Female Athletes Rock

caines | 5/2/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Campaign uplifts and celebrates women in sports Jazmine Highsmith, MBA, a former collegiate athlete, once attended a celebrity basketball game to support a couple of her female friends who were participants. What stuck with her the most about that event was the fact that the female players were encouraged to wear tiny and revealing shorts to play the game. It came to me that females arent taken seriously in sports, she said. There is more to female athletes than being a sex symbol. In effort of empowering female athletes and encouraging younger females to participate in athletics, while also doing away with negative stereotypes about female athletes, Highsmith created Female Athletes Rock (F.A.R.) in April of this year. Through the non-profit campaign, she plans on positively showcasing female athletes, building self-confidence and unity among them, celebrating their accomplishments and also inspiring others to do the same. As a former female athlete, Highsmith has had much success. She helped Miami Northwestern Senior Highs girls track team win a state championship in 2005, as a hammer and weight thrower. She later attended the University of South Florida with a track and field scholarship. She received her masters of business in sports business from the St. Leo University and is currently working on her doctorate in sports management. But Highsmith has had to overcome the obstacles that female athletes face. She remembers hearing Oh, she doesnt have to train as hard as a guy, which was not true, according to Highsmith. Many female athletes train just as hard as men, and some also train with men. According to Highsmith, female athletes arent glorified in the media. She said the media makes it appear as if a woman has to be a video chick or a basketball wife to be successful, and oftentimes women who are successful in other fields arent displayed. Some female athletes dont get the recognition they deserve, she said. We dont really see them until its time for the Olympics. Presently, Highsmith has been promoting the campaign and encouraging others to become a part of F.A.R. She plans on reaching out to coaches of female sports teams and professional female athletes. The organization will eventually start hosting all-female sports camps and conducting motivational speeches for young girls and women. The word R.O.C.K., which is a part of the organizations name, is an acronym for resilient, outstanding, competitive and keen. They are all adjectives that describe a female athlete and what she represents, according to Highsmith. As a female athlete, youre born in a society where people are going to follow stereotypes. . ., Highsmith said, sharing some encouragement to female athletes. You just have to be resilient and really focus on overcoming the obstacles to get where you want to go. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com