fitness · health · illness

Easing back to ‘normal’

…or at least normal for me. 😉

After spending the better part of two weeks dealing with Covid, I am finally feeling mostly like myself.

I missed two weeks of Taekwondo, missed lots of walks with Khalee (I didn’t miss two full weeks of walks, those are easier to scale to my current energy levels) and kept my yoga mat rolled in the corner.

I really missed my usual activities. Aside from my enjoyment of the movements themselves, I missed the shape that yoga and walks give my days and the shape that TKD give my weeks. Without those things, my last two weeks have had a ‘stepped out of the normal flow of time’ kind of feeling.

A GIF of two characters from Doctor Who saying ‘Wibbley-wobblye timey-wimey. Misspellings are in the original.
(Yes, I know wobbly is misspelled) A GIF from the BBC show Doctor Who in which two character are saying ‘Wibbley-wobblye timey-wimey’ to each other.

This time last week, I had to sit down after putting in a load of laundry (there are two flights of stairs involved) and trying to do even gentle yoga left me feeling not quite dizzy but definitely disoriented.

And aside from the physiological evidence that I needed to take it easy, I also have read (and heard evidence from friends) that pushing yourself too hard when you are recovering from Covid can lead to complications.

Today though (I am writing this on Monday), I did a little gentle yoga and my walk with Khalee, while somewhat short, didn’t leave me feeling worn.

In fact, the movement in both cases felt GOOD instead of being mostly tiring.

I’m taking that as a good sign that my recovery is on track and that I am easing back to my regular life.

I’m still going to rest when I can and pay close attention in case things get to be too much for me but I’m glad to be stepping back into *my* normal flow of time.

A GIF of a person making air quotes while saying the word ‘Normal’
A GIF of a person with white hair and glasses, wearing a dark pink sweater and a flowered scarf saying the word normal while making air quotes with their fingers.

ADHD · Dancing · fitness · fun · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 5

December 5th seems like a great time to prioritize fun.

Or, at least, to make fun ONE of your priorities.

Have a look at your to do list for today and see if there are any fun things you can do sooner rather than later. Maybe you love writing cards or baking cookies or shredding old files or making schedules or whatever you find fun but you put those things at the end of your list because you feel like you have to get everything else out of the way before you do the fun stuff.

To hell with that: DO THE FUN STUFF FIRST.

If you are worried about getting carried away with fun stuff and never getting around to the less-fun stuff (this is a worry for those of us who are neurodivergent) then modify my advice above to:

DO SOME FUN STUFF FIRST. Set a timer or some sort of other limit so you get to have your fun and do the other things on your list.

Just, please, please, pretty please, don’t think that you need to EARN your fun. You can put fun first, you can mix it in the middle, YOU get to decide where fun belongs on your schedule.

Martha is also pro-fun – you tell when you read her 2020 Move with Music post that she will back me up on my have-more-fun position here.

So, it the spirit of that, here’s a fun dance video to try.

Not only do I love this song, I love the instructor’s energy, I love how much fun the other people in the video are having and I love that there are some hikers and their dog wandering down the path at the back part way through the song.

Whether you get up and dance, dance in your chair, or just nod your head or wiggle your fingers in time to the music, I think you’ll find this fun.

A dance video from Caleb Marshall AKA The Fitness Marshall entitled “Love Shack – EASY LOW IMPACT CARDIO | Caleb Marshall | Dance Workout” The still image is of Caleb and two back-up dancers, all with one arm extended overhead and one arm stretched out behind them, standing in a field. There is a red highlight outlining each of them. There is a trail extending up a hill on the right side of the image and there are trees behind them. White text on the lower part of the image reads ‘Love Shack Easy To Follow Low Impact’ and there is a rainbow filter behind the text.

Next up, our meditation for today is about feeling energized. They get into a bit of colour visualization that I am sure is related to chakras but if that’s not your thing, you can just do the breathing and build up your energy in black and white. 😉

A Great Meditations meditation video called ‘Feeling Full of Energy A Five Minute Meditation’ The still image is a cartoon-style drawing of a person’s head and shoulders. They have long black hair and gold earrings and their eyes are closed. The background colour is light orange with a mandala in various shades of yellow and orange drawn in the centre behind the person.

Whether you are able to prioritize your fun, do the dance video, do the meditation, do something of your own invention, or just take a few moments to breathe, I wish you ease today.

Please be kind to yourself. 💚⭐

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

fitness

Carbon pawprint, or what to do when values collide?

We’re happiest, I think, when our actions are overdetermined by our values. That is, it’s nice when our values all point in the same direction.

Why do I bike to work? Well, it’s nice to have time outside moving before beginning a busy stressful work day. I’m frugal and I hate paying for parking. Also, in my house we don’t each have a car. We share and it’s silly to have a car others could use parked in parking lot all day that I’m paying to use.

It’s also good for fitness in terms of everyday movement. And it fits with my environmental values. We really shouldn’t drive short distances around town when there are options.

You get the picture. There are lots of reasons all pointing in the same direction.

Ditto walking Cheddar the dog. He likes it. I like it. It’s good for both of us. And it’s not bad for the environment.

But that’s not always true. Sometimes I drive Cheddar to the dog park. Sometimes I put my bike in the car and drive somewhere to ride with friends. Heck, sometimes I even put my bike in a plane and then in a car to go ride in a different place.

In these cases, dog park and distant riding, my environmental values don’t fit with my other values.

Dogs in a side by side bike trailer

In the thread above there was a discussion of cargo bikes that fit dogs to get them to the dog park.

And while I guess that might work, I think I would have needed to start Cheddar out in a trailer when he was a younger dog.

We often take him to the dog park for the company of other dogs and so that he can run, even if I can’t.

I try to approach these issues by thinking about the overall results of my actions. Yes, I occasionally drive when I needn’t but overall my lifestyle is pretty low car. Yes, I occasionally drive somewhere to ride bikes with friends but on balance the bike centric lifestyle I lead is pretty environmentally friendly. I’m not going to fret if it’s not perfect. (I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I think about the book Tracy is working on on imperfect veganism.)

How about you? Do you ever drive to the dog park or take your bike in the car?

Cheddar and Chase

fitness · habits · health · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · rest

Making Space 2022: Day 4

Here we are on Sunday, December 4 and I think it’s an excellent time to plan for a rest.

Martha’s advice on December 4, 2020 was to Take a Nap and I am 100% behind that. Even if it is not possible for you to actually sleep in the daytime, planning a short rest period – sitting still, listening to restful music, taking deliberate slow breaths can make a huge difference in your well-being.

If you’d like some audio company for your rest, check out this episode of Dacher Keltner’s The Science of Happiness podcast featuring Tricia Hersey, AKA the Nap Bishop, from the Nap Ministry.

(Note: There’s a great quote from the Nap Bishop in Martha’s post, be sure to have a look.)

By the way, there are some guidelines for taking naps that you might want to have a look at – after all you don’t want your daytime rest to affect your nighttime sleep.

And now that you have been reminded about the hows and whys of resting, I have one more thing to ask you.

Can you plan short daily rest periods?

And/or could you plan ‘time off’ throughout this busy month? Even a few planned hours of deliberate relaxation scattered throughout the month can make a huge difference in how you and your brain feel about everything else on your list.

Seeing as we’re keeping today low-key, here are some relaxing stretches from Doctor Jo:

A video from the Ask Doctor Jo YouTube channel entitled Relieve Stress &Anxiety with Relaxing Stretches. The still image features Doctor Jo lying on her back on a blue mat and a pillow. She is bringing her left leg toward her chest and her right leg is bent while her right foot rests on the floor. She is smiling and she’s wearing grey pants, a green shirt, and light blue socks with whimsical patterns on them.

And next up, we have some yoga nidra – a wonderful way to get some deep rest without actually falling asleep (although, I often do.) This is a short video but if you like the practice there are plenty of longer ones available on YouTube.

A 5 Minute Yoga Nidra video from Ally Boothroyd’s channel. The still image features a person with a beard and chin length hair, wearing a light coloured shirt and dark pants, lying on their back on a yoga mat. They are in Shavasana, corpse pose. Text at the top of the image reads ‘5 Minute Yoga Nidra Rapid Deep Rest Reset.’

I hope the links and videos in this post help you find a little extra rest today but, no matter what you do or don’t do today, please be kind to yourself about how things proceed.

You are doing the best you can with the resources you have.

Be good to yourself. 💚⭐️

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

fitness · research

Sometimes you feel like a nut: the latest on almonds and appetite

CW: mention of articles talking about eating and weight loss.

Nutrition and metabolic scientists are working hard, and they’re working on a really hard problem: what are the effects of eating various foods/beverages on important features of human functioning? I’ve written in detail and with great relish about the swinging research pendulum on the egg question. Tracy has written about coffee and what science has to say about its effects on us. Christine’s even done experimentation on herself in service of our need to know about hydration. Thanks, Christine!

Some of those hard-working scientists came out with results of a study on eating almonds.

They were wondering whether eating some almonds before a meal (vs. eating a snack bar) would provoke what’s called early satiety– feeling full sooner– during the meal. They were going to measure this in three ways:

  1. release of appetite-regulating hormones
  2. self-reported lowered appetite
  3. reduced short-term food consumption, i.e. eating less at the meal

Turns out, despite the fact that 1) happened– the appetite-regulating hormones got released, 2) and 3) didn’t. That is, people didn’t report lowered appetite and they didn’t eat appreciably less at the post-almond-snack meal than they did at the post-snack-bar meal (690 vs. 761 calories on average, which was not statistically significant).

Oh well. Thanks anyway.
Oh well. Thanks anyway.

In all seriousness, what they found was pretty interesting. At the metabolic level, the almonds did their job– provoking release of appetite-lowering hormones. But the effect didn’t migrate up to the conscious awareness level or the behavioral level. Which isn’t a bad or a good thing– it’s just a science thing.

And it spurred some good directions for future research like:

  1. looking for different appetite-release patterns in people with different BMIs (their test group had BMI 27.5–34.9)
  2. looking for longer-term behaviors and weight change and maintenance patterns
  3. looking for favorable metabolic effects in diabetic populations

Yes, this research was done in part because nutrition science wants to find ways to bring about weight loss and maintenance of the results of weight loss. We’ve written a lot-a-lot about this, taking issue with the uniform imperative towards lower weights across almost all BMI categories.

Usually when I write these posts about new research, they’re accompanied by sensationalized and distorted media accounts of the results. This study doesn’t disappoint. Here’s what a google search yielded:

Just a few of the many news articles that got it wrong– this study doesn’t show that eating almonds before a meal will result in eating fewer calories.

So what are we left with? I learned some things about what a nice food almonds are for the body (I mean by reading– I wasn’t in the study!). Also, trying snack selection strategies to distract us from eating by pre-feeding us may not work. Which is okay. Eating is a complex business at every level– from the social to the behavioral to the metabolic.

So, how to decide whether to eat almonds at any given time? I leave you with advice from a 1978 commercial that I remember well from my youth. In short, sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.

Hey readers? Do you like almonds? Do you use them for snacking? For taking the edge off before a meal? Do you remember this commercial. Just curious…

fitness

Happy Global Fat Bike Day!

“Global Fat Bike Day has taken place on the first Saturday of December annually since 2012 — this year it falls on December 4. It’s a special day for fat bike enthusiasts who celebrate it the best way they know how — riding on their fat bikes! The day falls on a Saturday, mostly since it’s a popular day for riding and allows people to go on longer rides. But this isn’t set in stone, so you can choose to ride on Friday or even Sunday, depending on your commitments. You and your fat bike have the entire weekend! All this day asks of you is to find the time to ride.”

See more here.

Here’s some of our past fat biking stories:

Fat bikes

Winter riding: Are you ready?

Fat biking: A photo essay

Riding in the cold and the snow: A how-to, complete with bonus fashion tips!

Fat Biking, Take Two (Or, Sam Learns How to Ride Through Really Deep Slush)

Winter Cycling

The seasons of cycling

fitness

That Don’t Impress Me Much

Content warning: this blog post touches on aspects of diet culture.

In “FITNESS”, meaning the “business of fitness”, we are inundated with messages, visual or spoken, about what it means to be be fit. We are all familiar with “fitspo”, “before and after” (cringe), hyper masculinity, cut abs, silly phrases such as “strong is the new skinny”. We have talked about these things in various ways, and often, on this blog. It’s probably one of the reasons I was initially drawn to this blog, years ago, before I became one of the bloggers. It felt like a place I could relate to, as a woman in her late 30s/early 40s (the blog is 10 years old this year so it’s easy for me calculate when I must have discovered it) who worked out regularly and never saw myself represented in those messages and images. Those messages and images didn’t describe the myriad of benefits that I was deriving from fitness that had nothing to do with how I looked. Those other benefits (confidence, stress relief, anxiety control, maintaining healthy blood sugar, to name a few) were what kept me coming back several times a week.

Photo (courtesy of Unsplash) of a weight rake holding rows of dumbells. In the background is a white woman with blond hair in a ponytail. She is hinged forward and appears to be working on her dumbbell rows. Hopefully, she is feeling the benefits that last - power, stress relief, fun and more.

Photo (courtesy of Unsplash) of a weight rake holding rows of dumbells. In the background is a white woman with blond hair in a ponytail. She is hinged forward and appears to be working on her dumbbell rows. Hopefully, she is feeling the benefits that last – power, stress relief, fun and more.

This messaging still surrounds us. Thankfully, there are more voices speaking out about the “everyday” benefits of fitness. We see various shapes, genders, ages and abilities, represented in FITNESS. What hasn’t gone away and what I continue to see frequently is “fitspo masked as wellness”. What I see in abundance is people who appear to know that it’s not helpful to talk about losing weight in conjunction with fitness and they know many people do not want to associate traditional notions of beauty with fitness. Whether consciously or not, they mask these “incentives” in other words and visuals, in messages about wellness. Some may talk about their early experiences with fitness where they were preyed on and convinced they had to be skinnier than they already were (and to be sure, they were conventionally thin). They developed unhealthy diets to achieve these unnatural states. They bought into a hyper glam, hyper feminine form of fitness for women. Once those notions stopped working for them or they became unhealthy because of them, they discovered all the other reasons for fitness that many of us discover early on. They now see the benefits of strength training and cardiovascular health that I mentioned earlier. They feel stronger, body and mind. Their diets may be less restrictive than they once were. But not by much. Discovering the benefits of strength training is great. But they talk about their experiences as if they have completely changed despite it being clear they have not. They are still hyper glam. They are still making their bodies smaller. People are free to do all these things that fit their own needs. But, where I find it frustrating, is where they talk about changing and not subscribing to diet culture when it’s clear that they do. They give advice about their “nutrition” regimen as if it is not restrictive. They provide advice about their lifestyle and promote practitioners who they frequent. They make it sound as if they do not believe in one way to be fit or one way to look. But they do. They may not recognize it but they are still subscribing to all these things. Not to mention that often the suggestions they offer are not attainable to many people because of costs, both of time and money. And many of these people tout their ideas because they believe they are qualified when they are not. I would argue (having taken a couple of these courses myself) that taking a holistic nutrition course or personal training certification that touched on nutrition does not make one qualified to provide advice. Many of us fall into the trap of “this worked for me and so it will probably work with you”.

I fully subscribe to embracing fitness in a way that works for you. I have made fitness a part of my regular schedule for more than 20 years and I can talk ad nauseam about all the ways I benefit from it. I just wish people who believe in fitness just talked about that. Why they love it. How they enjoy it. Ways to enjoy it if you don’t. But, I would love it if people kept their own evolutionary stories relating to diet and beauty out of it. Most people, even if they are trained in fitness, etc., do not fully understand their role in perpetuating diet culture and unrealistic beauty standards. It would be great to keep nutrition and beauty ideals out of the gym and fitness world. At least, stop making “inspiring” messages about them. Especially if they are influencing people because of their fitness expertise.

Picture of smoothie bowl. Appears to be some type of berry smoothie. It has a bit of pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, granola and kiwi, encircling the bowl. It's sitting on a light wood cutting board. There is a glass with a spoon in it that appears to contain some sort of light green protein drink. You may hear about a lot of these types of options within fitness circles, particularly if they contain protein. They can be delicious. But not necessarily related to your workout. Courtesy of Unsplash.

Picture of smoothie bowl. Appears to be some type of berry smoothie. It has a bit of pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, granola and kiwi, encircling the bowl. It’s sitting on a light wood cutting board. There is a glass with a spoon in it that appears to contain some sort of light green protein drink. You may hear about a lot of these types of options within fitness circles, particularly if they contain protein. They can be delicious. But not necessarily related to your workout. Courtesy of Unsplash.

“Falling out of love with diet culture” is great. In order for a message to be inspiring, it needs to sound authentic. If it is not well thought out and not adequately self-reflective, it won’t be very inspiring. And, it won’t impress me much.

Nicole P. loves to workout for energy, clarity, feelings of power and stress relief. She loves food and has her own thoughts about nutrition, but would prefer the fitness and wellness industry were not so commingled with fitness.

Nicole P. loves to workout for energy, clarity, feelings of power and stress relief. She loves food and has her own thoughts about nutrition, but would prefer the fitness and wellness industry were not so commingled with fitness.

fitness · fun · soccer

A “chill” league of their own: Part 3

This past summer over 100 women joined a social media group to be part of a new, non-aggressive rec soccer league (Part 1). Rough play might have minimized by strengthening rules or removing aspects of the game that foster competition, but those changes didn’t happen (Part 2).

Given that the league, the rules, and the teams were going to stay the same, I was a bit doubtful that a truly “chill” rec soccer game would happen. However, it’s been a few months into the season, and I have noticed three differences from seasons past.

Shared effort to support friendly play

The FB “+40 Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Soccer,” posts are public to members. This means transparency: players have seen most of what had gone on in terms of planning the league. Group members were encouraged to self-organize: find others with a similar “chill” mindset, assign themselves to teams, volunteer as captains, and make other decisions. Consequently, there has been a shared investment in the building of the league.

As I described in Part 1 and Part 2, the entire FB group was polled a few times during set up time, giving everyone say about what was important to them. For instance, folks were given a choice about whether they wanted control over their team rosters OR game times to play.

Thanks everyone! Max league to 7 teams and add more players as needed (having an odd # of teams will create a bye.)

Continue to balance teams to 14/15 players each, no matter how many teams this creats (Game times will expand beyond initial 8-8pm).

The majority of the group selected roster control over time and team number limits. This democratic and transparent approach allowed players to feel that their choices mattered.

Now during the season, teams have also gone back to saying good game after the match is over, a tradition of goodwill that has finally resumed after COVID.

Leadership and communication

The building/league manager has vocalized his support of this group. Just before the season began, a league meeting was held for all players—not just captains—to remind everyone about the rules that penalize rough play. The FB group was used to communicate these messages and invites.

League Meeting! Tuesday, October 11 at 7pm Please attend!

Cindy and the team captains have had their own private FB communication channel. Competitors off the field, yet social on social media while off the field. I am told this additional communication among the team leaders has helped to reinforce the goodwill expected from players and teams.

Lobby for female refs too

As well, the FB group members had advocated for more women officiants for the games, and now we have a female referee who I have been told makes many calls during the game. So, the league has listened and responded to some communicated requests.

Accountability and commitment to “chill”

When the league was eventually finalized at the end of the summer, with 7 full teams, it truly felt like a group effort. And it was cause for celebration.

We did it! Way to go ladies! Thank you to all who contributed.

At the same time, Cindy, the group and chill league’s originator, encouraged everyone to continue to be be vigilant and accountable in regards to aggressive behaviour on the pitch. For example, she has encouraged us to take immediate action if play seems too rough:

I know we can't make this league perfect (100%) non-aggresive, but we can surely try. I say we all look out for each other and admit when we've gone too far or defend another player from an aggressive attack. And if all that fails, the whole team boycots the rest of the game and walks off the field.

So far, I have seen some apologizing for rough play when it occasionally happens. Refusing to play is probably a tough decision for a team to make in the middle of the game, and something I haven’t seen so far.

What’s next for the chill league

I admit I was in the minority on the polls, as I assumed that the game itself needed to change to reduce aggression. But maybe a soccer community borne of a shared “will to chill” is enough for us. I hope that fun and friendliness is what continues throughout our season.

I want to leave the last words of this post series to Cindy, who started it all:

“The only thing I wanted to gain from this was to bring women together again, in a sport that so many of us love, but have felt threatened by those that think there is something to gain from being overly aggressive at the age of 40+.
I have been injured, and I know others who have been injured too. I was going to stop playing, but really didn't want to.
I love the community that is being created in the group, even just by the teams all having a chance to speak with one another, off the pitch.”
blog · blogging · fitness · top ten

Top Ten November 2022 Posts, #ICYMI

  1. Is the soleus pushup the key to health? Catherine has thoughts
  2. Tracy’s older post about the many shapes athletes come in.
  3. Women Fighters of the Modern Middle Ages by Diane
  4. Cate and menstruation in her 50s. Her post about it almost always makes the top 10 list. This month it’s the 4th most read post.
  5. Marjorie’s older post on keeping fit while healing from hysterectomy.
  6. Pain and the human playground, a review by Sam
  7. Catherine’s helpful post about yoga poses she can’t do and what she does instead.
  8. Elan wrote about how to organize a chill, relaxed soccer team.
  9. How Catherine holds it togeher
  10. Sam’s post on aging, activity, and myths.
10!
fitness

Spare a Thought for Women in Highly-Gendered Sports

I have been thinking a lot lately about how sports perceived as “more for girls” are undervalued, even in sports where they dominate.

In North America, at least, the vast majority of amateur equestrians are girls and women, yet the story is much different at the elite level. Since 1964 women and men have competed together at the Olympics, but no woman has won a gold in show jumping or eventing, though almost as many women as men have won at dressage. Dressage is widely seen as the “girliest” of the disciplines.

A consequence of this may have been the undervaluing of equestrian as a “real” sport. No, the horse doesn’t do all the work; riding is intense and demanding, and it requires strength and bravery as well as athleticism, a good connection with the horse, and many many hours of hauling tack, shoveling manure, and getting 400-600 kg horses to go where you want, even when you aren’t riding. The size of the rider doesn’t seem to be a major factor; the key is how well they can manage their horse.

Other sports have also suffered from male flight (the term for men and boys being less likely to enter a domain once it becomes associated with femininity). They include cheerleading, which was a male sport as valued as football before women took it on during WWI, gymnastics, figure skating, dance and artistic (formerly synchronized) swimming.

These athletes all must all be strong and flexible; most compete in close formation so precision matters, and artistic swimmers do half of their their four-minute routines under water. Concussions and other injuries are common. But because they are women-dominated sports where costumes and make-up have a role, they are routinely mocked as not being true sports. Interestingly, all, including equestrian, are places that have traditionally been more welcoming of LGBTQ+ athletes, as well.

However, the most egregious undervaluing of women’s sport this week was at the men’s World Cup.

Soccer is not gendered at the early stages of learning the game; over 40% of all players in Canada are girls, and boys and girls play together on the same teams. As they age and become more skilled, the girls and women are relegated to a distant second place in the minds of some (check out Wikipedia to see just how little attention the women get). At the same time, the most-watched event of the 2020 Olympics in Canada was the gold medal women’s soccer game won by Canada, led by Christine Sinclair. Sinclair is the world’s all-time leading international play goal scorer among both men and women, and the second player in history to score in five World Cups (after Brazilian legend Marta).

The Canadian women have played in every women’s World Cup since 1995, reaching 4th place in 2003. They scored twice in their very first game in 1995, against England. In total, they have scored 34 goals. So when a TSN sportscaster gushed about the first goal for Canada at the men’s World Cup the “greatest moment in Canadian soccer history” while sitting beside Janine Beckie, a member of gold medal Olympic team, it’s not surprising this was her reaction:

Woman with long blonde hair and a black sweater holds a microphone while seated in a broadcasting studio. There is a crowded stadium in the background. The woman has an extremely sceptical look on her face.
Janine Beckie gives her co-host some well-deserved side-eye.

We all need to be more like Janine Beckie, every time we hear such nonsense.

Diane Harper lives in Ottawa. She grew up watching or attempting every one of these sports, and still does some of them, so she knows just how hard they are.