ESPN is kicking off Women's History Month in a huge way, with a new movie that celebrates women athletes. When I Play, which features real athletes instead of actors, was released today on espnW, ESPN's branch focused on women and sports.
The short film features several athletes reciting a poem written by Allison Glock, a writer for espnW, with voiceovers laid over footage of them practicing their sport.
"To Whom It May Concern," the poem begins. "What I am doing here is not for you/ Not for your judgment or your appraisal/ Not for your assessment or your arousal/ No boy I know has ever been told he shouldn't play."
The movie features voices and footage of five athletes, including Lara, a 48-year-old powerlifter, Heather, a 25-year-old dancer, and Emebet, a 17-year-old soccer player.
"Women across nations are still told in myriad ways, spoken and not, that we should not play,'" she wrote. "When I Play is a film that directly and unapologetically celebrates who we are, what we want to be, why our visibility matters, and gives voice to women and girls who see their athleticism as a way to reclaim themselves, to find themselves and to embrace their power."
Not only does the movie star all women athletes from gyms and athletic venues in Atlanta, Glock says that she also hired an all-woman senior production team to make and edit the film.
All too often, she wrote, women are silenced everywhere they go.
"We are warned not to get dirty in the schoolyard," she wrote. "We are advised to 'act like a lady,' or 'dress like a woman.' We are chided when our bodies become 'too big' or 'too strong.' We continue to have to fight for the right of women's athletic programs to exist and for our female champions to earn equal pay. Too often we are silenced, even on the Senate floor."
When I Play, she said, is meant to be a rallying call for women to embrace and harness their power. And given the current political climate, we need a movie like this now more than ever.