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The Next UW AD: The Need for Testosterone
“Girls are no good at Genocide”

By: Derek Johnson, 31 January 2004

Right now, in an effort to locate the University of Washington’s next Athletic Director,  we can narrow the candidate pool in half via the process of elimination.  This time around the block, let’s just eliminate any women from consideration.  Washington has lost its equilibrium.  Its athletic department is besieged.  It is now time for a football-loving, testosterone-charged leader to emerge and take this situation by les boules

I remember when I was fifteen years old and playing cards with my late Grandma Lydia.  Emanating from a nearby radio was the shrill voice of a newly elected congresswoman.  This congresswoman was ranting about bringing change to her particular district.  My Grandma Lydia shook her head in disapproval.   “There are certain positions that should be held by men.  I don’t think that’s right.  Men and women are equally smart in their own ways, and women can make very good leaders in the right situation.  But at the very top, I think it’s important to have a man in command.”

I argued respectfully but vehemently.  Couldn’t a woman President, for example, lead just as well as a man?  Grandma said nope.

“Men are better at debating in arenas like that.  And whether it’s right or wrong, men are not capable of following orders from a woman in a high-profile situation.  No matter what the women did, there would never be the same amount of respect given to her commands.  She would never be taken as seriously, even at a subconscious level.  That’s just nature.  Women cannot project the same forceful image for a nation or large institution like a man can.  Women usually lead from behind the scenes, but that’s for a whole other conversation.  It’s your turn to deal the cards, kiddo."

When former Washington AD Mike Lude was interviewed recently with Softy Softerson on KJR, he made an accurate assessment of the recently departed Barbara Hedges.  “She was the right person at the right time for the job,” said Lude.  “And she did many outstanding things at the University of Washington.”

It is undeniable that Hedges was well meaning and did a number of wonderful things for the university.  But earlier this month, soon after Barbara Hedges announced that she was stepping down as AD at Washington, I had the troubling thoughts that many Husky fans have expressed.  I thought of the money and energy poured into non-revenue sports facilities, while the weather-beaten planks of Husky Stadium cry out for renovation.  I thought about how some people in the Athletic Dept., including a recently fired football coach, skirted around rules and pushed the envelope in a brazenness that implied a feeling of impunity.  I thought of what laughingstock the University had become in the eyes of the Pac-10.  Of having one embarrassing press conference after another, in perpetual attempts at damage control.  I thought about how no fight was put up with the Pac-10 and NCAA when the brutal sanctions of 1993 were handed down.  Finally, I thought of the words of a half-dozen prominent former players, who were at the U-Dub during the transition from Lude to Hedges.  They told me, off the record, of their resentment toward Hedges.  To a man, they felt she had “feminized” the mentality of the Husky athlete.  “From within, she changed the feeling of what it meant to be a Dawg”, said one of the players. 

Myself, I have worked for two women in my life.  Both times it has been a very positive experience.  But I was working with small companies.  I wasn’t working for the leaders of nations dealing in political struggles and playing hardball on the world stage.  Or even more importantly, this wasn’t college football.

Then recently I was reading an article from a fictional 12-year old girl named Alyssa Elver.  The publication was The Onion.  The title of the article was, “Oh, Girls are no Good at Genocide”.  This may seem an odd place to discover perspective, but I loved this article.  While it is 100% tongue in cheek and meant to be ridiculous, it also speaks to something about the inherent, biological truths of men and women.  And of these two sexes, which naturally gravitates more toward leadership and taking the bull by the horns? 

Herein, some excerpts:

“I was thinking about this in Social Studies class today,” wrote the articulate Elver.  “We learned all about what genocide is.  And you know who’s led, like, every genocide ever?  Yup.  Boys.”  

Elver goes on to describe her outlook on recess.

“I like to get dirty and play flag football with the boys, but none of the other girls want to get their stupid clothes dirty.  All they care about is going to the mall and buying stupid nail polish and purses and makeup…  Maybe that’s why girls are no good at overseeing a systematic mass murder of an entire race.  It’s too messy.  You never see a genocidal dictator wearing a dress and being all afraid he’ll ruin it.  He’s out there in military fatigues, getting down in the mud, making sure his orders are being carried out.”

Elver begins to really break down the difference between the sexes:

“To be good at genocide, you probably have to be really good at bossing people around.  That’s something girls can’t do.  My brother Josh always gets to watch what he wants on TV, even if I really want to watch something.  I usually just let him get away with it because I don’t feel like getting into a big fight about it.  Unlike boys, girls just aren’t bossy or stubborn enough to eradicate a race of people from the face of the earth.  It just would never happen.”

Elver continues to relate to her experiences at school:

“In gym class, when we divide into teams for dodge ball, the girls are always picked last.  Maybe that’s what happens when a group of extremists is looking for someone to head their regime.  The Khmer Rouge picked Pol Pot because they knew he’d be good at murder and torture and all that other boy stuff.  A girl would probably have planted flowers in the Killing Fields.”

Elver makes some interesting points.  And the University of Washington still needs to brace for future onslaughts from the NCAA and Pac-10.  Its reputation has been besmirched.  The worst thing that could be done now would be to hire a Bud Selig type of Athletic Director; a “yes-man” who would be a puppet to the upper campus.  What is needed is an AD who is downright territorial about the sacred ground of Husky Stadium.  An Athletic Director who will do right by the football program, both in the spotlight and behind the scenes.  A man who doesn’t mind stepping on a few toes to get the job done.

Reasons Elver: “Girls always want to help people.  They want to take care of babies and feed them and dress them up.  They don’t want to throw them into pits and cover them with dirt while they’re still alive.”

Derek Johnson can be reached at uwsundodger@msn.com


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