Eleanor Hulse

S: How did you get into your sport?
E: All the sports I’ve ever done was because it seemed fun or because my friends were doing them. The only sport I do now is track and I did that in 5th grade because it seemed fun and then I did it again in 8th grade because I had nothing else to do and then I sorta got hooked into and yeah, I’m still doing it.
S: So what kept you doing it from 5th to 8th to now?
E: From 8th grade on what kept me in it was that I turned out to be pretty good at it and um, I mean I felt like it’s sort of hard to leave a team after being on it. Especially with track because it’s so individual and my event specifically only has one coach and for years I was the only high jumper and it was sorta one on one so it seemed kinda weird to leave
S: What has your experience been being a woman specifically in athletics?
E: It’s been good overall, the only thing is with track, um, well, yeah generally it’s been pretty good and everyone’s been really nice and understanding, and there haven’t really been any issues. The only thing I guess is that in high jump, men tend to jump like a foot higher than women, people sorta notice men doing it a lot more than woman and like if somebody’s jumping the same height that I am.
S: Wanna tell us a story?
E: A couple weeks ago i was in the gym doing high jump and i was teaching this person who hasn’t really done it before how to do it. And this person – like I’ve been doing high jump for five years and I’m pretty good at it, so I was coaching this person basically – and this person went over to this other person who plays basketball in the gym a lot and occasionally watches me high jump but has never high jumped themself. The person who I was coaching was asking the other person – with no experience – how to do it and then the high jumper was correcting their jumps based on what the other person said instead of correcting his jumps based on what I was saying when I have five years of experience.
S: You can say they’re both guys-
E: They’re both guys.
*both laugh*
S: Yeah so I guess did you – I guess it’s kinda hard bc you were the only one for a while, but did you ever feel like you as an athlete or your sport was prioritized less than the guys doing high jump or just the other guys on the track team?
E: No, not really. I mean, the only thing is that we have one male coach who is mostly a running coach but he high humped in high school and he helps out sometimes in high jump and he tends to coach the new guy who does high jump and he never offers advice to me or the other girl who jumps with me which is interesting. And like I don’t want his advice because I don’t like him but it’s sort of interesting. He doesn’t – he gives a lot more attention to the other guy than either of us.
S: So, I don’t know, if you had any, who are your athletic role models?
E: Do they have to be women?
S: Nah.
E: Floyd.
S: Haha yeah. Well do you have specific reasons, like why Floyd?
E: It’s hard to put into words but Floyd has had a huge impact on my life. And I feel like this is sort of taboo to say but I feel like even more than my parents at points just because he sees me as more than just high jump. More than just grades or just like myself at school or myself at home. He was really the first person in my life to see me as a person and not just a sum of all these part of my lives. He’s incredibly observant and smart and he’ll like sort of notice things about me and then I’ll come to him with an issue and he’ll sort of like have realized that that was a problem years earlier but that has an impact on me. I really trust him.
S: So do you watch any sports on TV?
E: No, I occasionally watch running on Youtube, or other track events.
S: The olympics?
E: Yeah, I watch some stuff from the Olympics. I sort of catch it when other people are watching it, I don’t really turn it on for myself. But I watch some high jump and some other running stuff.
S: Cool. I don’t know if you notice this but have you ever found yourself defaulting to certain sports or races?
E: I definitely watch high jump. I don’t watch any other sports other than track, but I definitely watch my own event more than the others. I like to watch the running events but I don’t really care about the other field events, though, I don’t watch them at all.
S: Do you ever find yourself watching more guys or girls events
E: I usually watch women’s events. At least for high jump, it’s more relative to me so I find it more interesting. Other than that though I don’t really care.
S: What were some general obstacles you faced growing up in your sport?
E: With track, it can be sort of disorganized and field events can get less attention than running events. For me, being the only high jumper for a while or the only consistent high jumper for five years, has been kind of lonely and I’d rather have more people jumping with me. I guess that’s the only real obstacle other than that I’m not that into my sport.
S: What are some things you’ve learned, or takeaways, or things that you’ve enjoyed about doing track?
E: I have a good group of girls in my grade who – there are three of us who’ve done track every single year, and every year some girls add on to that group and that’s been really nice. Those people, while I might not have many classes with them or any overlapping friend groups throughout the year, track season is a really nice time to reconnect with them. I wouldn’t know Floyd without track, so that’s been a big part of my life.
S: I’m presenting to a bunch of young kids at the end of my project to, you know, educate them on what it’s like growing up a woman in athletics but also to empower them and get them hype about sports! Is there anything you’d like to tell them?
E: Definitely do what you enjoy and even if it’s not an offered sport at school, just go for it and do it as much as you can. If you want to do it competitively, try to find a club, or if you don’t want to do it competitively just like get yourself out there and do it. It can be hard at our age and later in life to sort of start up a sport but if you have an interest and you find it fun, go for it.