Seventeen-year-old Kelsey Galeano, from Jamaica Plain, has been a practitioner of mixed martial arts for over 12 years and is the epitome of a strong female.
She says she gets immediate respect when she tells people that she is a black belt.
“I have strong legs, but they don’t realize that I also have a strong heart,” she says. “Having both physical and mental strength makes me feel like I can take a man’s world head on. Every woman can — but a female black belt will.”
Women in sports are often stereotyped by society. Many girls say they are almost never taken seriously in sports because they are portrayed as public display, and not athletes.
Teens say this prejudice can become overwhelming at times and can lead to self-esteem issues. This is also the reason why many young girls stay away from sports. Still, there are many young female athletes in Boston helping find those obstacles.
Sixteen-year-old Amanda Brea says she feels comfortable running track and field with the boys on her team at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science.
“Many times with the boys, I attempt to prove that if they are better at something, I am better at something else,” she says. “A boy could be stronger, but many times it is us girls who play smarter.”
Sarah Hussein, 15, from Dorchester, believes the best advice for a female athlete is to continue training.
“No matter how many times you lose or fail, continue trying because failure is the only thing that will get you to know what to practice on,” she says, adding: “Practice does make perfect.”