Published December 17, 2007 by
For many, especially women, confrontation through direct competition is uncomfortable and best avoided. We too quickly repress our drive to win, our aggressive and competitive side. Yet, in antiquity, there were models of competitive women who were honored and esteemed for their physical prowess. In myth, Atalanta wrestled, hunted, and required her suitors to compete against her in a foot race. In the classical world, we learn from inscriptions that "eleven priestesses of Bacchus put on a running competition." "Tatia directed a gymnasium for women," "My lovely sister Nikegora won the girl's race," and "Kyniska won the chariot race." Every four years, at Olympia, sixteen women together with female assistants put on the games to the goddess Hera, the Heraia. "Here is the method of running. The young women let down their hair, allow their tunic to reach just above the knee, and uncover their right shoulders as far as the breast". They then race through the Olympic stadium. The victorious women received statues with their names inscribed and wreaths of olive leaves.
Support for women's sports is growing with more girls actively participating. At high schools at college campuses, women are now participating in sports that were largely considered just for men such as soccer and hockey. A professional women's basketball league also shows just how much women in sports have grown. If you've got a daughter or friend that is a sports fanatic, be sure to check out the All About Gifts & Baskets line of sports gift baskets which make great gifts for birthdays, get well, and just because.
Not only can we encourage our daughters to compete, but we also can look for ways to express our competitive side and acknowledge our aggressive and assertive nature. We too can feel the struggle to achieve, the rush at winning, and the agony of defeat, which on a lesser scale parallels the mortal agonies, the cosmic struggle of life and death.
The cold winter months are upon us now. It is the season when "icicles frozen by bitter winds hang down."