Females take risks in sports, too

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By: Stephanie Hodgin <shodgin@hilite.org>

As she packs up her equipment, sophomore Jamelynn “Jaymo” Callahan remembers that day’s practice. Practice not for gymnastics, volleyball, or even cheerleading, but for football. Currently she is the varsity football manager and said she believes that even girls can become a part of the football family here. She even wants to try out for the football team her senior year and hopes to play if her coaches let her.

“I was welcomed instantly as a freshman girl being a part of the team,” she said about becoming manager. She also said she believes that girls can take risks in sports as well, and that if is not just a masculine trait. According to the Web site oxfordjournal.org, females take just as many risks in sports as males do, the only difference being females asses risk in sports more accurately.

According to the site, “girls may be more accurate than boys in assessing risk in sport. Additionally, it may be socially desirable to perceive less risk in sport, in accordance with the prevailing masculine stereotype for boys in sports.”

The web site also states that another reason for this difference could be because of how females grow up learning to play sports. “Parents and coaches have traditionally socialized female sport participants away from the aggressiveness, physical contact and risks that are considered necessary in contact sports,” it states.

Callahan said she believes that all players form any sports should take risks if the need arises.

“Yeah, definitely they should (take risks) because your whole team is out there for you and putting in their whole effort for you. You should do the same for them,” Callahan said.

Megan Renninger, tennis player and junior, said that she believes that risk-taking is understandable for the most part.

“Risk-taking is understandable to an extent because all athletes want to help their team, but you also don’t want to ruin your career (with an injury),” Renninger said.

Callahan said one risk females take is choosing to play more masculine sports, such as football.

“(The players) accept you really fast with open arms. I started (being a part of the team) freshman year and I was welcome instantly,” she said.

She said that it didn’t matter that she was a girl, either.

“I love everything about the sport now, from the bonds made to being part of a team and feeling like you’re meant for something,” Callahan said.

Renninger said that she believes that girls can play the sports that they are able to play.

“Girls can play all sports if they are physically capable to competing with either gender in that sport,” Renninger said. Some people have criticized IndyCar driver Danica Patrick of this up until her first win at the Indy 300 Japan race. But according to cbssports.org article by National Sports Columnist Mike Freeman, Patrick believes that racers are racers, no matter their gender.

“What you really need is endurance. And some tests have shown that women have more endurance than men. But that’s not the point. I’m not trying to establish the superiority of one sex over another. I’m a good driver, but I’m no superwoman. What I’m trying to emphasize is that a driver is primarily a person, not a man or a woman, and that is a great deal of driving is mental,” Patrick said according to the article.

According to a 2006 ABC News article titled “You Go, Girl–to Football Camp” by Blair Soden, more and more females are deciding to take that risk and play football. According to this Web site, women have been playing organized football since the 1950s. The Independent Women’s Football League currently boasts a roster of 35 all-female teams.

Callahan said, “(Football is a masculine sport) because they think that guys can hit a whole lot harder than girls can. If I am a guy I can prove how tough I am by hitting a person as hard as I can. If a girl wants to play, it should be her decision.”

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