During a basketball game when I was 17, a referee made a horrible call. Well, in my opinion, the ref made a horrible call. I remember taking the ball and slamming it on the floor out of pure anger and frustration. Then I heard the whistle…saw the ref make the “T” sign with his hand. Boom – technical foul.
I would have rather walked home than to ride in the car with my parents that night. “You can’t throw a temper tantrum like that….lose the attitude…you embarrassed yourself.” That was the gist of the convo. My parents were right…I let frustration get the best out of me.
That weekend, my 12-year-old brother had a basketball game. He fouls out…comes to the bench…kicks a chair pretty hard before sitting down. I thought, “well this car ride home will suck for him.” But it was much different. “Sorry you fouled out son…it was a horrible call against you…I like seeing you play with so much heart and passion.”
HOLD. UP. A. MINUTE.
Fast forward to present day.
Serena Williams. No doubt one of THE BEST ATHLETES OF ALL TIME. Period.
If you haven’t heard, an official at the US Open accused her of cheating during her championship match. By doing that, her character and integrity were under attack. As you can imagine, Serena was livid…so she confronted the official. Moments later social media and the internet blew up with headlines like “Serena throws temper tantrum…Serena is a sore loser…Serena acted like a toddler.”
Again…HOLD. UP. A. MINUTE.
I am not going to sit hear and argue whether she should have been yelling or not…that’s not my lane. But I know if someone is calling out my character and integrity than I definitely will have something to say.
But can we talk about the double-standard with the reaction?
How many times have we seen male athletes throw helmets…yell at referees…complain after a loss?? Too many to count. And every single time they are referred to as “passionate…dedicated to the game…so much heart.”
Women are described as being too emotional…throwing a temper tantrum…no class…immature…attitude problem.
This isn’t just in sports…it’s in “real life” too. I remember being vocal in a meeting and I was called a hot-head. My male counterpart did the same and was called a leader.
Now I am not going to twist things here — if I am acting like a lunatic — then I need to be called out. I am all about accountability. But let’s have the same standard across the board.
And no – I don’t want to be treated with kid gloves because I am a woman. I’m not delicate like a flower…I’m delicate more like a bomb.
I don’t want any woman to ever feel less than. Our feelings are real…our emotions are real…our leadership is real…our stance on issues is real…our beliefs are real…our passion is real…our heat is real…our competitiveness is real.
And if there’s ever a moment where someone makes you feel less than, just remember one thing:
Everyone in this world, was carried and delivered by a woman. I don’t know what’s more powerful than that.
We are MORE than we are depicted on most days.