Diversity (or lack of) in Sports

As someone who grew up participating in various sports, and who continued their athletic career at the collegiate level, I have often noticed the lack of diversity in terms of gender in sports. In softball, the referee was always a man. In volleyball, the main referee was always a man. Soccer was the only sport that had some diversity in refereeing. On the other hand, a vast majority of my coaches were men, and the few women who coached were usually assistant coaches.

A few days ago, I found an article about the FIRST full-time female coach in the NFL, and I was very surprised. Growing up, I hated football, and I’m still not a huge fan on the sport. I’ve dislike it since elementary school when all the boys would play football at recess and no girls were allowed. Well, now there is finally a woman in the industry, and it is amazing.

Kathryn Smith is now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills after Rex Ryan. This is also an amazing feat considering the domestic violence issues within the league in the last couple of years, as well as the general representation of women in authoritative roles. I am very interested to see what changes she will bring to the industry and how she can change people’s minds.

Throughout my childhood, there was a girl who was two years younger than me that participated in football, wrestling, and almost any sport a boy could play. I always secretly admired her, because while she was ridiculed by her male teammates, she continued playing the sports simply for her love of the game. I often wish this was something we could instill in young girls today.

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7 thoughts on “Diversity (or lack of) in Sports”

  1. This is something that I have noticed too, and I was glad to hear that the owners of the Bills decided to take the first step and higher a qualified woman head coach. I feel like this will be a large stepping stone into the future of sports, however, I also feel that it will be hard for people who have preconceived notions to accept this change.

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  2. I really like the point you have made here. Even though I have been exposed to it in my life, I never really dug deeper behind it. I’ve played basketball almost all my life and whenever we had a girl ref, it is something my team was always aware of and excited about. I think it just shows that when we are used to something, we never really look deeper behind the meaning of it, only when it does change. Just like how we were used to male refs and didn’t think anything of it until we had a women ref for a game. I also think this is the case in which the NFL hired a women’s coach. I bet a lot of people did not think about how all men were coaches until a woman was hired.

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  3. I also think it is important to encourage girls to participate in sports that are typically male dominated. It is good to let girls know that they can do anything boys can do. I also think it is amazing that there is a full time female coach in football. I have often noticed the absence of women in football and all televised sports. I usually notice that most main sports announcers are male, and if there is a female, she is the pretty face standing on the sideline waiting to talk to the coach or the players after the game. I agree with you that we should encourage young girls to follow their dreams, no matter what.

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  4. When I was about 7 years old I decided to participate in a summer football camp. I remember when my dad called to sign me up and the instructor was so excited to have a girl take the camp for once. I had a really positive experience with it and since we were so young, none of the other kids thought much of a girl playing a sport that men typically play. I had a really great time that summer and thought that I would continue playing football for a long time. As I grew up I began to face sexism whenever I played and unfortunately ended up having to quite because I was not taken seriously. I am really glad that there is finally female representation in professional football now. Hopefully it will inspire little girls who love football like I did to not give up on what they’re passionate about.

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  5. I think that having a female coach is extremely important for the NFL going forward, however, it saddens me to say that Kathryn Smith is no longer with the Buffalo Bills. Job turnover in the NFL is extremely short, and coaching positions are always being changed. I am glad that Smith served for a full season in the NFL, because in the French second division soccer league a few years ago, a female head coach was hired, and then subsequently relieved of her duties due to fan outcry against her hiring. Fortunately, the Bills fans were accepting of Smith, but unfortunately there is still a long way to go before female coaches are a regularity in men’s sports.

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  6. I feel that having a women coach, no matter how qualified, should coach in the NFL. Now before you throw labels at me of being sexist hear me out. First, she was not the head coach. She was an assistant for the special teams. But I believe this because she was never able to play competitive football with guys she doesn’t have the same knowledge of what it is like for a guy to be in a huddle or in a game with the team. Now on the other side, I do think that Women should coach other women is sports. In college women’s basketball, the women should be coaching the girls out on the court. Women have the incite of what it is like to play with untimely cramps and other way women might have to play through some sorts of pain.

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