By: Megan Mihelich

As a woman, the decision to study sports management in college took immense courage for me. Sports management is an extremely competitive field that is dominated by men. I didn’t keep up with every sport and every game which put me at a huge disadvantage. 

However, I knew it would be something that would help build my resume and give me the chance to reach my dream job of being a social media marketing manager for a professional sports team. I am competitive, I played eight different sports growing up, and I was confident I could bring great communication and marketing skills to the field. 

So I went for it.

Last semester, I took the course, Sociology in Sport, where we learned about interaction of people in sport, social systems controlling sport, and the different dynamics of the sport culture. I always tried my best to participate often in the class and provide intelligent comments so the class of 95% men wouldn’t think I was weak. A bit sad, isn’t it?

The lesson on gender and sport stood out the most to me. Shocker, right? We learned that women were denied participation in sport for centuries, and were even ridiculed for trying to compete. In the 1800s, women finally began participating, however, only in sports deemed graceful and “ladylike”. In 1936, only 328 women were invited to participate in the Olympics, whereas there were 4,000 men. Eventually the feminist movement, Title IX, and famous athletes began to pave the way for women in sport, however women still face great discrimination today. 

Today, we still see less opportunities and scholarships for collegiate women athletes, the US women’s soccer team fighting for equal pay, and an outstanding amount of discrimination in the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics. 

So this month at Find Your Power, we are inviting you to challenge yourself. 

Challenging yourself is one of the most important factors of self-growth. Without challenges and changes, there is no growth nor any chance of finding your true potential. Reaching your goals is going to come with some challenges. 

Psychology Today says, “To lead an authentic life, we need to take on new challenges that stretch us and give us more opportunities to be ourselves. It is not that the authentic person does not feel the same fear; rather, they are simply more willing to face their fear. 

The question is not how to lead a life in which we never feel the fear of failure, but rather, how we can move forward despite our fear. Are we able to transform our fear into an enthusiasm to engage with the new challenge and learn from it?” 

We know it sounds scary, but it all begins with a single step. Here are some simple ways to get started. 

Being a woman in sport, I have to be bold and brave, but it is not always easy. A quote that inspires me everyday, comes from a high diver on TikTok. She said, “It never becomes less scary, you just become more comfortable with being scared.” 

FYP wants you to take this inspiration and run. How will YOU challenge yourself today?

Information Credit to Social Issues in Sport by R. Woods & B. Butler & Psychology Today 

Photos Credit to Megan Mihelich & Pinterest