I ran into an old friend and he told me about his daughters. I asked if any of them did sports or if they were athletes. He said, yes, the middle one is a soccer player, but the other two just do dance and gymnastics. I then reminded him that dancers and gymnasts are athletes.
This conversation was not novel, and it happens too often. If you're not sure of what the problem is, please allow me to tell you. People who play traditional sports, or who are in the limelight are granted the title of "athlete", and those who do sports that are more on the fringe are not.
I'm over it and this is what I'd like your help doing. If you're on social media, please post a photo of yourself either playing your sport, (whichever sport it is, the more sports the better) or doing whatever it is that you do to stay healthy and fit. Write or type one simple word across the image: "ATHLETE". (You can also send us a photo via Facebook or Instagram or email us and we'll send it back to you with Athlete on it).
Please use the tag Strong Athletic #strongathletic and #strongathleticchallenge in your post so that we can see it. If you have a similar story to the one I told, consider sharing it in the same post. It's important for other people to know why this negatively impacts humans when they are downgraded from the empowering word "athlete" to "oh, their just in.... (fill in bad-ass sport here)".
We'll be sure to update this post with the link to Strong Athletic Podcast Episode No. 3, which discusses this very topic, once it's published. If you have a similar story or this post hit home for you and you'd like to write about your own experience, please email us.
The image above is my good friend and mentor Mandie Suzann Pitre who is a dancer, a Capoeirista at Capoeira Evolução East Austin, a Pilates savant at Castle Hill Fitness and who taught me more about how to use my body in sports than any other person.