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.