Op-ed letter to the editor: Girls waterpolo

Op-ed+letter+to+the+editor%3A+Girls+waterpolo

Matt Cherie

Read the original article, VHS girls water polo players are sick of the oversexualization in their sport

In response to an article published on Oct. 22. 2021 in The Cougar Press about our girls water polo coaches and the culture of our team, we want to address the false and misleading claims. First,

“At the moment coaches have refused to interview with The Cougar Press”

To date (12/8/2021) – No one from our coaching staff has been asked for an interview.

“Ventura High school girls water polo players have decided to make a statement because of the sexualization of their sport at the hands of their coaches.”

Actually, it’s a CIF and NFHS rule that we are trying to follow.

“[Coaches are] sexualizing what we are wearing, saying how revealing our suits are, that were actually given to us by the athletics program.”

The individuals on the team have a choice regarding their swim suit style and the size, with varying amounts of body coverage.

“One of the coaches told a player ‘Oh my gosh this is why you should pull your suit out of your a$* and that is so disgusting.’ Talking about my teammate after she got out of the pool. ‘How could a grown adult ever call a high school girl disgusting?’”

A single student “heard” her own version of this comment. Unfortunately, she didn’t hear the coach correctly. She saw the coach make a hand gesture and heard the word “disgusting.”   However, this word was used by Coach Amber to express frustration for having to repeat herself about the infraction of this rule so often and not toward any one individual or players on the team.

“Why can the boys wear Speedos but the girls can’t wear one piece without being sexualized?”

Other athletes wear their uniforms properly and without issue.  The CIF and NFHS rule 2-4  states that girls must have their breasts and buttocks (regardless of gender) completely covered while in play and on the pool deck.  As coaches, we must adhere to the rules, even if they haven’t always been addressed and enforced in the past. It is our job to set standards for the team. Inappropriate behavior needs to be addressed and failure to do so puts a team at risk of disqualification or forfeit.

“The situation between the team member and the coach has been talked through and sorted with the respective parties.”

This isn’t completely true either.  The coaches have attended several meetings and listened to many concerns and various claims.  The coaches apologized for the situation and for the use of the word “disgusting.”  Again, this word was never aimed at any individual person.  … However, the false narrative/campaign about “body shaming” that was attached to a coach and more broadly our coaching staff has gone without consequence. To date actually, no one has apologized to the coaches for making these false claims, for twisting Coach Amber’s words…or for spreading these falsehoods around campus and beyond through social media.

“Respect starts with caring about how you conduct yourself and how you treat people. As a coach, I believe it is important for respect to go both ways between the players and coach in order to have a successful relationship.  I coach because I love it and I am still here coaching because I love watching players grow”.  – Coach Amber

Coach Amber and Coach Cherrie

VHS Girls Water Polo 2021