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Changes in the game

My journey and experiences with sports as a girl (The Dragon Beside Me)

By ella dagmarPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

From an early age I was surrounded by many women, whether it was my family or idols. I would always look up to them, wanting to be as successful as them in the future. I couldn’t wait to grow up, their life seemed carefree and joyful. My best friends and I would often imagine our future together, living our best life, travelling the world, not giving a damn.

That was before I started to realise that my aunts are not always happy with their careers, it’s hard to do well or achieve titles in men dominated fields and even my mom can have a bad day once in a while.

When I was younger, my dream was to become a ballerina dancer. I found them flawless, grazing through the dance floor on their pointe shoes, while their hair was neatly tucked in a tight bun. I, myself went to a ballet school for 3 years and I dropped out, simply because it wasn’t what little me had imagined. No one sees the harsh trainings, the strict teachers pressuring young girls to do splits and all kinds of stretches, the fear of even asking one question because you will get punished and of course the desire for perfection. Because that is what most people notice about women dancers in general. How perfectly straight their posture and arms are, how in rhythm their moves are with everyone else and of course how thin and lean their body is. Looking back, all I see isn’t fun memories with my friends and talented dancers, but manipulative teachers working in a toxic place that produces body dysmorphia and eating disorders.

I also tried out tennis, in which I felt more comfortable and confident, since my friends were playing with me as well. We would often watch Wimbledon or Roland-Garros, cheering on women players, wanting to be them one day. Once in a while I’ve started to become more insecure about my skills, being compared to my boy teammates about how I’m not fast or strong enough. It disgusted me and I refused to continue pursuing this hobby, crying to my mother when I was being dragged to the training. I quit and I’m very grateful that my mother was understating of me at that young age.

Now, that I’m competing in a mostly men dominated sport (golf) I’ve always thought I was special being the only girl on the team, my coaches cherished and respected me and I was very ecstatic when I saw another girl join our group. However when I switched clubs I always felt out of place, like I was looked down upon just because I’m a woman by my fellow men teammates. I hate how even now, in my late teenage years, I struggle to build up the courage to show up to trainings or speak my mind, scared that people will think less of me if I’m not as equally skilled or eloquent as them.

I am so sick of hearing how certain careers, especially in sports are called “manly” and when a woman tries to break through, nobody takes her seriously. I vividly remember one training when we were taking rounds one by one trying to shoot a hard shot. It was my turn and I topped the shot (essentially I hit it badly) and the boys bursted into laughter along with one of the men coaches. My girlfriends didn’t even chuckle, since they know it’s okay to “miss” one shot, but I have have never felt more embarrassed and insecure. I was maybe fourteen years old, yet this memory is constantly embedded in my brain.

By watching women athletes, tournaments and documents I’ve gained more confidence to continue following my dream and not giving up even in the toughest times. Younger me didn’t have any idea about what this industry is actually like, that the sportswomen aren’t content at all times as seen in media. In some way their words, achievements and records motivated me to stick with sport despite many challenging obstacles. I’m very thankful for each and every one of them, talking about their experiences that I could relate to, working hard on their goals and never ever doubting themselves.

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ella dagmar

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  • Test2 months ago

    Your journey serves as a reminder of the importance of breaking down gender barriers and supporting women in all fields, including sports.

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