February 21, 2024

Female athletes who embodied pride in skill, passion, and love

Female athletes who embodied pride in skill, passion, and love
Art by Royce Nicdao

Roman Catholics anywhere would recognize it. Pride, as they were taught in school, is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It's vanity. It's hubris. It's the elevation of the self over the others.

Pride stems from a late Old English word, pryde, for excessive self-esteem or having a high opinion of one's own worth, according to the Oxford Dictionary.

But pride can be a good thing.

Dig deeper into history and you'll encounter the late Old English word prut, variant of Old French prudbrave, valiant. Then there's Latin term prodesse, or be of use.

Now it's something quite different. It's a label. It's a call to action. It's a memory of the Stonewall Riots, which happened during a parade in the United States where people could express themselves freely.

Activist Craig Schoonmaker was credited for using Pride, as he spoke in the Allusionist podcast, "First thought was ‘Gay Power’. I didn’t like that, so proposed gay pride."

"There’s very little chance for people in the world to have power. People did not have power then; even now, we only have some," Schoonmaker said.

"But anyone can have pride in themselves, and that would make them happier as people, and produce the movement likely to produce change."

Fast forward to the 2010s and the 2020s and here we are, somehow still fighting for the self-expression and against the demonization of strips in multi-colored flags.

Some athletes though have come out to banner Pride despite the stereotypes of their sport and looming consequences. They have shown that love and the freedom of their true self should not be a hindrance to their skills. They can be celebrated for what they can do in the competition. And they can showit's utterly okay to embrace your true identity.

Megan Rapinoe, Sue Bird

Talk about a power couple!

US women's national soccer team captain and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe is openly gay. So are four others on the squad.

And Rapinoe is using that incredible World Cup victory as a platform and as a protest.

"We’re unfortunately constantly being oppressed in some sort of way. So I feel like us just being athletes, us just being at the pinnacle of our game is kind of a protest in a way and is sort of defiant in and of itself," she told the NBC News in 2019.

Now she's building a platform for these voices with her partner, WNBA legend Sue Bird.

Billie Jean King

She is one of the legends of the professional tennis world, having earned 39 Grand Slam titles. Billie Jean King famously won the "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match against Bobby Riggs.

And in 1981, she was outed as a lesbian.

King's lawyer and press representative urged her to deny it, but the tennis icon refused.

"I said: ‘I’m going to do it. I don't care. This is important to me to tell the truth.’" King told NBC News.

"The one thing my mother always said, ‘To thine own self be true.'"

Would she do anything differently? King said in retrospect, she would've come out earlier.

"Don't let anyone define you," King wrote at the start of this year's Pride Month. "You define yourself."

Aby Maraño

Volleyball fans know all too well the hardships that Tyang Aby went through with her past relationship. So you know the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers captain and Queen of Swag will come out roaring against those who criticize her relationship with fellow volleybelle Kamille Cal.

"Isang katibayan lang 'yan na mas mahusay magmahal ang kababaihan kaysa sa mga kalalakihan," she answered in a One Sports post.

Responding to another comment claiming that Maraño's former partner would not have left her had she improved her looks, Tyang delivered a response worthy of a beauty queen.

"Wala pong timeline ang pagpapaganda at self-love, gaya ng wala ding pinipiling oras kung gusto tayo ipagpalit sa iba ng mga jowa natin," she wrote.

"Thankful na po ako at ito ang naging kapalaran ko. I had to learn to love myself the hard way. Salamat po sa papuri na bagay sakin, pero sana 'wag n'yo gawing basehan ng ganda ang ilong."

"Sana ang basehan ng ganda ay ang babaeng marangal, may mabuting kalooban, marunong rumispeto at may delikadesa."


We stan our Tyang!

Margielyn Didal

Margie has always broken barriers. She has paved the way to recognize skateboarding as a legitimate sport in the Philippines, having been invited to the prestigious X-Games and is now a representative of an energy drink.

She is a SEA Games and Asian Games gold medalist. She's an Olympian. And she's the poster child of showing sports can be fun.

And in this cozy little cafe in Cebu, Didal proved she's also the best partner as she proposed to longtime girlfriend Jozel Manzanares on their eighth year anniversary.

Now that's how to treat a girl right!

These athletes are the pride of their sports. They take pride in their accomplishments. And they're proud to banner Pride wherever they go.

Pride can be a good thing.