These are the shirts that we made for all of the Strong Athletic Moms and Grandmas in the world who have set an awesome example for the children that they have helped to raise. When moms and grandmas show the world that they too are strong, that they too play sports, that they too value physical fitness and being active, it is normalized. Long gone are the stereotypes that mom and grandma go to the sports games just to watch their kids play. Mom and Grandma have every right to go to the sports game to be a player in that very game.
Strong Athletic founder Nadia Kean grew up listening to stories that her mom told about what it was like growing up as a woman in the 1940s and 1950s in the US. When Nona Kean started college, there was a rule at her University that they could not wear pants to class, skirts and dresses were required. They had to wear long jackets over their shorts when they went to the gym so that no one saw their bare legs. They were not expected to play sports and even if they wanted to, there were only a few intramural sports available to them. That was in the early 1960s. Fast forward to the 2020s and women at that same Texas University can now wear what they want, and do not need to cover their bodies in long jackets. There are many sports that student athletes can play, regardless of gender, so things have gotten better. But.... they are still not what they could be.
Until women playing sports is "normalized", truly normalized in society, we will keep making these shirts. What does normalization look like? It starts with equalizing college sports. Kean went to the University of Texas at Austin where she was a "Lady Longhorn" while the men who played sports were simply "Longhorns". Kean and her fellow athletes were essentially "othered". This is not only in college sports, it starts in middle schools and high schools, persists through college and then is prevalent in post college sports.
There is the NBA (National Basketball Association) and then there is the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association). One could argue that the first one to arrive gets the title and everyone else has to take a secondary title, but when you indicate that something is different than the norm, you tell others that one has the right to be there, while others must ask for space. What does Strong Athletic want? If female basketball players are forced to have the "W" in front of their sport, perhaps male basketball players should adopt an "M" in front of theirs so that it is equal.
How does this have to do with Moms and Grandmas that are strong and athletic? It has everything to do with them because they set the stage for what happens next. My mom and her classmates pushed the bar by wearing pants when they could, not wearing their long jackets over their gym shorts, and pushing boundaries. If they hadn't done that, then things wouldn't have changed. There is a saying that strong moms create strong daughters. This is true, yet more importantly, they create strong children. Strong and open-minded children will help to change the world for the better. With that change will come equality for all humans, athletes included.
Are you a Strong Athletic Nonbinary Parent or a Strong Athletic Dad? We're making a Strong Athletic Parent shirt for Parents Day 2020, and we also have a Strong Athletic Dad shirt were making as well. Stay tuned!