Activism, Leadership, Change
By Tori Eldridge '16, Field Hockey
The passion behind Show Your Sport in its beginning phases was palpable throughout the Skidmore athletic community and people started to talk: about what the posters meant, about how to learn more, about how to get involved. I started just as a participant, engaging in the campaign through the photo project and the discussion surrounding the experience of LGBTQ athletes on campus, but my role with Show Your Sport changed quickly over the course of the spring semester that year. This issue was something that I was passionate about. I was exploring my own sexuality while balancing all of the other demands that college brings. Resources about sexuality were never readily available to me so I felt lucky to be a part of a movement that was making a conversation about homophobia within athletics one that our college campus could have.
After the photo project the co-founders of Show Your Sport, Clare and Aria, started talking about how to keep the campaign going following their graduation. Just elected as the president of SAAC, I knew that I could be a larger part of this campaign.
The Show Your Sport team that next year was composed of a group of senior athletes who would meet once a week to read articles and talk about how gender and sexuality affected the everyday lives of the students on campus, especially student-athletes. It was as start, but it wasn’t the larger social impact that Show Your Sport was hoping to achieve. It was easy for athletes to be absorbed into their season and believe that they had contributed to the campaign through the photo project the previous spring. It was hard to recruit athletes to have these conversations when everyone had homework, practices, and other obligations. We needed something bigger to attract the attention of the student body in order for conversations on reducing homophobia to continue throughout the school.
One of the amazing ideas behind Show Your Sport is that the leaders of the campaign direct different projects depending on the strengths and passions of the current team. Without Aria as our talented photographer, or Clare to share gender theory wisdom with us, we had to come up with something to grab the campus’ attention that would fit our own strengths.
The team decided to bring speakers to campus, people who could address the larger campus in a knowledgeable way. Gender studies is a relatively new topic to me; my knowledge of gender theory and LGBTQ experiences is largely from my involvement in Show Your Sport. I was able to become involved despite my limited experience because the campaign is setup to educate those who are interested by providing them with resources they can explore on their own time, and providing them with a platform to have conversations about topics that affect us all. In April of that year we brought Kristin Russo and Kate Fagan to campus to talk to Skidmore about their experiences coming out to friends, family, and teammates, and their experiences since then. We had an awesome turn out the night of the event and the topics that Kate and Kristin touched on affected the everyday lives of the students in the room. The team and I were particularly proud to see many members of our athletic staff and administration in the room, showing their support for our student-athlete activism.
Even though I have graduated from Skidmore, I know the impact of Show your Sport will continue to motivate student-athletes towards social change. Skidmore’s athletes will make sure their voices are heard as a part of the larger community. While the campaign may change to address different social issues over time, the passion that brought the community together in the beginning will continue to unite student-athletes and their community to make their home a better place.