About the Original Strong Athletic Woman Baseball T-Shirt
The Story behind the Strong Athletic Woman Baseball T-shirt
This is the original Strong Athletic Woman Baseball T-shirt by Strong Athletic, first produced in 2014 for the Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas, Texas. Originally Strong Athletic was simply an idea and a phrase. Founder Nadia Kean would call teammates a "fine group of strong, athletic, women". Fellow teammate Cristen Perks was learning how to create art on adobe illustrator and screen print it on to shirts and hoodies. As a gift for Christmas in 2013 she put the three words on a gray shirt, stacked and in alignment in bold white ink. The shirt read, "Strong Athletic Woman". That Christmas gift changed Nadia's life, but at the time, it wasn't apparent how it would happen. In 2014 Nadia asked Cristen if she could print a run of the shirts for friends who wanted one. That year in June Cristen made about 60 shirts and Nadia sold them at Philly Roller Derby's very popular WFTDA sanctioned tournament ECDX. All of these shirts were unbranded, so just the three words on the front but no art otherwise. From then, they decided to brand the shirts, and used the name that Nadia coached under- Get Smarty Coaching. That's why these shirts say Get Smarty Coaching on them, rather than Strong Athletic. In 2015, Nadia and Cristen decided to separate Get Smarty Coaching from Strong Athletic and Nadia hired Angel Ortega to design the Strong Athletic logo. Since then all of our shirts have had the Strong Athletic logo on both the front and the back. So, if you ever see a Tultex grey t-shirt with Strong Athletic Woman printed o them, it's an original. If you see one with the Get Smarty Coaching logo on it, it's the second-generation of our shirts, and if you see shirts with the Strong Athletic logo you know that it's part of the third generation of our shirts.
Nadia Kean played roller derby as Smarty Pants for Texas Rollergirls. While she was on the team she started to find it harder and harder to shake off the irritation she felt any time she or her teammates were referred to as "girls". The infantilization of grown women is not a new thing, yet it is still a prominent problem in most of society. One might not consider it to be a big deal to simply refer to an adult woman as a "girl" every now and then, but when you do so, you are making a statement that women do not deserve the respect that they are due. Women are already asked to take a back seat in most of society, and in sport it is no different. Women are not expected to play sport after the age of 18, and if they do, they are considered a novelty. The majority of female athletes in the world will not make their income off of athletics and when they do tell people that they play a sport, especially one that is considered to be a "male dominated" sport, folks act surprised. Nadia's hope is that women will wear the Strong Athletic Woman Baseball T-shirt and in doing so they will help to foster conversations about the importance of calling people what they wish to be called.
Ever wonder when to use the word "girl" and the word "woman"? Nadia believes that if you're referring to someone whose gender identify is female and who is under the age of 14, the word girl is appropriate, but after that age, ask the person what they want to be referred to as. If they are older than 18, never refer to them as a girl. Not only is it inaccurate, but it can also be insulting to the person you are speaking to our about. Nadia and the rest of the Strong Athletic Team are constantly educating ourselves on what language is acceptable, what language is offensive and how we can pay more attention so that we can better understand people in general. One of the most important things that we've learned is to never assume you know something about a person. Pronouns and nouns can be deeply personal, and it is for that reason that if you should also refer to people by how they want to be called, rather than how you think they should be called. Chances are, you'll find many women who are older than 14 who don't mind being called "girls", but just because you've met one, doesn't mean that it's the same for everyone. If someone corrects you and asks to be called a "woman" instead of a "girl" simply thank them and go from there.
Do you have a story to share about being a woman in athletics? Do you want to share your story about what you want to be called and why? Are you part of a group of women who play sports, or purposefully are doing things to stay physically active? Are you a mom who finds it important to show her kids that she's an athlete? Do you want to share your strong with Strong Athletic for why you wear our shirts? We'd love to hear from you, please write to us using our contact us section. And thank you.
If you're on social media, please find us. We're on Instagram and Facebook at @strongathletic if you take photos in your Strong Athletic Woman Baseball Shirt and post them, please tag us and also use the hashtags #strongathletic and #strongathleticwoman and #strongathleticwomen so we can find you and repost!
About the Baseball T-shirt
Are you looking for the perfect gift for the strong woman in your life? How about the women you know who are athletes? Or maybe you know a woman who takes pride in going on weekly hikes and this shirt is perfect for her? We love this shirt and that's why we decided to print the Strong Athletic Woman design on it. This is basically your average 3/4 sleeve tee. Ever wonder why it's called a 3/4 or three-quarter sleeve shirt? The name of the shirt comes from the length of the sleeves which comes down to the mid-lower arm, around the forearm. This is the type of shirt that was traditionally worn by softball and baseball players, and so that it where it gets its name. The hem of the shirt goes down to the upper thigh area, so you won't find any crop tops with this shirt. The neck line is a traditional "crew neck" which means that it has a circular neck line and no collar. Crew necks are very common on most t-shirts. These t-shirts are preshrunk.
Every Strong Athletic Shirt comes wrapped in our signature "You are so Strong" wraps which are held together with a kraft Strong Athletic sticker. Each shirt is then packaged in a biodegradable kraft mailer that we get from a US based company called EcoEnclose. We include a postcard that shares the origin story of Strong Athletic and that is addressed by hand to the person receiving the shirt. Also included in every package is a Strong Athletic logo sticker and one of our "We Believe" stickers. Every time you open a package from Strong Athletic we want it to feel special, especially if you're sending the Strong Athletic shirt as a gift.
About the Production of this Strong Athletic Shirt
Every single Strong Athletic shirt is printed by a small-scale, local screen printer. Although these shirts were printed by Cristen Perks, since 2015 the majority of our shirts have been printed by Amanda in Austin, Texas who prints out of the Austin Screen Printer's Coop, a screen printing shop that is member owned and run in East Austin. When our shirts are not printed by Amanda they are printed by other small-scale screen printers such as Second Avenues Ink in Portland, Oregon or Leigh Valley Apparel Creations in Pennsylvania. As mentioned above, the art for this design was created by Cristen Perks in 2013 for Strong Athletic founder Nadia Kean. The Strong Athletic logo was created by Angel Ortega in 2015, until that point our shirts had the Get Smarty Coaching logo on them. The color combo of this shirt is a dark gray ink on a lighter gray fabric. The sleeves for this tee are dark gray. The words "Strong Athletic Woman" and the Strong Athletic logo are printed on the front of this long sleeve shirt, the Strong Athletic logo is printed on the back of the shirt.