August 28, 2017

The Current

In this week's edition:

  • Being a Male Ally for Gender Equity (1/4)
  • NEW! The Upline Cut with Georgia Bosscher
  • Oh Yes She Did! Weekly Highlight Clip
  • Announcements

Being a Male Ally for Gender Equity (1/4):
That one time...

A few years back I was standing on the sideline of a summer league game in Rhode Island when my entire mindset on how to approach gender equity in sports changed. My team had just given up a point and I went over to one of my teammates to give him some advice on what to do in our zone defense. After explaining how he could have better positioned himself during that particular point, this dingus replied to me by saying “Usually I would position myself that way, but since she was a girl I didn’t think she could make the throw she made.” I’m going to tell you right now that this story did not end the way that I wish it did. I’m not proud of how this story ends, but I learned from it. Instead of doing what I should have done, which would have been calling him on the sexist rhetoric that he was using and informing him of why it is so wrong, I just let it go and we talked about the next point. The issue with what he said, beyond it being bonkers insulting, is that his line of thinking is what pushes against the fight for equity. As long as a lot of people have his line of thinking, women will never get to be fully seen as equals by all. The point is, I should have said something.

 
 Alex Duffel of Seattle Mixtape catches the disc in front of Boston Slow White's Walker Hatchett. (Laurel Oldershaw)

Alex Duffel of Seattle Mixtape catches the disc in front of Boston Slow White's Walker Hatchett. (Laurel Oldershaw)

 

I knew in the moment that I should have said something. My stomach was churning but I also didn’t find it important to use that as a teaching moment. Within minutes I had realized how bad of a mistake I just made. I realized that I was a part of the problem and I had no idea. No, I wasn’t going around saying that women aren’t as good as men. I never even thought it, but I remained silent when others did. Silence favors the oppressor, and the oppressed are women. In that moment, I decided I had to change my ways. I had to be an ally to women in the push for gender equity. Becoming an ally is much easier said than done. As much as I want to call myself an ally, though, I still have a long way to go in terms of becoming a truly great one.

Acknowledging that I was a part of the problem and had to make a legitimate effort to become a strong ally was step number one. I had to understand that I could improve myself, and make a conscious effort to do so. This meant questioning myself and others. I had to look at my everyday actions and behavior and if I did something that could be considered wrong, I’d have to think over what I did and why I did it. Part of that is being able to receive criticism from others. When others would make comments about things I say or do it became very important to take them to heart and genuinely try to learn from it. This was especially important as a cis-gender straight white male. As someone who was born into very little adversity it was very important to listen to those facing adversity every day. To learn more, I like to ask women about situations they’ve been in that I could learn from, or just simply ask them what I could have done better in past situations. It doesn’t sound like much and doesn’t even require the most effort to be honest, but it is something that I’ve found to be very helpful thus far in my journey towards becoming a strong ally.

 
 Toronto 6ixers and Vancouver Traffic in a spirit circle post Canadian Ultimate Championships. (Noah Markus)

Toronto 6ixers and Vancouver Traffic in a spirit circle post Canadian Ultimate Championships. (Noah Markus)

 

So in that spirit, I want to go back to the story in the beginning of this post. The lesson I learned there was that if progress is going to be made, I’d have to get on the right side of history and start speaking out against sexism. Even though that happened a good while ago, I still use the lesson I learned. As a matter of fact, it applied to a situation I came across this past week. While at a golf course that I occasionally work at, I asked a group of four men if they would mind letting two women play before them because that would allow the two of them to play quicker. One of the men answered by saying “Yes, we’d mind, women are just going to slow things down and usually aren’t good.” That’s a thing that was said to me in 2017. What’s truly terrible is that generally this kind of language and rhetoric is widely accepted in many sports. You hear people say things like this regularly; in golf, basketball, tennis, etc. I could take weeks upon weeks discussing just that alone, but for now I digress. This time when faced with a man using sexist language I spoke up. I simply told him that kind of thought process is incredibly unacceptable and that he should reflect on it. Coming from a position of little power there wasn’t much more I could do. The man was not very appreciative of what I told him so he quickly told me that I knew nothing and should go away amongst other things. I noticed two things in that moment: One, closed minded people really don’t like being told to be open minded. Two, if I was going to continue to make a push for equity and what is right, I’ll have to get used to dealing with people like him. If women have been able to face oppression their whole lives and keep fighting, I’d have to find a way to give up my male privilege and take all of the insults that the oppressors have to offer.

Stop and Think: When have you benefited from privilege?

Written by Luke Johnson, who plays for Rhode Island Breakers out of Providence, RI.


NEW! The Upline Cut featuring Georgia Bosscher!

 

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In the fourth episode, Laurel and Luke take their picks for the upcoming Pro Championships (formerly Pro Flight Finale), and end the interview with the eloquence of World Champion, Callahan Award winner, and potential GOAT, Georgia Bosscher.  Check it out Wednesday morning at 8 am EST!

Note: We apologize for the inconvenience around iTunes. We've reached out to them about the issue and will keep you posted on our iTunes status. 

 


OH YES SHE DID!
Highlight of the Week

This week we bring you two very special videos that get on the #CardenasHypeTrain. One is pure Manuela Magic, and the other features unreal highlights from Colombia Revolution's roster. 


Announcements

  • We'll be at the Pro Championships! Come and find us.
  • Happy birthday Gwen Ambler!

Questions? Comments? Email us at laurel@thenationalultimateleague.com. 
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