Facing, and Tackling, the Haters
We’ve got an interesting story going on in Baton Rouge, but if you don’t much care about SEC football it may not even be on your radar screen. Mo Isom, LSU soccer star and homecoming queen, has tried out to be a kicker for the LSU Tigers.
It’s an intriguing story and by all accounts she’s not doing it for either of the reasons that jump to people’s minds: making a statement about the lack of gender parity in opportunities for women or for publicity.
Yesterday morning on my way to work I was listening to a local radio station and the topic was Mo Isom’s tryout experience. Not surprisingly, caller reaction was all over the place ranging from “she’s an inspiration” to “football’s not for girls.”
One elderly gentleman called in and praised Mo up and down. Another caller said how proud he would be if she were his daughter. And then the slack-jawed yokels (SJYs) flooded the airwaves spouting all sorts of nonsense about the genetic make-up of females vs. males, the destruction that Title IX has caused in society, and making jokes about women knowing their place. To paraphrase one SJY caller: “You can’t tell me that LSU can’t find a high school boy in the US of A who could play this position. They need to keep looking for a boy to do this job and not settle for a girl.”
The host pushed back – “Shouldn’t we provide the opportunity for anyone to try out and sign/hire the best person? If she’s the best person, shouldn’t the position be hers?” SJY was not to be satisifed – “I just don’t think a girl can be the best person for the job. LSU needs to keep looking until they find a boy.”
I wasn’t particularly surprised by the comments. I was, however, dismayed that the callers who expressed the most opposition were younger and have grown up in a world in which Title IX has always existed. I was left with a head-shaking sense of wonderment (and sadness) and felt as if I had been transported back into an era when men expected women to know their place and to never dare stray from their pre-ordained path.
And if one reads SJY’s comments with a different eye we get to the crux of the matter. In every instance where he used the word “boy” let’s substitute Christian, and for every use of the word “girl” let’s use Jew. Or let’s replace “boy” with white person and “girl” with African-American.
It’s all about opportunities isn’t it? Letting people, all people, step onto that playing field to face and tackle whatever comes their way – whether that be the football field or the C-Suite.
Here’s hoping that Mo gets to suit up in Tiger Stadium.