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I've got your back and you've got mine: How women uplifting one another is the way to go!

I’m in the gym working out and I see this girl running on the treadmill, her form is horrible and I want to go tell her if she keeps running on her toes like that she’s going to have serious leg issues down the road……. then I stop myself. Who am I to judge and critic this girls running? I may be a professional track athlete but I am not her coach, I am not her training partner, and I am not someone who needs to be interfering in her workout. I thought to myself “ What if that is the only way she can run?” , or “what if she is coming back from an injury?”

All of us are guilty at some point or another of judging one another or even worse talking about each other 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 a whole lot of other women are guilty of this and this needs to STOP. As women we face too many issues in society (ie lack of women in sports, equal pay, lack of women covered sports) to not have each others backs. I’m not just talking about supporting your training partner or hyping up your friends. I’m talking about in public, the work place, after competitions, and after you get your butt handed to you in a race. It is so important to supporter one another instead of judging or criticizing.

After all my races in high school I would shake my opponents 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 the race we can come together as women who have something in common and being 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 after my first race going to shake the others girls hands and they looked at me in disgust! I was so caught off guard why didn’t these women want to shake hands? The race was over, we were no longer competing so why couldn’t we show sportsmanship? So for awhile I did the same I didn’t shake others hands, I didn’t want that same feeling of being rejected and as a freshmen I just wanted to fit in. Then after one of my races later into the season a girl came up and shook my hand, it caught me off guard so off guard it made me reflect on the decision I have made to give up on congratulating my competitors. From that moment on I told myself no matter what I am going to make the effort to shake my competitors hands even if that means getting rejected every once in a while. Even at the Olympic games, world championships and diamond league races if the opportunity is there I shake my competitors hands. Having gratitude for your competitors after a race is a way better feeling than having jealousy.

Shaking your competitors hands is the easy part, shaking your rivals or training partner who you know you should have beat in the race that’s where I see women struggle. As human’s jealousy comes 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, teammates and co-workers. Personally I have experienced the best and worst when it comes to training partners and I am sure many of you reading this have as well. Its easy at the beginning of training or the season to be super supportive and positive for one another but when it comes to competing or the hard training sessions when your team mates or training partner kicks your butt how do you react? In the moment a congratulations may be tough calling her the “B” world may be the reaction or easy thing. Or we may cough up an excuse in our mind like “well she did have a few extra training sessions” or “ she was in a better lane or position than me in the race”. In moments like these I have found if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, don’t make up an excuse and feel the need to tell everyone. If you are upset about losing please try to not make excuses to diminish someone else’s accomplishment. They won because it was their day to win and not yours. Instead shake your competitors hand, support the women you are competing against, be grateful for the chance to race, and move on. Tomorrow you live to fight again!

Women we need to stop the criticizing, being jealous off, and judging one another! We are in this world together and in order for us to get those things like equal pay, more women in sports, more coverage of women’s sports, stopping the criticism of what we wear to compete or train in, we NEED to uplift one another. It’s about supply and demand, if we demand it the world will supply it!

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