You Can’t Beat Her Bro, She’s a Pro

(Devereaux Peters, Forward for the Washington Mystics)

Devereaux Peters wrote a great Twitter thread explaining why she stopped accepting challenges from guys who think they can beat her in a game of one-on-one simply because she’s a woman.

Not only did she explain how she remains undefeated, but also exposed the fragile male egos that believe they can dominate professional women of skill based solely on their gender. It can be dangerous for female athletes to accept these challenges as well because as soon as the guy realizes he’s getting his ass kicked, he starts playing rougher than he does with his male counterparts and could end up injuring the female gladiator just to save his damaged ego.

If you’re an occasional baller who’s crossed over a few guys at the park and Steph Curry’d a few long-range missiles, you still can not beat a professional female athlete who eats, lives, and breathes the game every single day and gets paid to do it.

Devereaux reminded me of my own history of playing basketball and why I never fathomed that I could win against a woman just because she’s a woman.

My cousin Lisa, who’s like my big sister, would spend her summers at my parents’ house during her high school and college years. She’s 6' 3" and was a star high school basketball player whose skills earned her a full scholarship to a major university. And she could dunk off of one foot; I’d witnessed it a few times.

She was the one who taught me how to shoot. I was only 7 or 8 years old and didn’t have the arm strength to shoot like an adult, so I’d launch underhanded shots from between my legs until I grew enough to shoot overhanded as she’d instructed.

If the WNBA existed while she was in college she’d easily have been drafted to the pros or played overseas. Unfortunately, a knee injury cut her basketball career short but she was able to keep her scholarship and finish her education in psychology. And she was extraordinarily beautiful, so she modeled part-time while working in her chosen career field of social work.

When I was a teenager, I played basketball for my high school and also in a local city league. By the time I’d reached 11th grade, my dribbling and shooting skills were pretty good and I could easily dunk being just 5'11.”

By that time, the summer visiting roles reversed and I’d spend my vacations with Lisa, her then-husband, and two adopted kids in Orlando. One evening I was in the driveway shooting hoops on a portable goal as she pulled in from work. She stepped out of the car in her jeans and sneakers and challenged me to a quick game of one-on-one. All I remember is that she stopped my dribble a few times and contested my shots enough to make me miss. I wasn’t taking it easy on her and she wasn’t taking it easy on me, but she still had game.

Mind you, I was 16 and an above-average player with youth on my side. She was in her 30's, had just gotten home from working eight-plus hours, and was about to go inside and make dinner for everyone.

Lisa was a trained athlete. She’d spent most of her life playing basketball and conditioning herself to play at a higher level. Even into her 30’s and not eating, living, and breathing the game on a daily basis, the skills and muscle memory were still there and she had no problem keeping up with a teenager who had a bit of game himself.

Even now as an athletic guy who’s in good shape, exercises regularly, and has played sports most of my life, I wouldn’t challenge any female athlete to a sport that she’s professionally trained for. I play for fun, they play for their livelihood.

So, bros:

Good luck hitting a fast-pitch softball from Jenny Finch. I hope your health insurance covers the multiple bone fractures you’ll get from stepping in the ring with Ronda Rousey. The eye candy may be distracting, but you wouldn’t come close to getting a first down in the Legends Football League.

Your ego may only see a woman, but the reality is that these women are PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES. They are THE BEST at what they do. They train relentlessly, work exceptionally hard and endure the same physical pain, injury and mental obstacles that every male athlete endures. Then again, nature makes them endure a lot more pain on a regular basis so they’re also performing through something men don’t experience.

Our male egos can sometimes make us overestimate our abilities, but rest assured there are plenty of female athletes who can easily put us in our place.

It’s better to leave those thoughts of gender-based victory in our fragile minds rather than have them crushed, broken, or crossed-over by a skilled and trained woman.

I have to live this kind of life, to write the things I need to write.

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