By Mathieu Constantin & Raine Paul
Sports is a medium for social change. We believe that offering a free and easily accessible tool, like the Sporting Change Podcast, can spark change through small yet powerful actions by sport leaders around the world.
Sporting ChangeSep 22, 2023
Newcomers in sports with Simon Barrick
Simon will discuss the challenges newcomers to Canada face in feeling like they belong and highlight the potential of sports and physical activities to help integrate them. Simon will dive deeper into the power of sports in fostering a sense of community, the barriers newcomers encounter when trying to engage in sports, and the crucial role that sports clubs play in creating an inclusive and welcoming environment. Together, we will aim to shed light on how sports can be a powerful tool for building bridges and inclusivity in Canada.
Simon Barrick (he/him), is a highly accomplished academic and researcher specializing in the sociocultural aspects of sport and physical activity. He recently completed his PhD in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary and now holds a teaching position at the University of Cape Breton, where he contributes to the "Sport and Physical Activity Leadership" and "Community Studies" programs with a focus on sport management.
To follow Simon:
Facebook: Simon Barrick
LinkedIn: Simon Barrick
Championing Equity: Elisabeth Walker-Young on Empowering Athletes with Disabilities
In today’s episode, we explores the significant underrepresentation and lack of engagement of Canadians with disabilities in sports, addressing the critical question of how to rectify this stark disparity. to shed light on various facets of this issue, including how to approach athletes with disabilities, the language to use, accommodations for visible and invisible disabilities, and supporting athletes who are born with disabilities or acquire them later in life. Beyond athletes, we also explore the barriers faced by coaches, officials, fans, and family members living with disabilities in the world of sports. To navigate this complex terrain, we are joined by 4-time Paralympian Elisabeth Walker-Young, offering valuable insights and perspectives on the current realities and inequities within this field.
Elisabeth (she/her), a former Team Canada swimmer and 4-time Paralympian living with a congenital disability, has an impressive athletic career with 6 Paralympic medals and numerous national and world records. In 2015, she made history as the 2nd Paralympian and the first female to serve as Chef de Mission for Canada's Paralympic Team, a role that now exclusively goes to Paralympians, partly thanks to her advocacy. Additionally, in 2018, Elisabeth was honored with the Order of Canada. Today, she is a prominent national advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in sports, holding degrees in Physical Education and Occupational Therapy, as well as expertise as a facilitator for ViaSport's All Youth Matter Inclusion Training. Elisabeth has also launched Inclusive Experiences with Shawna Lawson, a business centered around the intersection of inclusion and innovation, emphasizing lived experiences and authentic engagement.
To follow Elisabeth on Instagram:
Overcoming homophobia in sports with Brock McGillis
For young gay men, being a part of sports can be a traumatic experience. A study conducted in 2015 by “Out on the Fields'' claimed that 81% of Canadian participants witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports. Additionally, 70% believed that youth sports are not welcoming or safe for LGBTQ+ people.
Regardless of the barriers, LGBTQ+ athletes continue to work their way up the ranks in their respective sports to pursue their passions. However, these athletes often feel they must conceal their sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, which diverts their attention away from training and impacts their ability to focus on their sport. This sadly leads to a decrease in performance, a high level of LGBTQ+ attrition in sports and a significant impact on their mental health.
Today’s guest, Brock McGillis, a leading activist in the LGBTQ+ community, will share his revealing story of the struggles he faced as a gay athlete in hockey. From his accomplishments, to his darkest moments. He will talk about his coming out journey and his experiences in an attempt to help end homophobia in sport.
For some listeners, you may relate to his story because you, or someone close to you, has lived it. For others, we hope it will open your eyes to a new, and unfortunate reality that many gay men face when playing the sport they love. As you listen, keep in mind that roughly 1 in 4 people are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. These are your teammates, your coaches, your referees, or even the fan sitting next to you and all of them need your support.
To follow Brock:
LinkedIn: Brock McGillis
Paving the way for Women in sports with Lynn Kachmarik
Prior to Title IX in 1972, over 90% of female collegiate teams were coached by women. Title IX was a landmark gender equity law which prohibited gender-based discrimination in sport programs. It created equal opportunity to both male and female athletes in areas such as scholarship opportunities, access to training facilities, trainers, equipment and more.
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Today only 43% of the coaches for NCAA Div 1 female teams are women. When looking at men’s teams, that number drops to only 5%. This reality is not much different for Canadian Universities where only 26% of USport head coaches are women.
Sporting Change is honoured to welcome, Lynn Kachmarik, a trailblazer in the world of coaching. In 1986 she was appointed as the head coach of Bucknell’s Men’s water polo team….making her the first female to head coach a men’s NCAA Div 1 team sport.
In today’s episode we discuss not only how far women’s coaching has come, but how far we still have to go.
Racial Minorities in Sport: Breaking down stereotypes with Ashleigh Johnson
“Black people can’t swim”... This is a common stereotype that is so widespread in our culture that many people actually believe that it is true. While it is a myth…sadly, there is some degree of truth behind it. Due to the repeated history of segregation, Black communities still struggle to access basic swimming lessons around the world and the reality is, knowing how to swim could be the difference between life and death.
This is a race-based barrier that has existed for generations and in order to address it, we must first understand the history that has contributed to it. Today we welcome Ashleigh Johnson to the podcast to share her story of becoming the first Black female American water polo Olympian, to explore the history of segregation and exclusion in aquatic sports, and to learn how education is the key to breaking down barriers.
To follow Ashleigh:
Trans-athlete inclusion in sports with Dr. William Bridel and Eva Bošnjak
Conversations surrounding trans-athlete inclusion are more important than ever. Transphobia is a systemic issue and sport is still not a safe, welcoming or inclusive space for trans and non-gender conforming individuals. Unfortunately, sport has a long way to go in this space….however, we are starting to see organizations update their policies and regulations to become more inclusive to the trans and non-gender conforming communities.
Today we are honoured to welcome Dr. William Bridel and Eva Bošnjak: Two leading influencers when it comes to Canadian trans-athlete inclusion.
Reading list/other resources:
- Sporting Gender: The History, Science, and Stories of Transgender and Intersex Athletes by Joanna Harper
To follow Eva:
Part 1: Living as a Gay Man in Sport with Mathieu Constantin
In the first of a special two-part episode, Mat joins the podcast as a guest to share his story of being a gay coach and athlete in sport. For gay members of the sports community, homophobia and microaggressions are a reality of their sports experience. In this revealing episode, Mat shares his struggle coming out in the sports community, the impact that “being in the closet” had on his performance and mental health, and his 20+ year journey in sport.
Reading list and Extra Resources:
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please look at the following links:
How to Follow Mathieu:
Part 2: Living as a Gay Man in Sport with Mathieu Constantin
In the second half of this special two-part episode, Mat Constantin dives deeper into his mental health journey and the challenges he faced growing up gay in a heteronormative society. Lyle Brooks, founder of Men4More, guides us through Mat’s never before told story through the lens of mental health. With great courage, Mat shares his extreme highs and devastating lows to help listeners gain perspective on what is often experienced, yet seldom discussed, in the mental health journey of a gay man in today’s society.
Reading list and Extra Resources:
The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World
By Alan Downs Ph. D.
How to Follow Lyle:
Bully Prevention in Sports with Lisa Dixon-Wells and Dare to Care
By the age of 13, 7 out of 10 athletes in North America have quit organized sports. Many of these athletes say that the continuous yelling and criticism from coaches and parents is the number one reason why they quit the sports they once loved. The ‘fun’ in sport has been replaced by a ‘win at all cost’ attitude. Sadly, this shift in approach has led to increased dropout rates, childhood obesity, and mental health issues in youth.
Bullying in sports is a systemic issue that impacts athletes, teams, and sport clubs at all levels. Whether it’s players, coaches, parents or even fans, disrespectful behavior has become a growing concern in sport communities.
Join Lisa Dixon Wells, founder of Dare to Care, as we explore the crippling impacts of bullying in sport and what can be done to change it.
Reading List and Extra Resources:
To Follow Lisa:
Instagram and Twitter: @daretocare2
The Psychology of Change with Dr. Lisa Daroux-Cole
Have you ever stopped to think about your own beliefs? Where do they come from? Should you explore different points of view? Have you ever stayed quiet in a conversation because you were afraid of saying the wrong thing? Ever been unsure how to talk about an issue; worried you might accidentally offend someone?
In this episode Dr. Daroux-Cole provides insight on these difficult questions as we will explore the power of language, understanding our personal biases and the psychology of change.
Reading List & Extra Resources:
- Tavits (Washington uni) and Perez (uni of calif) 2019
- Wang, Leu and ShodaWang, Leu, and Shoda 2011
- Anderson et al., 1980; Hirt et al., 2004; Mussweiler et all, 2000
To follow Dr. Lisa Daroux-Cole:
The Power of Leadership with Mark Tewksbury
Leadership is defined as the ability for an individual, group or organization to "lead", influence or guide others. At Sporting Change we see coaches, board members, officials, teammates, captains, parents, and even fans as community leaders.
Many of our listeners take on leadership roles and have the power to influence the people around them. For that reason the first Sporting Change episode focuses on the power of positive leadership in the world of diversity, equity and inclusion.
We are extremely fortunate to have one of the first openly gay Olympic Champions in the world and leadership expert Mark Tewksbury joining the podcast.
Reading list and Extra Resources:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - How we can learn to fulfill our potential
Carol S. Dweck Ph.D.
To follow Mark:
Welcome to Sporting Change!
Sporting Change is the ultimate sports podcast to stay relevant and educated when it comes to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Tune in with Olympic champions, professional athletes, university professors, coaches, officials and influencers as we explore many important topics. During the episodes, some guests will share their lived experiences to help humanize issues, while others will be asked the hard questions as we engage in eye-opening DEI conversations. Most importantly, each episode will provide listeners with tools to help create change in their local communities.