SEE US Intern: Alyssa Ward
Hey guys! My name is Alyssa Ward and I have been a SEE US intern since May. I currently play softball at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and will graduate with degrees in Spanish and English in May 2022. I have played softball since I was 7 years old and played tee ball from an even younger age. I fell in love with playing softball and have used my sport as an outlet for as long as I can remember. Being a female athlete myself, the SEE US Movement is extremely relevant in my life and very important to me, so I wanted to be a part of it!
What has playing softball taught you?
Softball has taught me so much about leadership, accountability, and responsibility; however, I believe that softball has taught me so much more about life off the field than on the field. Growing up, I completely rejected anything and everything considered to be feminine because I was never taught that anyone could be both feminine and athletic. I felt that if I was “too girly” I wouldn’t be respected as an athlete, and for a long time, being an athlete has been my identity. I always felt the need to compete with boys and prove that I could be strong and fast too.
As I continued to grow up, I realized I was falling for the false notion that being both feminine and a dominant athlete could never coincide. I understand now that I was playing a part in the problem when I forced myself to fit a narrative that shouldn’t even exist.
Softball taught me that not only could I wear a glittery bow to my travel ball tournaments and still be the most successful athlete on the field, but more importantly that all female athletes always deserve the same respect their male counterparts receive.
Have you ever been judged based on your appearance rather than your ability?
I think that every female athlete, every woman even, is constantly being judged on her appearance. Personally, I have always received comments from friends, teammates, coaches, everyone about my size, like “you need to eat more” or “if you weren’t so small you could hit the ball farther.” Saying anything uninvited about someone’s weight isn't constructive or helpful to anyone – especially female athletes who often struggle with body image even without rude quips.
Athletes need to be strong and nourished, and healthy weight looks different on everyone. Policing women’s bodies has sadly become commonplace, and unfortunately, has caused the women in sport to be perpetrators of their own oppression.
From feeling unreasonably guilty when my softball pants fit tightly (as they are intended) to adhering to program dress codes, I am forced to constantly worry how others perceive me. The female athlete is one who, although never receives the rightful spotlight, remains under constant scrutiny.
How are you working to “Throw Out the Patriarchy”?
I have been working to be a voice for women for as long as I can remember. I try to be as educated as I can possibly be about my own and other communities who each face our own challenges and resistance. The most important thing for me is holding true to my values and beliefs and attempting to instill those in my friends and teammates through conversation and example.
Whether it’s reminding little girls that their sports too deserve to be on TV, or reminding people who don’t respect women’s sports that either they aren’t as big of sports fans as they think they are or they might just be sexist, speaking up comes easy to me.
Helping out with SEE US gave me a tangible platform to interact with others who share my ideas and passions, and I am super thankful for the work I got to do!
Queen of the Court Blog
Welcome to the Queen of the Court Blog! Our goal is to give more visibility to female athletes and showcase the impact SEE US has. Expect professional athlete interviews, examples of sexism in sports, collegiate athlete stories, high school athlete stories, SEE US updates, and more. If you have any blog ideas or want to be featured, contact SEE US!