Time for an athletic change
You receive an email about joining the one sport you had been looking forward to, so you head to the informational meeting right on time. Everything is so exciting, and it looks like such an amazing opportunity until the coaches start discussing dress protocol. Your face falls and a problem arises. An illogical request, such as required short skirts and mandatory tight spandex, boggles your mind. You question joining the team and if your physical comfort is worth it.
After watching the Olympics, I’ve realized that it’s time for a discussion on the athletic dress code, and the effect it has on both the viewers of the sport and the athletes. While spending such of my time during the Olympics on Twitter, a plethora of users were debating whether uniforms existed to exploit the athletes’ bodies and lure more people into watching a certain sport, or just to improve their performance. I’ve heard countless people at CHS say they only watch certain sports such as volleyball and swimming because of the attractive athletes. Instead of appreciating Olympians’ athletic abilities, viewers focus on exterior features.
A lot of Olympic athletes have required uniforms for their country, and writers from numerous news outlets such as “The Boston Globe” and “U.S. News and World Reports” are speculating that a prominent reason is to draw viewers. Shira Springer from “The Boston Globe” wrote, “But despite a worldwide television audience in the billions, the Olympics should be held to a higher standard than the commercial concerns of professional sports.” Looking at some of the uniforms that athletes have to wear, this is a justifiable belief.
At Conant, athletes in a number of sports have complained about their uniforms, but personally I have heard most complaints directed towards the girls’ lacrosse uniforms. Everyone except varsity is required to wear very short and relatively uncomfortable skirts. Brooke Peterson, ‘18, said, “[The skirts] aren’t tight so much as they are short. They are always kinda riding up or not properly in place.” She also explained that it felt a bit patronizing because they had to wear their own shorts under in order not to flash people while playing.
Allison Zhang, ‘18, added, “I do believe that times have changed, and so we shouldn’t be required to wear skirts as a tradition from the past.” As years have passed, so have traditions, and having to wear skirts seems to be a tradition the players would like to drop.
I believe an athlete’s comfort and requests should always be strongly considered when creating a suitable uniform style. It is only fair. Athletes spend so much time and effort over many years working towards a goal. But it doesn’t seem fair to them to feel uncomfortable while working so hard.
It seems we need to rethink the respect we give athletes and their bodies by accommodating their needs and wants when assigning uniforms, whether it be in the Olympics or in high school.