While I know that not all female athletes have fathers (nor do they need them to be successful), I find it important on this Father’s Day to recognize the positive impact dads can have on the female athlete experience.
First, it’s important to point out that men make up the majority of female athlete coaches. While I understand the Women’s Sports Foundation’s POV on this issue continues to (rightfully) focus upon the lack of women in the profession (which is a problem), I also believe it’s important to talk about the men who do coach girls. Often times, these men are dads: supportive role models who have a vested interest in a woman’s future as an athlete.
Take, for instance, fathers like Richard Williams, the father of Serena and Venus, two of the most well-known tennis players in the world. Serena and Venus’ careers started on the Compton public tennis courts, where her father encouraged their development.
On the other hand, take a look at someone like Christine Brennan, renowned sports journalist, best-selling author and commentator.She recently published a book titled Best Seat in the House: a Father, a Daughter, a Journey through Sports (click that link to hear a GREAT podcast wth Christine that WomenTalkSports co-founder Ann Gaffigan recorded).
And on the personal side,