Chloe Johnson – Ohio State Lacrosse

“Lacrosse means everything to me since I started playing at the age of 4. It has provided me with a lot of opportunities as an athlete, but also as a Black woman. I have gotten to surpass stereotypes and prove I can do more than what is expected of  me. I have gotten to travel and meet so many different people, but mainly it has taught me to open my eyes to my surroundings and be more aware. I have always known that I am different. Lacrosse gave me a platform to speak up for myself and other Black female lacrosse athletes. Being a black woman but basically living in a predominately white environment taught me how to maneuver in that world. There were instances of prejudice and bigotry but I learned how to carry myself during those events.”

“A moment that defined me as an athlete was when I was picked for the Under Armour All-American Senior Game. It reassured that all the hard work and setbacks I had gone through were worth it. Being the only black girl in the entire game made a statement to coaches who had a limited image of me and a statement to myself that the game is bigger than just me. This moment made me desire to be a role model for upcoming Black female lacrosse players. Being a minority in this sport has its difficulties, but it keeps me motivated to see other Black women want to do the same thing.”

“I would tell a younger version of myself to stay true to myself as an athlete and a person. Be confident in my own abilities as an athlete and do not try to compare myself to others. Use my voice and look to make an impact on and off the field. Don’t let the fact that I know I’m different from the majority of the girls I play with affect how I think about myself, and just because they are my teammates does not mean we have to be ‘best friends’. Don’t change or silence myself just to be liked.”

“Growing up in a predominantly white sport I always felt like I was isolated from everyone else. I felt like the one that wasn’t part of the friend group. I felt needed on the field,  but off the field it was a different story. I had parents and their children say racial slurs to me. Even on the field I felt like I was put into a box and wasn’t expected to have the same skillset as the other girls. Feeling that way made me work twice as hard so I would stand out more. Being a Black woman playing lacrosse made me better because I always had to prove myself. As I got older, I was able to find some good friends on my teams. What was most important for me was if they had back in any circumstance.”

“I want the lacrosse community to know that as a Black woman I spent the majority of life trying to fit into a ‘white world’ and learn how to maneuver in this environment. Unfortunately, that effort was not reciprocated. Black female athletes in these predominantly white sports are made to feel as ‘the exception’ and have to assimilate to be accepted. It is easy to judge or stereotype us if we are not what people are used to but I encourage the lacrosse community to get more involved in Black communities. We may have different views and personalities, but I hope Black athletes will feel comfortable and be their true selves. I hope they will be valued as more than just athletes.”

“The best way for athletes to promote positive change is to continue to use their voices. No action is too small when trying to make a difference. Encourage people to step out of their comfort zone and educate themselves. Ask questions if you genuinely want to know and share what you learned. Even though it seems small, that can go a long way to promote change. People need to know we are more than just athletes, Our worth and identities are a lot deeper than that.”

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