Every athlete has their version of "the pain face". Some skiers proudly foam from the mouth, embracing the frozen drool that clings to both buffs and beards. Some skiers look angry while others appear on the verge of tears, and some simply look lost as their eyes roll back in their head, limbs wobbling precariously on a pair of skinny skis. To give you an idea...
|Me illustrating the sad hurt face|
|My former teammate Eric Packer in full attack mode|
|Izzy Caldwell modeling both anger and drool|
|Heather Mooney of Middlebury and SMS embracing the drool (FlyingPoint photo)|
Last Friday and Saturday, I raced at the UVM College Carnival in Stowe along with SMS junior Katherine Ogden and the trusted support of our coach Pat. We started the weekend with a 5km skate race followed by a 10km mass start classic race. I finished 3rd on Friday, less than 10 seconds behind winner Katherine and looked to improve upon that result on Saturday. Fatigue from the week caught up with me however and I ended the day in 5th. After crossing the finish line and taking a few heavy breaths over my poles, I proceeded to shuffle out of the finish zone, encouraged by eager volunteers waiting to clear the area. Around me, a few girls had sprawled on the snow, their chests heaving up and down in obvious exhaustion. I could hear one female voice badgering some of the women in the finish zone, obviously annoyed by the athletes crowding the area, and yelling "C'mon ladies, let's go, get up, keep moving...(and finally)... the BOYS could stay on their feet why can't the girls?!"
I immediately had two thoughts cross my mind:
One...The boys obviously didn't try hard enough if they could stay on their feet and you, lady, have a rather distorted version of what happens to an athlete, male or female, after giving absolutely everything in a ski race.
And two...Why am I not laying on the ground?!
To be fair, the volunteers at Trapps are wonderful and it is their job to keep the athletes clear of the finish line for both safety and timing purposes. However, the gender bias evident in this particular woman's comment stuck with me. In that instant, she had reinforced the tired narrative of female weakness and inferiority to men. She also managed to do so in a context that actually criticized female athletes for doing exactly what they are supposed to do...find their limit.
|The best women in the world laying it all out there at the 2014 Sochi Olympics|
|And yes, the best men in the world also collapse at the finish line|
|Gotta make these things grow...and make these things hurt!|
|Midweek training on some sweet point-to-point trails at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center|
|I owe a HUGE thank you to the Craftsbury Green Team for hosting Pat and I last week and also to Caitlin for making me some amazing pretzels!|
|The Green Team does it right|
|Also...Happy belated High Pony Day from UVM!|