What’s the Big Deal About a Female Head Football Coach?
What’s the big deal if we get the whistle and start slapping behinds?That’s what Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak asked after Natalie Randolph was named head football coach at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Washington D.C. Readers were upset about the choice and some ranted, “This is a brutal physical sport that rips the testosterone from guys and puts it on display. There is no place here for an estrogen injection,”one reader commented on the story. I wonder if this person has ever seen childbirth up close,” countered Dvorak.
But what about those locker room moments when the coach comes in and rants while you’re in your skivvies or in a towel. Puh-lease. How many men coach women’s sports? How many of us were coached by dudes? Never once did I have a towel moment. And never needed one. Long time Georgia Tech assistant coach Carol A. White, who coached punters, said the issue is moot. “What is coaching? It’s inspiring kids. It requires knowledge of people, patience in dealing with people, attention to detail and positive self-image,” White “barked”at Dvorak. (Follow www.chicktalkdallas.com/blog)
The big deal, surmises Dvorak, is that it’s still a big deal to see a woman coaching a “man’s” sport. Sure girls can play on lingerie football leagues–Randolph, who has gained support recently from players and parents, was a pro-football player for the D.C. Divas and her father (seen in the pic) was the team’s trainer and biggest supporter before dying in a car accident–but seeing a chick on the sidelines not in a cheerleading suit still rubs some people the wrong way. Even though, at Dvorak points out, it’s hardly an anomaly anymore. “Down in Tampa, Stephanie Crawford is heading the Hillsborough High boys’ basketball team to one of its best season records ever. Out in Wasilla, Alaska (home town of Sarah Palin), Joanie Welch, the school nurse at Wasilla High School, gets her skates on after school and coaches the boys’ hockey team.”
As women, we can cart our kids to soccer games and football practice. We can coach boys from the bleachers, “Come on Johnny. Put some spin on the ball,” but we can’t coach on the sideline? Hell, a mother’s job is to coach their child through life. As aunts, sisters, teachers etc. we all play a part in coaching both girls and boys. So, again, what’s the big deal if we get the whistle and start slapping behinds? The big deal is that it changes how we see sports. What we determine as a man’s domain and what’s a woman’s domain. (Even though no sports writer ever makes an issue of men coaching women. Cough basketball coaches at UConn, Texas A&M etc.) Sure we can give girls some money to play ball in high school or pay for uniforms but all that Title IX stuff goes out the window when a little girl athlete grows up. (Follow www.chicktalkdallas.com/blog)
No one gives a crap about the WNBA or women’s professional football or boxing. Female professional and amateur sports are poorly funded, get little sponsorship and audience attendance and viewership is pitifully small compared to men’s sports. Are women less athletic or brutal? No, just ask Brittney Griner who was suspended after punching a player in a game or pro-bowler Kelly Kulick. For Randolph, her win loss record and success will be more closely watched than a man’s and heavily criticized if, God help her, she has a losing season. The bottom line is that women in sports, coaching or playing are simply seen as less than men–worth less in terms of salary, endorsements and sponsorship as well as respect. And that’s a damn shame.