Playing a sport is rewarding, and can be a grind.
The time spent at countless meets, matches and games pales in comparison to the days, months and years of preparation put in by athletes when no one is watching.
This is true for men’s and women’s athletics alike.
A mile an hour or two on a tennis serve, a half second in a 200m race, and an inch on a vertical jump in volleyball may not seem like much, but they can be the difference between winning and losing.
Between getting a scholarship to play at the next level and not.
Between achieving one’s lifelong dream and falling just short.
Recently, the dreams of female athletes of all ages have come under threat because of efforts to allow biological males, or transgender women, to compete against them, in a misguided attempt at "fairness."
Let’s be clear: biological women competing alongside biological men is anything but fair. It robs young girls and women of their chance to succeed on an equal playing field, and I believe could discourage many to participate.
There isn’t a bigger supporter of sports than me. Not only do I start at third base for the Congressional Women’s Softball team, but my family are all active participants and spent many hours on the courts and playing fields together. I know firsthand the incredible sacrifices female athletes make to hone their craft and how much it means to get the chance to compete.
If you really do support equality and women in sports, then support the girls and women who put in the work and dedicate themselves to being the best. Girls participating is not only good physically, but it builds character, confidence and friendships.
This movement to allow biological males to take spots atop the podium, atop the leaderboard, and in the record books, as female athletes take a back seat, is wrong.
It’s exactly why I cosponsored the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, legislation authored by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that would protect athletic opportunities for female athletes.
Specifically, it would ensure that Title IX provisions relating to athletics treat sex as that which is "recognized based solely on a person's reproductive biology and genetics at birth."
Title IX has provided so many opportunities for girls and women in sports that we should do all we can to promote fairness.
To most folks, we should take commonsense steps to ensure fair and equal competition for all athletes.
Sports are part of the fabric of American life, and women are a huge part of that. The trailblazers of the 20th century, the star athletes who brought home gold medals, and the local legends who won state titles did so on an equal playing field. Let’s not stifle the dreams of young girls by forcing them to compete on an unfair playing field.
Let’s instead continue to support female athletes, and send a message to the next generation of girls that we will be there every step of the way celebrating their accomplishments that make all of us proud.