Meet Leta Andrews, a female basketball coach who has won more games than any high-school coach in the country. In her 49-year career, she has won 1,346 games, and beat the national record this December.
She is described as having a “tough love” attitude and as “a coach, not anyone’s buddy.”
Leta demands a lot of her players – she makes her team run sprints at halftime when they aren’t playing well. If a player misses a free throw in a game, she has “to shoot 25 shots when the team returns home, even if it is late at night.” She even took away her player’s cell phones before the playoff opener to reduce distraction.
One of Leta’s players says, “She doesn’t let you slack off. Sometimes she makes us cry, but we know it’s for the good.”
Her tough love attitude is explained by the influence her father had on her life. She grew up on a farm where she says, “Daddy wanted everything done just right. If I was on the tractor, I had to plow so straight. If I varied at all, I’d have probably got a whipping.”
Apparently her father’s expectations for basketball were the same as for farming.
When I was reading about Leta I couldn’t help but think, if she were a man, would her behavior seem so demanding? Would her push for perfection and excellence be criticized?
If she coached male players, would they be quoted as saying they cried because of her intensity?
Is it possible for a woman to be competitive without a male influence?
I, for one, have played on sports teams my entire life, usually with male coaches. I’ve been pushed to sprint at halftime, or for arriving to practice late. And coaches have certainly increased the workouts after losing a game.
I am not saying that these are acceptable or necessary “punishments.” Sports have a ton of other benefits that don’t come from winning and the competitiveness can indeed be harmful.
What do you think of the pressures of sports and if winning really should be the goal at all costs? What makes Leta Andrews any different from the numbers of other demanding coaches in this country?
What are your thoughts on the questions I posed throughout this article? How do you think her gender affects her “tough love” portrayal?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
New Moon Intern