I love basketball! I love March Madness! I bleed blue, so it’s a little hard to watch the men’s tournament without my beloved Kentucky Wildcats even in the dance, but college basketball is just too good.
I grew up wanting to be a Lady Kat, what UK’s women’s basketball players were called back in the day. I have always been tall and played basketball from kindergarten till sixth grade. (My career was cut short, but that’s a story for another day.) My elementary school birthday parties always started with a women’s game at Memorial Coliseum. I was gonna play there one day.
Well fast-forward a few years when I retired from modeling and moved home from LA. I got a job as the staff assistant for UK Women’s Basketball. I answered phones and typed letters for the coaches, and I eventually got to help prepare recruiting trips and travel with the team for a game or two. I got to know the players and trainers. One of the coaches was a former player I cheered for oh so many years before.
I went to all of the home games and yelled at all of the referees. On my birthday, I even got to shoot a free throw during halftime. Living the dream.
Women’s basketball has decidedly gotten more exciting to watch. When first introduced as a collegiate sport, “girls” only played half court. But with Pat Summit and UConn and Brittney Griner, it is no longer completely ignored.
But women still have an image problem, in sports and otherwise. We have seen that in the VS BS and Esquire admission. I was saddened when watching one of my favorite half-time commentators, Charles Barkley, talk about a team as “playing like girls” and how they should just put on “skirts.” Yes, this was a men’s game, but, c’mon Chuck!
Have you seen how “girls” play nowadays?! The women’s game doesn’t get as much money or TV time as the men’s, but they, and women in general, certainly deserve respect on a national platform! The other men behind the desk didn’t call Barkley on his sexist comments, and my tweet got no response.
I know this isn’t the first time that boys have been called girls as a way of degrading them (think “p” word), but I am just so sick of it!
The Lady Kats are now known as UK Hoops, and we are a 2 seed in the tourney. We will play in the round of 32 on Tuesday. The men lost in the first round of the NIT.
Brittney Griner is given s*^% for playing like a “dude,” and apparently it is an insult for a men’s basketball player to play like the dunking-record setting-national champion that she is.
It matters what Charles Barkley says on national television, and it matters what we say in the privacy of our own homes. Using “girl” as a slur is and offense to those created in the image of God. And as I recall, God created male and female. And I am just done with women being treated as less than, in media, in church, and in sports.
I am watching the men’s tourney on TV right now, and I listened to the UK Hoops win on the radio on the way home from church. I will always love basketball, and I will always bleed blue. I will also always be a “girl” and proud of it.
Former international fashion model Rev. Sarah Renfro seeks to boost the body image of young women by educating them on the myths of media and focusing on divine within. She also preaches and teaches about marriage and divorce, motherhood, ministry, and mental illness.