I saw this gem over the weekend. The 1972 article recounts the then-novel prospect of female managers for a boys’ sport (in this case, the baseball team). There’s a lot to like about this piece, including:
1. The coach, local icon P. K. Perrin, discussing the fact that he recruited girl managers as a way to attract more boys to come out for baseball.
2. One of the two girls being referred to as “pretty Vickie” by the author.
3. The other manager, Sharon, saying that she had some misgivings about the job because “I knew I’d feel awkward and like a dummy, and sometimes I do.”
4. Sharon later added, “[The players] treat us ok, but they do tease us a lot. And everything has to be exactly right for them. They say we don’t know anything . . . and they’re usually right.”
5. The coach talking about opposing schools offering “all kinds of [trade] deals” for the managers.
But perhaps the best of all is the not-so-subtle symbolism of the picture, in which the managers “help” one of the Manchester players “pick out a bat.” Of course, maybe any implied vulgarity is solely the result of the forty-year-old photo being filtered through the lurid lens of my twenty-first-century mind. On the other hand—just look at the title of the article! My interpretation isn’t that much of a stretch.
We never had managers when I was playing high school football, much less female ones. They were seen as a distraction. We did have them in middle school, however. And, quite frankly, they were.
In any event, it was a simpler time. I sincerely hope that Sharon was able to overcome her inevitable eating disorder and lead a productive life after high school.