Good for a girl?


credited to Kaylee L.

Being a girl should not take away from my accomplishments on court.

Kaylee L., Writer

Tennis has always been my sport. I swung my first racket, pink with Dora on the head, when I was 5. I competed in my first tournaments when I was 8, and lost in the first round. I was upset, but nothing that a scoop of ice cream didn’t fix. Having played competitively since those early years, I have always aspired to earn a Division 1 college scholarship or maybe go pro. Everyone in my family plays tennis, so it’s something that makes for great conversation at the dinner table.

When I started hitting with other kids in practice matches, I began hearing the comment, “You’re good… for a girl.” I love my backhand. But backhanded compliments, not so much. Saying that I am good, but only for the lower standards expected of a girl, is definitely not a compliment. 

It is biologically understood that males and females are built differently. But this does not give boys a reason to invalidate my or any other girl’s hard work and success. 

It’s one thing if I’m hitting with a guy and we tease each other about losing. That’s my prerogative. But as soon as someone tries to tell me that I lost because I’m a girl, they become the cone I use for a target in practice. 

In tournaments, boys often get the better match times, closer courts, and priority in the order that matches are scheduled. Why? I’m not sure I really want to know. 

In 1973, Billie Jean King, a professional women’s tennis player played Bobby Riggs, a professional men’s tennis player. Bobby was the textbook stereotype of a chauvinist. He challenged the highest-ranked females to play a match in an attempt to prove his masculine superiority. He competed against Margaret Court first and succeeded in beating her. 

However, when it came time to play King, he said, “I’ll tell you why I’ll win. She’s a woman and they don’t have the emotional stability.” Unfortunately for Riggs, he ended up not having the emotional stability and lost to King. 

It is extremely frustrating when people say, “You lost to a girl?” Like we are expected to be easily beaten just because we are female. 

LSU’s college football team scored 726 points over the course of the 2019 season, the most points any team in the football subdivision has scored since 2013. The Tigers dominated their SEC competition on a national title run and picked up the Heisman trophy for their quarterback, Joe Burrow. Imagine if ESPN handed them their national championship while muttering, “You’re pretty good… for a college team.” You’d never say this to them, so please don’t say it to us.