November 20, 2011
Androgynous Athletes or Just Girls?
It’s midafternoon, class-bound students are passing each other in the halls, and all I can hear is loud music secreting from two large oak doors with fogged glass. I peer in through the slightly ajar door to observe something amazing. A circus of sorts was hiding just outside the hallway. Flipping, jumping, spinning, and tumbling, in every direction I looked. Metal apparatus stretch high into the sky with silhouettes of strong bodied females gracefully swinging from bar to bar. On my left an elevated floor with more scattered females charging down a path of blue mats concluding with cartwheels and back flips. To my right a more graceful body presenting a dance atop a thin suede beam some four feet off the ground. If you haven’t guessed by now I stumbled upon the Southern Connecticut State University women’s gymnastics team. This was a group of athletes strong both mentally and physically giving shadows of femininity through movement and nurture of one another.
From an outside appearance the girls ranged from late teens to mid twenties, resembling a dwarfed version of a men’s football team in muscular physique. Their body definition was so eye catching. Their skin looked like it was stretched and draped over them with force. These girls stood alone amongst the student body typical to Southern. Unlike the other athletic sports attire typical to the students, the girls wore lavishly colored leotards and donned gaudy colors and fabrics from head to toe. I viewed the groups appearance to be far from the neat, clean, and make up covered facades so common to college girls I see every day. It was clear that the girls were a family as tough mentally as they were physically. These girls were here to work, have fun, and motivate each other. They were not out to impress the male student body. Unlike so many female students here at Southern, the team...