“Listen To Your Professor Just Once Please!”
If I don’t set the “Do Not Disturb” function on my iPhone when I go to bed it’ll wake me up at least a half dozen times in the middle of the night. It’s why I can answer most general sports trivia questions and why I am more in tune with current events surrounding sports than even some of my male counterparts. You likely guessed the answer a sentence ago. You are correct. I am referring to the ESPN app on my phone, and it’s da-da-da, da-da-da musical notifications.
I’m knocking on a door of professional experience that spans nearly two decades. The same good ‘ol boy clubs exist, its membership hasn’t dwindled much. The men who hem and haw over equal pay, glass ceilings, and Title IX are still around. But then again, I’m still around – in a collegiate athletics industry that continues to be statistically dominated by men. In a recent article titled “Where Are the Women” published in NCAA Champion Magazine by author Rachel Stark, Stark discusses the numerical evidence that demonstrates coaching positions held by women continue to decline. However, I am observing in the classroom and on the court young women who still seek an engagement to this fast-paced, pressure-filled, sometimes heartbreaking, yet breathtaking business.
In just a day it was Charles Barkley on Lebron, Lebron on Barkley, 50 years of memories from a broadcasting giant, the Australian Open hosting our favorites again in the finals, so maybe the Raiders won’t make it to Vegas after all, something about the NASCAR format has changed, that Watson guy at Clemson should’ve won the Heisman, and did Grayson Allen really do that again – I better check the replay. In the span of just minutes I am on top of what may traditionally be conversation reserved for men. I refuse to isolate myself from the proverbial water cooler. Yes – that isolation we whisper about is my own doing, the water cooler is a destination, it’s a place of congregation. Speaking the native language in a foreign country surely aids in my ability to assimilate to the populous. That clear blue plastic tub turned upside down has its own language too. So if that means I must watch every 30 for 30 ever made – so be it!
It’s the first thing I tell my female students. Put the ESPN app on your phone and set notifications with the sound on. There’s not a male student, instructor, future employer, or business leader who doesn’t recognize that sound. I usually catch the “are you serious” look after posing the request, only to catch the perfect 21 year old eye roll when I recommend these same students craft a professionally witty Twitter profile. Twitter might as well be Tinder. I want to date “the business” and “the business” is on Twitter. So when the orange pie piece is at stake in Trivial Pursuit and my friends look to me for the answer or when my Fantasy Football team wins and I hear “man you just got beat by a girl.” I laugh…”yes…yes you did.”
Must I like the exclusivity of the club I referenced earlier? Absolutely not. But if I want to play the game I better know the rules, play by them, and then when the timing is just right – rewrite the damn things. No negative self-talk, stay the course, study up, and repeat “I belong here.” Da-da-da, da-da-da.
Bio: Katie Pate is the 11th Head Women’s Basketball Coach in Lenoir-Rhyne University history. Pate returned to Lenoir-Rhyne after spending the summer of 2014 as an Assistant Coach for the Georgia State University Women’s Basketball Team in Atlanta, Ga. Prior to Georgia State, Pate been on Lenoir-Rhyne’s staff for four seasons (2010-14) as she served as both an Assistant Coach and Associate Head Coach. Pate, a native of Grinnell, Iowa, was a star player at Hayward (Wisconsin) High School where she remains the school’s all-time leading scorer. Pate’s stepmother is Ellen Mosher-Hanson, former Head Women’s Basketball Coach at UCLA (1975-77) and Minnesota (1977-87). Mosher-Hanson is a member of the Golden Gophers Sports Hall Of Fame.