Little boy behind the barricade, who do you see?
A Competitor. Pressing alongside a Goliath. The playing field level. Shared load. Shared bench. Shared barbell. Same standards. Same reps. Same rest.
A Teammate. One who spots weight, tracks time and counts lifts. A partner who values the other’s emotional risk, ethic to prepare and commitment to try. A mate who listens to ideas, strategizes beforehand, encourages during and dances after.
A Woman. Eyes on the ceiling. Bare arms. Chiseled back. Flexed quads and seeping curves. A woman who trains her body as a machine; teaching it to breath, move and perform with power.
A Lady. Who is feminine, not despite but because she sweats, stinks, struggles and shakes. One who tapes her thumbs, wraps her wrists and grips the barbell with glitter, chartreuse nails. A person who considers sneakers, tanks, a weight belt and tights as fashion and is consumed by the task over her tousled hair, silver roots and exposed lines.
Your Mom. Who feels proud, accomplished, happy and hopeful that by watching me, her children are learning anything by anyone is possible.
Little boy, when you grow tall enough to see over the barricade, what will you do?
Be mesmerized no more. Accept a person’s capacity, albeit female or male to be strong. Expect equal partnership between genders as essential. And assume that the only “it” any human ever asks for is respect.