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[Y-SPACE] Sports for every Juan—and Juana

by Maria Nicole Dominique Dimayacyac

"You are a girl. You are not supposed to play rough." "You are a boy. You are not supposed to play soft."

Have you ever been told not to do something because of your gender? Gender stereotypes are shaped as a result of cultures and traditions. Children often learn about 'appropriate' female and male behavior from their families, peers, and society. However, one's gender should not be an obstacle in achieving dreams.

I remember my dad as a sports coach at our school when I was eight years old. He trains track-and-field athletes every day and invites me to join them on weekends. It was more of a boys' team, but that did not bother me. I just wanted to run like them, train like them, and see how they did. Although I was with them every weekend, I never got on the competing team, and I cannot remember why. It just so happened that I forgot about running until senior high school when I represented my year level in Intramurals and won first place for two years in a row. Years without training, yet I still got the speed. Thanks to my junior high school boy friends, I was able to unconsciously train myself by running all the time to chase them down for teasing me. Even though it was only a school event, I am proud of myself. More so, I am happy to give my dad a sports medal, which I was unable to do before.

Our society should accept that there are no gender roles in sports. Sports with strong aesthetic elements are not just for women. Sports that indicate strength or strong body contact are not only for men. There are now female weightlifters like Hidilyn Diaz, female boxers like Nesthy Petecio, female skateboarders like Margielyn Didal, and male gymnasts like Carlos Yulo, who have all brought pride to the Philippines. Anyone can be anything, right? Screw gender norms! As far as anyone is concerned, there is no such thing as rough or soft sports; there are only sports.

In ancient times, sports were used to train and prove one's ability to fight in wars, especially to make people work together. And, do not come telling me that no women fought in wars because many of them did. Sports are not meant to determine which is which for men and women. If you still believe that boys and girls should not do things that they are not supposed to do, then where have you been? Go, get out and educate yourself.

Maria Nicole Dominique “Nikki” Dimayacyac, 21, is a small girl with big dreams. She is a Journalism student at Cavite State University and a consistent Dean's lister who prefers feature writing over straight news writing.

YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.

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