For the unfamiliar, ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue is their way of celebrating body diversity (or titillation) in sport. This issue has been one of the magazine’s most anticipated each year, for the last five years. One of this year’s featured athletes is none other than Texas Rangers first baseman, Prince Fielder. At 5’11, he’s not the tallest guy in professional sports. In fact, at 275 lbs, he doesn’t look the way many people “expect” an athlete to look. He addresses this in the magazine:
You don’t have to look like an Under Armour mannequin to be an athlete. A lot of people probably think I’m not athletic or don’t even try to work out or whatever, but I do. Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you can’t be an athlete. And just because you work out doesn’t mean you’re going to have a 12-pack. I work out to make sure I can do my job to the best of my ability. Other than that, I’m not going up there trying to be a fitness model.
It’s great to see a well-known ballplayer like Prince Fielder talking (however briefly) about body diversity in a way that makes sense to him, while showing the world that you don’t have to fit a certain mold in order to reach your goals. The magazine does a good job of showcasing the work, wear, and tear people put on their bodies in order to reach the peak of their respective sport.
Featuring Fielder takes a step toward showing the world that you don’t have to be a mainstream ideal in order to make it to the top. Maybe next year they can feature our favorite surfer, Jimbo Pellegrine.
What do you think? Is this more of the same, or is it a step in the right direction? Give us your thoughts in the comments below. Learn more about ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue, which also includes photos and interviews with Venus Williams, Michael Phelps, Serge Ibaka, and snowboarder Jamie Anderson here.