When I was growing up, I watched the Mets play religiously. David Wright and Carlos Delgado were my favorite players. Each night during the spring and summer, I watched Wright, Delgado and the Mets compete. I hoped to play on that same field every day, but women’s baseball disbanded in 1954, and I began playing softball.
Sports are a big influence in my life. My parents were Yankees fans and I remember being in fourth grade and going to a Subway Series for the first time. I got to watch the Mets battle it out against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium with my Wright T-shirt on. I was so excited; as years went on I became more invested in baseball and sports in general.
I played flag football, basketball, soccer and softball. Softball and soccer stuck, despite my hatred of running. Even though I played multiple sports, knew the players, stats and games like the back of my hand, some would second-guess my capability. Not because of my lack of knowledge or the fact that I didn’t play, but because of my gender.
So on Girls and Women in Sports Day, I want people to think about the gender gap in sports and think about why that is the case; we know girls and women love sports. We know they play the game, yet so many times we see instances of people overlooking female sports journalists, female athletes, coaches, etc. all because of their gender.
We saw women sports journalists after game six of the American League Championship Series taunted by an assistant general manager. We saw comments on how the U.S. Women’s National team looked during the World Cup.
The sports world is behind on its inclusion of women. This Sunday we saw a female coach in the Super Bowl for the first time in the National Football League’s 100 year history and 54 years of the Super Bowl. Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers, was the first woman to hold a coaching position in the big championship game and she won’t be the last.
There are four women who hold full-time coaching positions in the NBA. In 2014 Becky Hammon became the first woman to have a full-time coaching position with the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach.
In the 2019-2020 MLB offseason, the San Francisco Giants hired the first female coach in the MLB. Alyssa Nakken was hired for the Giants as one of the assistant coaches.
The Yankees hired the first full-time female coach for one of their minor league affiliates in 2019 for the 2020 season. Rachel Balkovec was hired for the Yankee’s rookie league team as a hitting coach.
In 2016 the NHL hired its first female coach with Dawn Braid. Braid was hired as Arizona Coyote's skating coach.
Regardless, a handful of female coaches scattered throughout professional sports isn't groundbreaking, it is the bare minimum.
The rise of female coaches, sports journalists and women in the front office are on the rise. On National Girls and Women in Sports Day we not only talk about the women who have paved the way for women in sports, but also address the problems women are still facing today.
Contact Amanda Levine at email@example.com.