By JANELLE BEHM
Many sports teams practice on fields, some in the gym, in the pool and others throughout the immediate Fredericksburg area. It is important for those who are on sports teams to focus while they are training. The women’s cross-country team is made up of twelve women who all run throughout The University of Mary Washington and the Fredericksburg area.
There seems to be a recurring problem of catcalling while these girls are running.
“A teammate and I were running downtown and a group of teenage boys in a car started yelling out of their car.” The team member also explained how “sometimes people will honk.”
Female athletes should not have to worry about people making crude comments or being whistled at. While these are the risks everywhere, the team usually runs together or in smaller groups.
There are other views to the story, though.
“I have not heard from the team about them getting ‘cat called’ running through town. My fiancé and I run through Fredericksburg together and alone, frequently… [we] can both attest to the fact that it’s a safe place to run,” said assistant cross country coach, Alec Villiva. “I will say that no matter your gender, if you run enough, somebody somewhere is going to honk in their car horn or somebody will yell ‘nice legs’ or even something less benign as you run by because they think it’s funny, but it happens less in Fredericksburg than anywhere else I’ve lived.”
Even if it does not happen here as much as it does in other areas, UMW values the safety of all students and faculty. Generally, men do not have to worry about this issue like women do, however no matter what gender, proceed with caution. The important matter to keep in mind is that athletes either involved or not in sports training off campus feel confident and focused while practicing something they enjoy to do.