If I said the names Corene Amoss or Kristin Carey Schulze, would you know who I was talking about? These two women, along with many others, helped shaped the women’s athletics programs here at Goucher today. Corene “Renie” Amoss played two sports, basketball and tennis, and ran track and field. During her four seasons playing basketball, she tallied 2,220 points—a total no Goucher woman has come within 500 points of totalling. Kristin Carey Schulze played on the lacrosse team. In two years, she scored 77 goals and had 26 assists. Schulze was the leading scorer on the lacrosse team during her final two seasons. These two women hold records that have not been broken for decades and are in the Goucher Athletics Hall of Fame, yet not many people know their names. Not only does this occur here at Goucher College, but female athletes are not getting enough credit all around the world.
If I asked you to name to name a famous athlete, who would you say? If I had to guess, you most likely said a male athlete. For centuries, sports have been linked to men. Some of the most well-known athletes are men. Babe Ruth, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Phelps; all these famous athletes are men. But what about Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Serena Williams, Danica Patrick, and Ronda Rousey? All of these women are just as athletic and talented as (if not more than) the men, but we hear more about the men on television. Even the boys’ Little League World Series is played on ESPN, but the girls’ little league softball world series is only shown on lesser known channels.
On July 7, 2019, the USA Women’s National Soccer Team completed their journey to success for the second time in a row and won the FIFA world championship. Most people around the world witnessed this historic victory, yet the whole time I was watching the tournament, I kept wondering “how many people actually watch a women’s sport that often?” Not that many people—about 24 million people watched the women’s FIFA World Cup this year, but Abigail Hess reported that seven out of ten people couldn’t name more than five people on the team.
If you didn’t know who Megan Rapinoe was before the summer started, you definitely know her name now. During this tournament, Rapinoe had six goals, became the oldest female to score a goal in the final game, won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player, and the Golden Boot as the top scorer. Yes, I know that Lionel Messi achieved the best men’s soccer player of the year award and Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to win their first National title, but Megan Rapinoe did both of those. She scored six goals alone throughout the tournament and received an award for best player. Neither Messi or Ronaldo could do that during their World Cup run. And what I especially love about Rapinoe is that she shared her accomplishments with her team. She wasn’t selfish or self-centered. So spread those arms out wide for Megan Rapinoe.
When I type “who are the best tennis players to ever live” on Google, the only options I get to choose between are male tennis players. While there are a bunch of phenomenal male tennis players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic, I really want to know why Serena Williams’ name is not at the top of the list. One of the possible reasons is sexism. Take one long look at Serena Williams’ career—that’s what a true professional athlete looks like. She is strong, confident, powerful, influential, and a full-on athlete. Plus, this 37-year-old woman is a great mother to her two-year-old child and she has won 72 single matches and 23 double matches. No one else can say they have done the same.
Some might remember Williams as the athlete with the really bad temper, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a great athlete. Because she is a Black woman, when she passionately argued a call, it was considered a temper tantrum. But if someone like Rafael Nadal argued a call, he would be considered a hero for sticking up for himself. I believe it shows how much Williams loves the game and competition. She would rather lose fairly than cheaply, and that I can respect.
Mixed Martial Arts, also known as MMA, is a full-contact combat sport that allows striking, grappling, kneeing, and pinning. The most well-known fighters are Connor McGregor and Tito Cruz, but if you ask me, I believe the best fighter is Ronda Rousey. Rousey is a versatile athlete and first became an icon when she won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Having retired from judo, she quickly joined the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Remaining undefeated until her final fights to finish with a 12-2 record in December 2016. Rousey may have recently retired, but she remains one of the most recognizable faces (male or female) in MMA. She is a role model to so many young boys and girls. As I’ve gotten older, Rousey has become a huge inspiration for me. I believe that she can look a fight in the face and laugh—that’s how I want to live my life. Through her, I’ve learned that women can be extremely strong and powerful and that we never have to back down from a fight. Some people claim that MMA is only meant for men. Sports Illustrated contributor Andy Benoit even tweeted once that “women’s sports in general are not worth watching.” Ronda Rousey proves this to be completely and utterly false. She has proven herself on multiple occasions that she is stronger and feistier than most men. Going undefeated in the MMA and now killing it in the WWE, Rousey doesn’t have to prove herself to anyone.
When asked to think about famous athletes, take a second and really think about who you want to argue for. Take a second when walking in the Decker Sports and Recreation Center, look at the multiple names that are posted on the wall. While you could argue for some men and why they are great athletes in their field of play, women are not given enough credit for all of their effort and determination they put into their sport. Next time you’re asked who about who you believe to be the best athlete in a specific sport, consider a female athlete and all they do. I know I will.
BY DANIELLA BLITZ
Hess, Abigail J. “US Viewership of the 2019 Women’s World Cup Final Was 22% Higher than the 2018 Men’s Final.” CNBC, CNBC, 10 July 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/us-viewership-of-the-womens-world-cup-final-was-higher-than-the-mens.html.
Lamonier, Paulana. “The Business Of Being A WNBA Player.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 July 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/plamonier/2018/07/02/the-business-of-being-a-wnba- player/#1ec113885af1.
Ottaway, Amanda. “Why Don’t People Watch Women’s Sports?” The Nation, 21 July 2016, https://www.thenation.com/article/why-dont-people-watch-womens-sports/.