The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is an award that ESPN gives out at the ESPYs each year to someone, usually an athlete or former athlete, whose actions or contributions to society transcend sports. Caitlyn Jenner – former decathlete, “world’s greatest athlete”, and Olympic gold-medalist – makes an excellent point in her acceptance speech that everyone should take to heart as we get closer to the start of a new season when we’ll have new crops of athletes joining our teams: “We are all different. That’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing and while it may not be easy to get past the things you do not understand, I want to prove that it is absolutely possible if we only do it together.”
Related: Mental health + rowing
We’re all athletes and because of that, we all inherently respect each other because we know the amount of time, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears that goes into what we do. That same respect HAS TO transcend rowing though and extend to our everyday lives. Support your teammates, accept them for who they are, and be willing to shut down anyone who acts differently. It is so cool to watch history change right in front of our eyes like this but it takes everyone stepping up and doing their part to make a lasting difference and as Caitlyn said, “a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us”.