First, I apologize for being MIA for awhile. Kathy’s mom died on March 22 and we’ve been in California taking care of her affairs. It was not expected so we are also dealing with the shock of it. We’ve now both lost our moms this year. Hug your mom if you still have her.
Anyway, I’m in San Antonio for the Women’s Final Four, WBCA convention and showings of Training Rules (the documentary film about former Penn State women’s basketball coach and her “no lesbian” policy).
I had proposed a program for the coaches convention that featured Training Rules as a focus point for discussing homophobia in women’s basketball, but the WBCA would not allow us to include the film in our session. Too controversial, they said. Well, needless to say I was disappointed with that reaction.
Dee Mosbacher, the producer of TR, decided to find a venue here in San Antonio and show the film anyway, though it would not be a part of the coaches convention. We had two showings yesterday at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. After the film we had great audience discussions with Dee and Fawn Yacker (the producers), Helen Carroll of NCLR, Cindy Davies (one of the athletes featured in the film), Sherri Murrell (the only publicly out Division 1 women’s basketball coach -Portland State coach), and me.
We had about 30-40 people at each showing and good conversation afterwards, but it was tough to publicize the event with coaches attending the convention so there were not many who found out about it and came.
This morning, Helen Carroll, Jenelle DeVits (former basketball player at Univ of New Hampshire and member of Our Group (an LGBT student-athlete group), and I led a session at the coaches convention. We had a terrible time slot – 9am on the last day of the convention, but had about 75 coaches come to our session – men, women, black and white, all three divisions, head coaches and assistant coaches. It was way more than we anticipated.
Our topic was “A Coach’s Guide to Effective Policy and Practice Addressing Homophobia in Collegiate Women’s Basketball.” Helen, Jenelle and I role played some typical situations that coaches ask for help on – parents of recruits asking a coach if there are lesbians on the team, a coach forbidding intra-team dating, gay-straight splits on a team, coaches with religious objections to lesbian team members, to name a few of the topics we discussed.
The session was great! We had an hour time slot and the coaches stayed for a half hour overtime. We had great discussions with lots of coach participation. I loved it that there was such interest and commitment to making teams safe and respectful for everyone among the coaches who attended. One coach told me after the session ended that her only criticism was that we didn’t have enough time. WBCA are you listening?
It is sessions like this that keep me going: Great colleagues like Helen and Jenelle to work with and coaches who want to make their teams good places for ALL of their athletes. Definitely a one step forward day.