Monday, December 11, 2023

Please Keep The ‘K’

| October 25, 2023 2:00 AM

Why do I use a capital ‘K” in Wild Kats?

It is to show respect for the girl players and women coaches who voted for the ‘K’. In order to understand the respect, we must return to the early ‘70s. At that time, the women’s liberation movement was in its infancy. This didn’t have much impact on most Montanans, but one piece of legislation did. Title IX was passed in 1972 and this upset Montana high school sports drastically. Athletic directors and boys sports team coaches were worried and upset that they would have to share their finances with girls’ teams.

It was a very divisive time. In Columbia Falls, girls team coaches were the object of name calling (the ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘W’ words), shunning, rolled eyes, etc.  Boys players overheard and saw this hurtful behavior by the boys teams coaches to the women coaches and adopted this behavior to the girls. Recall that girls 40-plus years ago weren’t the same as the girls of today. They were more compliant and easily hurt by name calling. Furthermore, when it cam time to vote for their team name (wanting to have their own identity), boy players threatened girlfriends with breaking up with them if they voted on the name change. This may seem trivial today, but back then it was devastating.

Some boys team coaches even encouraged this hurtful behavior.

Instead of demeaning these coaches and players by rescinding the ‘K’, they should be honored for their bravery. Columbia Falls and the high school students should be informed what a travesty it would be to disrespect these coaches and players for their identity choice. The girl players and coaches don’t know what their predecessors had to endure to get the ‘K.’

Note: former coach Sharon Eddy provided me with the information for this letter.

Terry Werner

Columbia Falls

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