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It Takes Mad Love

To my younger self,

It takes mad love to play basketball when no one takes it seriously as your career. People are going to ask you questions like

-     How long are you going to “try” and play before you get a real job?

-     When are you going to make time to have kids?

-     Can you even make enough money to support yourself?

While in the same breath encouraging a male athlete to follow his dreams and praise his sacrifices.

Don’t mind them. They don’t understand your passion, your drive, and least of all your power!

Seize the opportunity to chase your destiny and watch as it takes you around the world to play on some of the biggest stages in basketball.

You are exceptional. Don’t you dare let them convince you otherwise.

 

This was such an amazing campaign to be a part of and I have to applaud Team Canada and the Mad Love campaign for giving a voice to so many inspiring professional athletes to talk about the inherent struggles that come along with being a female in this industry. Writing this letter brought tears to my eyes because I desperately could've used these words when I was younger, and I know that there are other young athletes out there that needed to hear this now.

 

I grew up in a family of female athletes. Strong, independent, kick-ass women that inspired me every day. I spent my childhood watching them play basketball against anyone willing to play and for me, there was not a doubt in my mind that female athletes were and could be the best of the best. Even in high school, I attended a school that was known for girl's basketball so the girl's basketball players were considered the top athletes at the school. It wasn't until university that I really experienced the disparity between men's and women's sports for the first time. NC State's women's basketball team was the most successful sport out of Football and Men's Basketball. Our women's soccer, track and field, cross-country, and swim teams were by far the best on campus but out of the typically highest income sports, we were the best. Yet, our main athletics social media pages, magazines, etc., were always preoccupied with men's sports. Female athletes were highlighted very little despite the fact we were by far the more successful program. This is a trend that has only continued throughout my career with men not only dominating the media but always determining practice times and so on despite being the less successful team, all things that have nothing to do with income. Just plain old disrespect. I doubt I need to dive into the topic of social media trolls, and "get back in the kitchen" comments to drive the point home.

 

Female athletes are severely under-appreciated and it is time we gave them a little love.... mad love.

 

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