What is your position?
I am an 8th- grade girls and boys basketball coach at Saint Cecelia elementary school in San Francisco.
Tell me a little bit about why you were interested in joining the sports industry.
I love kids and I loved my elementary school sports days. I am a proud alum of Saint Cecelia and when the opportunity to coach the eighth-grade girls basketball team was presented to me I took it without hesitation. It was a way for me to work with kids and stay involved in the sports community- something I lost touch with as I realized I was too uncoordinated to play high school and college sports. My girls team went to the championships, and my success with them had the sport department asking me to coach their boys team.
Did you ever feel that being a woman was a hindrance in your role? Do you see a lack of representation of women where you work?
As a girl’s basketball coach I was welcomed enthusiastically by both the girls and the sports department. That enthusiasm was the reason we were so successful- because the girls were very receptive to what I taught them and we had the continuous support of the administration behind us, rooting us on and pushing us to do our best.
Coaching the boys team was entirely different. While I was 100% backed by the sports department, the boys didn’t take what I was saying seriously. Because they saw me almost as a joke, we showed up to games looking disheveled and unpracticed. I definitely felt that I was not being taken seriously because I was a woman. And it was blatantly obviously that they were disappointed when they found out I was their coach and not a man. Because of this our season was short-lived.
I don’t see a lack of representation of women where I work because there are a lot of women coaches. That being said those women coaches are reserved soley for the girl’s team.
What advice would you give women who wish to enter the industry?
If you love sports, pursue it. Don’t let your fear of sexism hinder you from doing something you love. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, prejudice is very much alive; so don’t run from it. Prove them wrong.
What do you love about working in sports?
I love being able to still be involved in something that was a huge part of my younger life; and I love passing my enthusiasm and competitiveness on to kids who share that eagerness and have that willingness to learn. It was the best feeling going to the championships and having those girls look up to me like “we did this together.”
Do you have a mentor in the industry? If so, what is their gender? Do you think female mentorship would help increase female visibility within sports?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific mentor. If I need guidance or advice there are a few different people I go to- a couple are men, and the other are women. I think that variation gives me well-rounded advice, and I pick and choose what I want to take from it to make it my own.
It’s always nice to have a support system- whether that be female or male. I’m not sure that female mentorship would help increase female visibility within sports. I just think that males and females need to learn to coincide with each other in whatever industry they are in. What are we gaining from hindering each other with our prejudices. We can all learn something from each others experiences.