweight division. Coming off of a knockout of the year candidate after he knocked out top welterweight contender Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson with a flying superman hook is booked in a fight that could very well be the fight of the year. It was announced that the returning Nate Diaz will meet Anthony "Showtime" Pettis in the Co-Main Event slot at UFC 241 in the welterweight division.

The long-awaited return of Nate Diaz is finally here after he was originally supposed to make his octagon return back at UFC 230 when he was expected to face the now interim UFC Lightweight Champion Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier, but that fell through after Dustin suffered a hip injury. After that, there was no news of any kind of return aside from Dana White saying the Diaz Brothers turn down fights.

On Ariel Helwani's mix martial arts show he had Anthony "Showtime" Pettis as a guest as Anthony really broke down how much he is looking forward to this fight. He also detailed how he will already be heading into fight camp even though the fight is on August 17th because that is how much he wants to knock out Nate Diaz. There always have been some kind of dispute between these 2 fighters so it will be interesting to see what would be said at the press conference if the UFC decides to hold on for UFC 241.

Since entering the UFC Anthony "Showtime" Pettis has stacked up 8 fight bonuses with the amazing performances he continues to put on. The former UFC Lightweight champion also has 9 wins in the organization with wins over huge names like Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, Charles Oliveria, Jeremy Stephens, and now since entering the welterweight division former title challenger Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. Anthony "Showtime" Pettis is looking to become a serious title contender in the UFC 170 pound division as he will meet the huge obstacle that is Stockton, California's own Nate Diaz.

Many were unclear and speculated if Nate Diaz was going to return. Including, who his potential opponent would be. Everyone was under the assumption that the only way that Nate Diaz would make his return to the octagon would be that 3rd fight with "The Notorious" Conor Mcgregor. Nate Diaz who become the first person to finish Conor Mcgregor in the UFC is also coming off of a loss to Conor Mcgregor in their rematch leaving both of them with 1 win and 1 loss against one another. It was even shocking when the UFC announced last year that Nate was gonna return against Dustin in the lightweight division.

At UFC 241 Nate Diaz will be returning to the welterweight division is a bout that will be huge as the main event is the rematch between former UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and the current UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel "D.C." Cormier in a rematch that has been way too far overdue.

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