One Race in Sports
The realm of sport is a very gender specific world. We associate specific sports with gender, for example only men play football and baseball, where women play softball and do gymnastics. Socially it is not accepted for people to break these set boundaries. When individuals attempt to fight the system, there are many social costs, for example being deemed "gay" in the most derogatory sense. However, benefits do arise in the long run, as colleges appreciate students who are willing to challenge societies' prejudices.
High school is a very transitory period for most teenagers. They are just beginning to discover who they are and what they care about in the world. Though within there are many battles for the individual, there also exist many social barriers. The "popular" crowd is generally full of the jocks. The boys who participate in sport every season: football, baseball and track, and the cheerleader girls who are petit in stature and care greatly about their outward appearance (I realize that this is quite a generalization, yet it has proven true in my experience). Somehow, it seems that these peoples' opinions always matter the most. They determine what is "in," they define "cool." Personally, I never was an active member of this crowd, though some close friends of mine were. My "group" of friends however, was fairly athletic. Practically every one of us participated in a sport, track, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, or soccer. One friend was always a bit different from the rest of the guys. While not feminine in his demeanor, he never distinguished himself as particularly "manly." For example, when one of the girls had to go to the locker room for some reason, she always asked Kawika if he wanted to come along, suddenly realizing that he couldn't. Eventually he realized that he enjoyed gymnastics and wanted to learn more about it. He began to take lessons and tried to join the school team. Sadly, there was no space for him on the team, because the Intramural League of Hawaii (ILH) had no other competing male gymnasts. He did practice with the team though. As can be expected of any news on a high school campus, the rumors began. Suddenly Kawika was gay, a fag, weak, a pussy...the list doesn't end. Shortly after he quit the team, claiming that there was no proper competition. Kai never took actions to create more competition for himself, but by the next year there were 2 new male gymnasts from schools around the state. Kawika rejoined the team.
Though on a popular level, Kawika remained less than a "guy," he experienced many benefits. Because he knew so many girls in a friendly team atmosphere, he had more invitations to our and other senior proms than any of the football players...