“What does kindness look like to you?”
This month, the WCA is focusing on kindness and what it looks like. As I navigate the topic, I think often about the people with whom I surround myself and the relationships I foster with those people. Much of my work in the Prevention Program at the WCA is focused on healthy relationships: their components, how to nurture them, and how we can use them in our daily life. The prevention team regularly presents our Healthy Relationships Curriculum to middle and high school groups where we discuss each of the components in a healthy relationship. We highlight these components: support, trust, respect, fairness, equality, individuality, mutual space, acceptance, and communication. Students identify which components are most meaningful to them in particular relationships, such as their relationship with their parents or friends. I often participate in this exercise myself and think of the relationships in my life and how kindness plays its role. According to our list, kindness is not an official component of a healthy relationship, but I do believe it is significant.
I am particularly focused on my relationships with my mixed club ultimate frisbee teammates. We just finished our season at the end of October. We had a fabulous showing at Club Nationals where we placed 11th in the nation. To give a bit of perspective, more than 15,000 athletes compete annually on one of 600-plus Club division teams, so for our team to present on the national level and walk away with our placement is a significant accomplishment. Getting to such a point requires complete “buy-in” athletically, socially, and emotionally. For one of us to succeed, we need to consider what benefits our team as a whole and how we can help achieve the team goals via personal effort. To me, this is an exceptional example of kindness; putting others’ needs before your own.
Let’s also consider some social norms in sports: ultimate trends towards a male-dominated sport, which can sometimes be a difficult space to navigate through. Our team is a mixed team, which means our roster consists of male and female matching players. I may not be as tall or as speedy as my male teammates, or my voice may not carry as far across the field, but I am given support and space to succeed, and, not only that, I believe my effort is genuinely celebrated. This is a testament to our team’s ability to exhibit healthy relationships with fortitude. Our success is built on the kindness and love we show for each other and the game.
Written by Shannon Montaño, Prevention Program Specialist
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