Shana Martin and her contemporaries today, it occurred to me that a new class of women athletes may be emerging, perhaps even tougher than their male counterparts. News out of one of these competitions, The Lumberjack World Championships, painted a whole new picture of women in sport for this writer. In an article entitled Walking on Water, Penn State student Alyse Schroeder edged out Shana Martin in a race across water, atop logs connected by ropes, and then back again.
Shana, a former gymnast and pole vaulter, is also a trainer, holds a black belt in Karate, and competes in triathlon events. As stated in her bio at Stihl/ESPN, her first love has always been lumberjack sports. The events in Madison take the tough little competitor back home to where it all began for her, and the events and competition have been her way of life obviously. Toughness however, is not always about physical prowess, which Shana learned early on, her mother having Huntington’s disease. Now Shana supports causes to help people and families suffering from the dread affliction.
Shana, like so many great athletes, attributes more of her success to mental toughness, and her need to cope through athletics, than any God given talent. From my perspective, it is really cool to discover new people (to me and maybe you that is) who make “real sport” a valuable part of our lives.