Grown-up first day of school
Pausing, learning, and welcoming change
I was born in the days of yore when the internet was just a faraway twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eyes (just kidding. I’m only 25, even if I act like I’m 80). Still, I remember when first-day-of school pictures were framed and placed on the mantel, rather than blasted out into the Insta-web (do I sound like I’m 80 yet?).
It’s always comforting to reflect on how much our world can change—with new technologies, new stressors, and new pandemics—and yet, some markers remain. The first day of school is one of those markers, and what a cool one it is. It’s a chance to pause and mark the moment before all the chaos; the moment that you will look back on in ten months and think: look how much I’ve learned, look how much I’ve grown.
I think one of the biggest hoaxes of adulthood is that, unless you’re a teacher, you will never have a marker quite like the first day of school. There will be no snapshots of you walking to the school bus, no backpack filled with empty spiral notebooks and sharpened pencils. You will just keep chugging along—summer to fall to winter to spring to summer to fall again. It can be hard to look back, mark new beginnings, and reflect on how much you’ve learned; on how much you’ve grown. I want to normalize grown-up first days of school. So, this newsletter is basically Social Sport’s first day of school picture. We’ll look back on it in 10 months to see how much we’ve grown.
In the spirit of learning and evolving, here’s what’s new for Social Sport.
New monthly structure!
In the past, I have released an episode every week, and sometimes twice a week. Going forward, we will release three episodes and one newsletter each month. Every month will look like this:
Week 1: Monday episode
Week 2: Monday episode
Week 3: Monday episode
Week 4: Friday newsletter
This way, you will get some form of content each week! The new structure will allow me to continue to produce the podcast, uphold (and even improve!) its quality, and ensure that I am not drowning.
We’re growing!! Please welcome Nic Errol, the new manager of the Social Sport Podcast.
A little bit about Nic:
If you ever listened to the incredible Running On Om podcast, you are familiar with Nic’s work. He managed Running On Om from its 2019 re-launch to its indefinite pause in December of 2020.
Born and raised in Perth, Australia, Nic grew up swimming competitively and spent a lot of his time at the beach. He moved to London in 2013, fell into running, and discovered quite the passion and talent for it (my words, not his). Nic has raced all over the world, mostly in longer distance, ultra marathons. He is a member of the Squirrels Nut Butter Elite team and the Coros Global Ambassador team.
Nic is also a member of the Senior Management Team for Kyniska Advocacy, which was recently featured on the Social Sport podcast, and he works in marketing and communications during the day. I am so excited to welcome Nic and his expertise to the podcast. He will help with marketing, sponsorship, and all that happens on the back-end to make Social Sport possible!
Podcast episodes of the past month
Kate Seary and Mhairi Maclennan on Kyniska Advocacy and policy change that protects all women in all sports.
"𝗞𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗸𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝗸𝗻𝗼𝗰𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿𝘀, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂. 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴. 𝗪𝗲 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻'𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗮𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝘂𝘁, 𝘀𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝗳𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿..." -Kate Seary
“𝗪𝗲 𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗱 [𝘃𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗺𝘀] 𝘂𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲. 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝘁’𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆. 𝗪𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝘆𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗺𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝘃𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗺𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱. 𝗪𝗲 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘂𝗺𝗮 𝗼𝗳 𝗮𝗱𝗺𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗯𝗼𝗱𝘆 𝗲𝗹𝘀𝗲, 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂...” -Mhairi Maclennan
Hannah Borenstein on Ethiopian women’s distance running and power dynamics in track and field
“𝗦𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗰𝗵 𝗮 𝗯𝗶𝗴 𝗽𝗮𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲—𝗼𝗳 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆𝗼𝗻𝗲’𝘀 𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝘀—𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆 𝗼𝘂𝘁. 𝗪𝗲 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗿𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗮𝗱𝘃𝗼𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗮 𝘀𝗼𝗰𝗶𝗲𝘁𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁.” -Hannah Borenstein
Guarina Lopez on Indigenous sovereignty; running, biking, and storytelling on Native lands.
“𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝗲𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗱𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻 𝗰𝘆𝗰𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀, 𝗺𝘆𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗱, 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝘆𝗰𝗹𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲. 𝗪𝗲 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗮 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺 𝗼𝗳 𝗱𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘄𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝗼𝗻, 𝗼𝗿 𝗿𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵. 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗲𝘀.” -Guarina Lopez
—Towards the end of this episode, Guarina speaks about the upcoming Women Run the Vote Relay, that she helped organize with Run 4 All Women and Oiselle. This year’s relay is all about Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice, and proceeds go to three awesome organizations. Learn more and sign up here.
People I have learned from recently
Recently, I had a learning experience that will stick with me forever: the four days I spent in Eugene, Oregon, with emerging track and field media professionals, as part of the Magic Boost Program, headed by Hayward Magic and CITIUS Mag.
I think the premise of any social change-related work is noticing, analyzing, and questioning established norms and power dynamics. The Hayward Magic team noticed the norms in track and field media—a historically white space, comprised of few young people. They analyzed how this norm was limiting the potential of track and field journalism and thus, the potential of the sport in general. So, they devoted time and resources to 16 young storytellers (myself included), who are each changing the landscape of track and field media. We joined together at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene a couple of weeks ago.
It was invigorating to spend four day with 15 other young journalists—a mix of writers, podcasters, videographers, graphic designers, and photographers. Each brings a unique experience and skillset to their work. Collectively, they are tipping the power dynamics within sports journalism, engaging new audiences, broadening the fan-base of track and field, and most importantly, using sports to address larger, societal issues.
You can learn more about these young journalists, each of whom I had the privilege to learn from in person, here. Follow their work!
What I’m reading
I recently read Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Kimmerer is a Native woman and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is a scholar with a background in both ecology and poetry. She pulled her experience and talent into this beautiful, poetic, nonfiction masterpiece, pushing us to learn from Indigenous knowledge and heal our relationship with the natural world.
I have been reading quite a bit of poetry lately and have been drawn to Olivia Gatwood. Her book of poems, Life of the Party, is a chilling reflection on girlhood, gendered trauma, and the nature of women's fear. If you have read this newsletter before, you know that I read and recommend many books of a similar premise. In retrospect, this genre obsession is not the healthiest…
I was blown away by Jasmine Mans’s Black Girl, Call Home, a beautiful and chilling collection of poetry on race, feminism, and queer identity.
What I’m writing
Two recent pieces of mine in Trail Runner Magazine:
This article on Verna Volker, the incredible founder of Native Women Run, who has found healing in her own online community.
Jenny Jurek has inspired countless women; she wrote openly about grieving two traumatic miscarriages while crewing for husband, Scott’s successful Appalachian Trail speed record in 2015. Jenny returned to the trail this summer, with her two young children in tow. I was honored to speak with Jenny and write about that full-circle experience.
What I’m obsessed with
I’ve recently been listening to the Maintenance Phase podcast, which debunks wellness and weight-loss culture. The two hosts, Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes, are brilliant journalists. I first came across Michael Hobbes through his 2018 HuffPost piece, Everything you Know about Obesity is Wrong, which I continue to reference today. One of my favorite Maintenance Phase episodes is this one about eating disorders, how they affect larger-bodied people, and how it’s harder for folks who don’t fit the standard “eating disorder visual” to get care.
Want more Social Sport? You can subscribe, rate, and review (please!) the Social Sport Podcast here. You can follow Social Sport on CITIUS Mag, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Feel free to slip into the Social Sport DM’s on Instagram, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you think of the show or newsletter!
Stay tuned for the next episode of the Social Sport Podcast on Monday. Oh, and happy first day of school.
Stay sporty & keep resisting,