By Annie Rosencrans
When I joined the LeagueApps team earlier this summer, people kept asking me the same question: How are you going to handle being the only woman in the company?
The truth is, I wasn’t all that concerned about it. As with any new job, my concerns were more centered on how I was going to do in my new role. Would l be good at my job? Could I see myself growing with the company? Sure, being the first girl on a team of 20 guys is a fun fact to share when you’re out with a couple of friends. But, the skewed male-female ratio was just an interesting detail, not a defining one.
The fact of the matter is; being the only girl in a boy’s club isn’t that unusual these days. We are seeing it more and more in politics, business, and even in sports.
This summer, we have seen a couple examples of women competing in historically male sports roles… And they’re doing it in style.
When the Spurs hired WNBA veteran, Becky Hammon last month to be the first paid female coach in the NBA, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. After 16 seasons on the San Antonio Stars, she has repeatedly been touted for her exceptional basketball IQ. Hammon has proven herself worthy of the position.
This move says just as much about the Spurs franchise and the state of the NBA as it does Hammon. This summer has seen more headlines about the league than many would care to admit. While all relevant and exciting – and sometimes scandalous – the Spurs announcement strikes a much different tone than the rest.
Hammon’s hiring breaks down a wall that has never been surpassed in any professional sport, let alone the NBA. Prior to this, there was no place for a woman in the locker room for the nation’s premier leagues. If history has taught us anything; it’s that all it takes is one ball to get the rest rolling.
“More girls should join boys’ teams so it could be a tradition and it wouldn’t be so special.”
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you may have heard of the 13-year old girl playing the Little League World Series this summer… She’s the first female pitcher to throw a shutout at a Little League World Series game. Oh, and she did it twice.
As of the time writing of this post, Mo’Ne’s Little League team from Philadelphia is still in contention for the national title and an invite to the championships. We’ll be keeping a close eye on her as August comes to a close. Chances are, she’ll do a solid job on her own of keeping her name close to the spotlight.
If you haven’t heard of Kacy Catanzaro, take a second to Google her. The close to 5 foot athlete mastered one of the hardest obstacle courses ever conceived on NBC’s, American Ninja Warrior. Check out the clip below for a recap of her accomplishment.
At no point during the course did Kacy look tired or worn out. Hundreds of competitors from around the world flock to these events with the intent of crossing the finish line, very few – if any – ever make it, let alone pass the first stage. The obstacles on the course were designed for bodies much larger than Kacy’s, but I don’t think she ever got that memo. A little more proof that nothing can hold a woman back if she sets her mind to it.
Progress is a two way street. Without women like Becky Hammon, Mo’Ne Davis, and Kacy Catanzaro none of this would be possible. But, they were not alone. Coaches like Greg Popovich and teammates like the boys of the Philadelphia Little League, are the ones who helped make turn these opportunities into reality.
All of this isn’t to say that the glass ceiling is shattered – Far from it. But I think it’s safe to say that we’ve got a solid crack, and it’s spreading. Now the challenge is on the rest of us to follow the path that these ladies have laid before us.