Soccer is not seen as a non-traditional sport for women, especially not since the US Women's National Team won the World Cup in 1999, but like most women's sports it was at one time thought of as a male only sport. I grew up in a very athletic family, where both my brother and my father loved to play soccer, so naturally I fell in love with the sport at a very young age, in fact I was about 5 when I started playing. At that time I was one of the few girls playing in the only peewee league; a league that was co-ed. It was really hard for me and I can remember the frustration I went though, because none of the boys believed that I was capable of playing at their level. In their mind I was just a girl and there was no way that I would ever be able to compete with them. This attitude did not just disappear with age, in fact it followed me until I finally found one of the local girls team. I am going to explore the challenges that women have to go through daily in order to compete at the highest-level possible. There are many issues that women must face concerning how they define themselves as a woman and how to relate to the rest of society.
Even though I was not entering a non-traditional sport I was still faced with some of the same issues that women who are entering bodybuilding, power lifting or boxing are. No matter what gender you are or what sport you play there will always be sacrifices and rewards but when one enters a sport that is in many ways considered "off limits" the sacrifices seem greater but in the end so are the rewards. No matter how frustrated I got because I was never given the same opportunities as the boys were I never quit because I loved the game and the game...
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As we can see there are both positive and negative experiences for women entering a sport, whether it is non-traditional or traditional. The great thing about being human is that we have the opportunity and freedom to choose how we are going to let other people affect us. We, as women especially, have the greatest opportunity of them all; we have the chance to teach societies and help them grow. Not many people have the power to change society but women athletes are taking that power and using it well. No matter how hard it gets to be and no matter how much you want to give up a sport because of someone else's negative vibes remember that the cultural costs do not outweigh the benefits. The greatest achievement is to raise above all the negativity and be a role model for younger athletes; the best possible reward is to hear another athlete want to be just like you.
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