Hello from San Diego!
Today, we're going to talk about why being a woman in sports is a benefit.
Yeah, you read me right.
Most women I know have uttered, especially women who work in a male-dominated field, at one point in their lives, "it'd be so much easier to be a man". No "time of the month", you can work out once a week and lose 10 pounds, you would seem to have the earned respect of people even before opening your mouth.
But in the words of Lady Gaga, you were born this way, and I'm here to tell you that being a woman in a male-dominated profession is really awesome. Here's why:
1. Heightened empathy and listening skills. Especially when we work with male sports, we can be viewed as a motherly figure, or as the "cool aunt" that you can talk to about your personal problems. You're not a coach and you're not going to judge the student-athlete because he or she even has personal problems. Some student-athletes may feel like they can't talk to their coaches about their personal problems for fear of being called a myriad of expletives. But here you are, there ready to listen without judgment. It's a pretty unique position in which to be.
2. Stronger emotional aptitude. This coincides with point No. 1. As women, we have a heightened emotional aptitude, and this is a huge strength. How many times have you struggled to get a student-athlete to participate in something they just didn't want to do, but you knew it would benefit both the student-athlete and the university? This is where our emotional aptitude can come in to play. Talk to him or her and figure out what's wrong. Are they having a bad day? Is there a reason he or she doesn't want to do the activity? With our sensitivity, heightened listening skills and emotional aptitude, chances are, you can figure out what's going on.
3. Proving People Wrong is Fun. One of my favorite games to play is to look at the face of a man who questioned my knowledge of a sport after I rattled off interesting statistics. So many men come into the profession (heck, they may even come in to life this way) with a preconceived notion of how women in the profession should act, or why we're there in the first place. How many of us have been called "cleat chasers" or "puck bunnies" or any other name associated with the idea that obviously, we work in sports because we're looking for a boyfriend? Take this in stride. Oh, you think I don't know anything about football? Watch me call this play. You think the student-athletes don't respect me? Watch them talk to me about what they see for themselves in the future.
You, woman working in sports, are a strong, resilient warrior. You were born with innate qualities that put you a step ahead of men; don't be afraid to use them. It's okay to downplay them to fit in with "the boys". But also know that it's also okay to use your strengths to your benefit. Explore what works best for you, and know that you got this.