Griggs: Female athletes deserve respect, attention, too

Published 12:01 am Saturday, September 26, 2015

Did you know there is a National Girls and Women in Sports day? No? Me neither. By the way, it’s Feb. 4 and next year will be the 30th anniversary.

Fun Fact: there is no National Boys and Men in Sports day. There is no need to ask “why?” We all know sports have been male dominated since the beginning of time.

Women weren’t allowed to compete in the first Olympics. During the 1900 Olympics, only 22 women participated out of nearly 1,000 competitors. And yes, I had to Google that.

Of course, in the year 2015, many more girls and women are playing sports than ever before, but they still take a back seat to male sports.

I’m sure most of our readers can name every NFL football team and NBA basketball team.

You probably know the names of many players along with their statistics. You know hockey teams, soccer teams and baseball teams and their players.

But how many WNBA teams can you name? Do you know more than a handful of the players?

I only bring this up because I am a woman. And, I am the new sports editor for L’OBSERVATEUR.

Don’t worry guys; I’m not going to explode feminist propaganda all over your newspaper every week. I will, however, give female athletes a bigger voice and proportionally equal exposure.

St. John the Baptist Parish is chocked full of amazing athletes — boys and girls. They all deserve recognition for the hard work they put in to their sport week after week, and I fully intend to give it to them.

I am aware this is south Louisiana and we are in the midst of football season. While football is a male sport, I plan to give it ample coverage for the entire season. I get it.

Football is like a religion in this region.

But I’m also going to make sure the ladies get their exposure as well. Women are not the weaker gender and should receive equal respect in the world of sports.

When I first started telling friends and family I would be the new sports editor for L’OBSERVATEUR, I received some well-intentioned, but unhelpful advice.

My former supervisor asked, “Do you know what sports are? It isn’t just tailgating.” OK, let’s be honest. That was less than well intentioned. Confession: I love tailgating and it’s part of the whole experience for me. I do, however, appreciate the game.

My darling husband, who thinks he is hilarious, said, “don’t write about football bats and you’ll do great.” Because obviously, as a female, I know nothing about athletics.

I, unfortunately, was never a star athlete growing up. I did play softball when I was 8 years old. I played center field and earned the nickname, “The Statue.”

I was afraid to swing at the ball. On the less-than-frequent occasion that I did swing at the ball, I was pretty awesome. My team was undefeated (although I probably had very little to do with that.)

I also have coaching experience! I coached 3 and 4 year old girls’ soccer for two seasons. Not only was it the most adorable sport in the history of forever, it made me realize how incredibly competitive I am. Yes, I am the crazy soccer mom on the side of the field, yelling, “Run! Keep your eyes on the ball,” “Stop picking flowers and kick the ball,” and the ever popular, “No hands in soccer!”

I have some pretty big shoes to fill and not just because women’s feet are smaller than men’s. I’m ready to start my tenure as a sports editor in one of the most impressive regions for high school athletics that I’ve ever seen.

I’m a Louisiana native. I grew up going to high school football games on Friday night and watching the Saints play on Sunday. It’s just what you did.

I know the majority of St. John and the surrounding parishes cheer for LSU, but I bleed vermilion and white — Geaux Ragin’ Cajuns!

Don’t hold it against me. I’m a Tiger fan whenever they play anyone out of state.

I might be from Lafayette, but LaPlace has been very welcoming and it feels like home. I feel like your teams are my teams. I want your success as much as you do.

Sports Editor Courtney Griggs can be reached at 985-652-9545 or