*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, in case you missed ’em in The Weekly Dig.
by Pinky Gonzales
Competent males have coached females throughout history in figure skating, ballet, softball, gymnastics and other sports often stereotyped as “ladies’ domain”, with scant resistance. Women coaches of “macho” sports have been virtually nonexistent, and last year among the 15,675 U.S. high school football coaches, not one had a set of ovaries. Enter three competent women who have broken the gridiron glass ceiling.
29 year old science teacher, former track star, and IWFL wide receiver Natalie Randolph was just named the country’s first head varsity football coach, at Coolidge High in Washington, D.C. This means she could not only explain how Belichik ran a slant against man-under coverage while the free safety was cheating, but could also divulge the molecular structure of your Coors-soaked Doritos. Awesome.
A mention of Randolph, however, is incomplete without that of Jennifer Oliveri and Wanda Oates. In 1985, Oates was named head FB coach at Ballou High in D.C., only to be ousted the same dad-gum week by opposing coaches who didn’t want to compete with a woman. Then there’s our own hometown hero, Hull’s Pop Warner football coach Jennifer Oliveri. She was appointed last year to skipper the boys’ team and seems to love guiding her 7 to 10 year olds just as much as playing. As a kid she played on all-male teams, and like Randolph, Oliveri went on to play pro, for the Boston Militia (see them here on June 5th face Randolph’s old team the D.C. Divas!)
In their compelling 2007 book, Playing With the Boys: Why Separate is Not Equal in Sports, local scholars Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano convincingly argue that athletics are the last real frontier of gender inequality in America. Sports, especially pro, help define what we mean by “success.” Politics and higher education throughout history had once been boys-only (and whites-only, for that matter) clubs too, but when you see how that’s changing and how inspirational it can be for generations of young people, you can visualize how positive a thing a black female coach on a football field can be.
Here’s a toast to these courageous broads, with a simple libation that packs a punch.
2 1/2 oz Junipero gin
1/2 oz green Chartreuse
Fill a shaker with ice and stir liquids for 20 sec. Twist and rub the oils of a lemon peel around the rim of a chilled cocktail glass, then strain in drink. Discard peel.