Princeton Athlete Ally Program Entering Second Year

Cat Lambert is a rising senior senior majoring in Classics at Princeton. She’l be helping lead the Athlete Ally Program on her campus this fall, and explains why, below.  

Sports have been a big part of my life and personal development from a young age. I played basketball, soccer, and lacrosse in high school, and in my Freshman fall at Princeton, I tried to walk-on to the varsity women’s lacrosse team. When that didn’t work out, I decided to try an entirely new sport: rugby.

I instantly loved everything about rugby because it combined a lot of the skills I had developed from my previous sports (80 minutes of continuous play, running, kicking, and passing) but also offered a new kind of intensity and challenge with all the tackling, rucking, etc. I play Flyhalf, so I do most of the kicking and calling of plays.

I decided to take a lead role in keeping Athlete Ally active because I wanted to give back and contribute to the larger athletic community at Princeton, which represented a strong group of supportive friends and mentors from the moment I arrived on campus.  Sometimes, though, support networks are not so easy to find, so I hope that this year we can increase visibility and activity of Athlete Ally on campus.

I think that Athlete Ally can help educate the Princeton community about what being LGBT in sports is like, what it means to be an Ally, and why acceptance for all athletes is important for success of the team.I think that we have welcoming space, but this space varies greatly from team to team, so there is and will always be room for improvement. Professional athletes’ coming out as either LGBT or vocal allies sends a very powerful message to athletes. Their stories can serve as examples or inspiration for closeted athletes, or straight athletes who hadn’t given previous thought to LGBT issues and sports.