Throughout my whole life I have been either involved, around, or thinking about sports. I have experienced bad coaches, good coaches, coaches with terrible leadership, coaches who are transformational, coaches who are charismatic, and coaches who just don’t care. What I have never experienced is being coached by a woman. In terms of my life, that is unimaginable simply because it has never happened. I have always been around middle-aged gents who scream chaotically, with spit foaming around their mouths, and cheeks flaming red with anger. Those male coaches were always extremely masculine to the point that it created the perception that the sports I played should only be inherently masculine. That sounds bad, but you have to understand my point of view.
I grew up playing baseball, football, hockey, and basketball. Out of those 4 I want to focus on football and baseball, reminiscing on my coaches and how they created the social mechanism that is perception. First, for baseball, I had a coach that was a spitting, loud, angry, abrasive, and a misunderstanding old man. He repeatedly told us stories of sexual escapades in his younger life. Countless times, he would make crude jokes about man parts and cajole with the guys like he still thought he was a college kid. As for actual practice, he was quick to anger and quick to yell; nothing was ever good enough and he acted immature. My football coach was my favorite. A hard man, he was level-headed and fair. As any football coach will usually do, his blow-ups were frequent and harsh. Once I saw him get so angry during a play that he ran and tackled the running back himself just so he could make a statement about how to tackle. Ultra-masculine, he affected how I thought football should be handled, along with baseball.
Equality for women in sports has come a long way. Still, however, the popular landscape is masculine driven. I think this is because of the way players are nurtured during development by their coaches. I know my coaches, no matter how inept they were, gave me a sense of pride to be considered a male athlete. We love blood, guts, tears, and emotion; to be amazed at high-flying achievements, big muscles, and long home-runs. All of those are represented by mainstream male sports, in which their engine is fueled by overly-masculine coaches nurturing young athletes to think of themselves better than women athletes by appealing to their hormone-driven macho emotion. Eventually, since popular perception is still dedicated to lifting masculine athletes over feminine athletes through media and culture, those athletes grow and replace their predecessors who continue to drive that perception. In the sports world, and maybe this is indicative of the struggle for women in the real world, it is a never-ending cycle of constant replacement with no end in sight because young athletes, and people, are groomed how to think when they are adolescents by those who came before. This is a scary thought, but something that can be gradually changed, and I think is changing (faster in the real world and slower in the sports world) with undying patience.