It’s that magical time of year when baseball ends, and we watch trades, acquisitions and deals happen in preparation for the next season. In recent weeks I’ve watched excitedly as Theo Epstein was named the new GM of the Cubs and Davy Johnson was signed for another year as the Nationals manager.
It also reminds me how much of professional sports are still off limits to women. We rarely play a role in professional sports, as athletes or staff. Of course with few options in professional sports for women, that shouldn’t be surprising. What is surprising is the lack of roles in the front offices.
I like many, went to see Moneyball last month. Whenever I see a baseball movie it makes me wish I worked in sports. Why didn’t I major in sports administration? How do I get a job working for a major league baseball team? And I don’t mean like when George Castanza said he could manage the Yankees.
Some sports, like baseball and football are unique with no league for women to begin with. So how often do you expect to see a female coach, general manager or any other front office staff?
Breaking a glass ceiling last week Sue Falsone was appointed the first female head athletic trainer in Major League Baseball, or any professional sport! Falsone will be head athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a consultant this past season for the team, and the physical therapist from 2008- 2010 Falsone has been a part of the clubhouse for years.
Her skills and knowledge of human movement provides the critical link from therapy to performance. She develops and implements therapy regimens for the athletes to integrate rehabilitation into the training process.
Falsone has already had to deal with some of the unexpected challenges of being a woman in the world of professional sports. At some ballparks, like Wrigley Field, she’d have to go all the way up to the concourse and stand in line with the fans at the women’s bathroom. What else will women have to deal with in a new world formerly only containing men?
Props to the Dodgers for recognizing her skills on the job and being the first to take that step. Falsone is wishing her promotion could be recognized as an example for her skills rather than her gender. I’d like to recognize this move for both. She would not have been given the job if she had not been qualified and a valued member of the club. I hope other women see this as a path and option open to anyone, regardless of gender.