Thank you, Coach

So I’ve joined a women’s tackle football team this spring.

I didn’t know about the team until last fall. I’ve never been to games or practice until this season. But I will admit I went into this team thinking it’s going to get the same level of respect that all women’s teams do.

It’s been a lot of fun and everyone is working hard. We are taking the drills, the lessons, the plays very seriously because we want to be taken seriously.

The best thing organizers have done this year is get coaching staff that are committed to the game.

They’ve taken to this responsibility as they would with any other team, putting in the same (if not more) time and effort as they would with male teams. Now the coaches are male, except for one female coach.

But you don’t have to look very hard to see that they have committed themselves to the team.

Part of me wants to deny that gender would be a problem but I’ve had encounters with people who become surprised when I use the words women and tackle football in the same sentence.

I went to watch the Grey Cup at a bar here in Halifax, hoping to write an article about CFL fans in a town with no team. I got talking with people.

One gent in particular with his two friends, one male, one female. As soon as I said I play football, he politely nodded.

“Touch?”

“No, full tackle, full gear.”

“Oh, I didn’t know women could tackle.”

To this I responded, “why?”

This self proclaimed misogynist started to stutter. Oh course, by now I knew where his mind was going.

“You think we’re too delicate to play?”

“Well, yeah.”

Looking at his female friend, we rolled our eyes in unison.

“But, women have babies,” was his witty argument for why we couldn’t possibly play tackle football.

Continuing with his logic he said that since we carry a human being in our bodies for 9 months, shouldn’t we protect that? We might get hurt and then what will happen to our baby making abilities.

Either this guy was in a class all his own or yes, there are men out there who would agree with him.

I can tell the coaches realize there is a difference between the male and female teams. One of them catches himself every time he starts to use male descriptors, like guys or linemen, and always changes it to ladies and line woman or line person.

Now I am not pointing this out as a bad thing. He know he is coaching women but I can tell this hasn’t changed his attitude towards his players.

So to the coaches who are treating us like any other football team and putting in the same passion and effort as they’d put in anywhere else, thank you!

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