Penn State’s Phia Gladieux and Gianna Cutaia featured in video that supports female athletes

It’s hard to believe that in 2023 a standout field hockey athlete like Penn State’s Phia Gladieux has to defend playing a sport that she loves.

But, she does. And, she does it unapologetically.

Gladieux was featured in a video called, “Her Game,” produced by Penn Stater Hailey Stutzman. Both Gladieux and Penn State women’s lacrosse star Gianna Cutaia talk openly about what it’s like to shine in the shadows of men’s sports.

The video, published to Gladieux’s Instagram account on May 2, leads off with her saying: “I just wish, ya know, we would get more recognized for our accomplishments a little bit more. We’re still working on that, but, it’s a work in progress.”

Gladieux wrote a candid post about field hockey being degraded by men and women, despite the team’s success. What’s most admirable about her writing is the risk she’s taking to promote her sport.

“I’ve been playing field hockey for 13 years,” she wrote. “Growing up, I had the privilege of being surrounded by a community that highly respected the sport—a community that embraced the sport’s unfamiliarity and difficulty, and in turn, looked at me and my fellow teammates as skilled competitors.

“Field hockey is such an integral part of my life, and I love being able to share my love for the sport on social media. However, posting field hockey content on social media has made me realize that the respect my teammates and I received growing up is few and far between. The comments my field hockey-related posts receive on a daily basis, from both men AND women, are: “Field hockey isn’t a sport,” “No one cares,” “This sport is stupid,” “This isn’t impressive,” “play real hockey,” etc.

It goes without saying that these comments are beyond ignorant and completely inaccurate. But what upsets me the most is the clear difference of my comment section, as an accomplished field hockey player on an accomplished team (reminder: we made it to the final four!) versus the comment section of a male athlete in a comparable situation. Have you seen someone comment, “Football isn’t a sport,” on a Penn State Football post? Or “No one cares” on a Penn State wrestler’s post?

We are all athletes, we all work extremely hard, and we all deserve the same amount of respect. I will continue to use my platform to not only grow the game of field hockey, but bring attention to women in sports, because we deserve it just as much as the next person.”

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