A female football coach? The big deal is that some people still think it's one

By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 12, 2010

This has been an astounding time for massive social change in our nation's capital.

We saw our first African American president move into the White House last year; same-sex couples were finally able to legally marry in D.C. last week; and today we might see the biggest shocker of them all: A woman will become the head coach of a high school football program.

Sadly, cries of foul have already begun.

After The Post broke the story Wednesday that Natalie Randolph will take the job at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in the District and probably be the only such female coach in the nation, a flurry of online commenters worried about the boys of Coolidge.

"This is a brutal physical sport that rips the testosterone from guys and puts it on display. There is no place here for an estrogen injection," one reader commented on the story.

I wonder if this person has ever seen childbirth up close.


Hmmm. Perhaps this person has never read "The Complete Handbook of Coaching Wide Receivers: The Difference Is the Details," a go-to handbook written by a former Texas high school assistant coach, S. Chuck Myers.

The "S" is for Susan. (Her publisher suggested the "Chuck." It worked.)

And plenty of folks can't help but wonder about the locker room: How is a team ever going to achieve that quintessential sports moment when the guys are in their towels and the coach is ranting and raving atop a bench if the coach is a she?

I don't think my male swim or ski coaches ever set foot in our locker room, and our team respected them, feared them, learned discipline and determination from them, and grew under their tutelage.

And really, after all we heard about former representative Eric Massa and locker rooms, we can do with a little less of those scenes in our lives, right?

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company