Like an eerie stillness it can steal the wind right out of our sails.
We may be curious, spectating at what could be possible.
We may be starting, shedding our winter wool, edging slowly out of our comfortable repose into a new routine.
We may even be wholeheartedly committed, yet when we glance in the mirror, there is a strange imposter staring back.
Fear creeps up and stops us dead in our tracks.
Our brains begin to analyze. At what point are we safe? Safe, not in the sense of our being, but in the sense of our spirit.
When are we accepted? When are we considered, or determined even, to be “in?”
When considering the most intimidating of circumstances, why so often is it not the “what” of the situation, but rather the “who?”
Women. Or the thought of other women. Perhaps the most intimidating of them all, in the eyes of a woman.
Wait. No…. Women in sport… Somehow more intimidating yet.
Much like a gated community, sealed off from all outsiders. Safe for those neatly fitting inside of the boundaries, but ringing alarm bells for those left on the outside looking in. Exclusive. Therefore excluding.
Yet the desire to participate, to learn, to grow calls to us from beyond the gate. It’s siren song calling, a melody so beautiful and powerful that it drowns out the alarm bells of fear.
And when one garners the strength to approach that gate, baring their soul bravely to the unknown, so often they’re met with a greeting beyond their wildest expectations.
Women in sport are not some elitist group, sitting on their high horses looking down upon those seeking access…
Rather, women in sport are, dare I say, spectacularly inclusive!
Women in sport are overwhelmingly welcoming to all, regardless of skill level, years of practice (or lack thereof) or any other factor.
Women in sport are overwhelmingly accepting. Accepting of you in the exact moment that you meet them. Willing to meet you where you are. Willing to invest in building you up, whether through a gentle nod of understanding, a word of encouragement or even investing their time as friends or mentors.
There is no actual point when one can be considered “in.” If one is willing to show up and to try, then that is enough. That is the only requirement.
Perhaps that siren song was meant to draw us into the women who make up the sport, just as much as the sport itself. Perhaps even more so.
Once we have faced the fear and crossed the threshold into sport ourselves, we are given an opportunity. An opportunity that may even be a responsibility to other women.
Therefore let us all strive to tear down the walls of unfounded secrecy, the lies of intimidation and the false narrative of women as being unwelcoming. Let us flip that on its head. Let us instead lift one another up in big ways and in small ways.
We were all beginners once.
And we are better together. Always. Just as we always have been. Waiting to embrace each other on the other side of fear.❤️
- Kelsey Johanson, TEAM GritChicks TEAMmate