On Thursday, March 17th, Lia Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA swimming championship, taking the title in the 500yd. freestyle. In so doing, her accomplishment sparked an outpouring of debate around the issue of equity in female sports: whether there are defining lines in an increasingly gender-expressive world and if so, who gets to define them. Is there a safe and fair way to distinguish what constitutes gender with regard to athletic competition? Does the basic human right to claim your own true identity have to be at odds with the necessity of female sports to be considered on their own terms?
After the culmination of our first triathlon camp, one of the campers posted the sentiment that not only underlies camp, but also permeates everything we do at NYX Endurance: this is a team sport. Sure, we each put on our own bib number at a race, but if you’ve never been to a team event, you may not know the extent to which coming together propels us towards feats we may never have known ourselves to be capable of.
This June marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which has led to a dramatic increase in the number of women and girls participating in athletics. The progress over the past 50 years is undeniable.
If change is our rallying cry on a systemic level, and we’re not willing to at least investigate potential change in the way we respond to our daily circumstances, where do we expect the change to come from? Isn’t that slightly hypocritical, if not the definition of insanity?
The assessments of Shiffrin’s disenchanting Olympic performances, especially compared to her sterling resume, have elicited questions regarding her impending legacy. If we define legacy through the implied lens of outward assessment based on achievement acquisition, which has almost as much to do with luck and circumstance as it does with skill, isn’t that a rather depressing, if not nihilistic measure of our lives? And do we really care so much about what other people think of us that we’re spending our exquisitely brief earthly existence attempting to control the narrative after we die?
As we started to process that darkness, light began to appear through the smoke that rose from the still smoldering ashes. Stories were shared within our 80027 / Louisville & Superior, CO Facebook group of hope and goodness and bravery and we remembered that sometimes the darkness is there to show us the light.