By: Sage Watson
Women helping women is the only way forward. I’m in the gym working out and I see this girl running on the treadmill and I want to her if she keeps running on her toes like that she’s going to have serious leg issues. . . then I stop myself. Who am I to judge? I may be a professional track athlete, but I am not her coach, I’m not her training partner.
All of us are guilty of judging one another or—worse—talking behind one another’s back. “Wow… look at how short her running shorts are…” Or: “Is it really necessary that she wears a crop top to workout in?” I am guilty, you may be guilty and this needs to STOP. As women, we face too many issues in society (lack of women in sports, equal pay, lack of media coverage) to not have each other’s back. I’m not just talking about hyping up your friends. I’m talking about in public, the workplace, after you get your butt handed to you in a race. It’s important to support one another instead of judging or criticizing.
After all my races in high school I would shake my opponent’s hands. It was the sportsmanship thing to do whether you win or lose I was taught. I also loved doing it because before the race “all bets are off,” but after we can come together as women who have something in common and be thankful that we have competitors to race against. When I went to the NCAA in University it was a whole different ball game. I remember going to shake the others girl’s hands and they looked at me in disgust! So for awhile I did the same: I didn’t shake hands. Then after one of my races a girl came up and shook my hand. It caught me off guard and from that moment on I told myself no matter what I’m going to shake my competitors hands (even if that means getting rejected). Even at the Olympic games, world championships and Diamond League races, I shake my competitor’s hands. Having gratitude for your competitors after a race is a way better feeling than having jealousy.
Jealousy is natural when you see others doing better than you or doing the same amount of work, but getting further ahead. The same thing comes to training partners and co-workers.
I’ve experienced the best and worst when it comes to training partners and it’s easy at the beginning of training to be supportive for one another, but when it comes to competing and your partner kicks your butt, how do you react? Calling her the “B” word may be the easier thing. Or we may cough up an excuse like, “Well, she did have a few extra training sessions,” or “She was in a better position than me in the race.”
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything; don’t make up an excuse and feel the need to tell everyone. They won because it was their day to win, not yours. Support the women you compete against, be grateful for the chance to race, and move on.
Women, we need to stop the criticizing, being jealous and judging one another. We are in this world together and for us to get things like equal pay, more women in sports, more coverage of women’s sports and stopping the criticism of what we wear to compete or train in, we need to uplift one another. It’s supply and demand. If we demand the uplifting and supporting of more women, the world will supply it. They won’t have a choice.