Sports history featuring her story

By Joe Thornton, reporter.

In a society that is infatuated with professional sports, everyone seems to take a more active interest in organizations that feature male athletes competing. There is an astounding disparity in viewers between the NBA and the WNBA; with an average attendance of 17,000 at every NBA game, the WNBA’s average attendance of 7,000 seems less significant – about 10,000 people less significant.

This fact brings about multiple questions, even for an avid sports like myself: Why do we as a society favor watching males in sports? In a country striving for gender equality, why do we separate athletic competition between males and females?

Although there isn’t a professional sport that is co-ed yet, here is a list of females who have made great strides in progressing women within the sports industry.

Sarah Thomas is currently a referee for the National Football League and made national headlines when she was hired in 2017 as she was the first full-time official in NFL history.

Manon Réaume took a giant leap for all women within sports when she was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992. Réaume remains the only woman to compete on ice in the NHL when she participated in a preseason matchup against the Boston Bruins in 1993.

Becky Hammon demanded respect during her tenure as a player in the WNBA but more recently has found success as an assistant for the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. When she was hired in 2014 Hammon became the first woman to coach for an NBA team.

Danica Patrick broke the gender barrier within automobile racing when she won the 2008 Indy Japan 300. Patrick cemented her name in history with this victory, becoming the first woman to win a race in the IndyCar Series.

Ronda Rousey showed how tough women can be in her multiple UFC fights. Rousey was renowned for her physical dominance and was a national topic when she started her UFC career with a 10-match winning streak, most of which didn’t continue past the first round.

All of these women are examples of progress in the industry and hopefully just the beginnings of this revolution. As more women are participating within football and other sports that previously only featured males, it’s only a matter of time before we see the first female within the NFL. Never let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do, and let these women serve as examples that anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it.

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