College of the Canyons has celebrated Women’s History Month through a number of events held virtually throughout the month of March.

The most recent event that took place via Zoom was “Women in Sports,” a panel of female athletes and coaches connected to COC.

Chad Peters, Associate Athletic Director, and Flavio Medina-Martin, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, moderated the event.

“There is value in bringing these narratives to our campus,” stated Medina-Martin. “I think that when we start talking about the challenges and the microaggressions that exist between the male-dominated fields and these male-dominated worlds, to bring in the women’s perspective is extremely important.”

As the event began, Peters explained that the goal of the panel was to highlight the accomplishments of women in sports on campus as he introduced each of the panel members one at a time. 

In attendance was Denean Hill, an Olympic gold medalist and current assistant coach for sprints and relays at COC as well as Lisa Hooper, who served as head coach of COC’s volleyball team from 1997-2016 and is the current Vice President of the Academic Senate. Lindie Kane, head coach of the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country programs at COC and Patty Labat, the COC women’s tennis coach, were also at the virtual event. 

COC’s women’s basketball team at a live game against Glendale College in Feb. 2020. Source: COC’s women’s basketball Twitter account.

The event went on to highlight the accomplishments of all four women as well as what it means to be a woman in sports, the challenges women face and the progress that has been made in the past 20 years.

“We have an obligation to bring awareness to the campus because ultimately, we want everyone on campus to feel welcome,” Medina-Martin said.

After the event, Coach Hooper went on to discuss that the women on the panel were “Title IX babies.” 

“We’re all between 50 and 60 years old. We all came up through sports opportunities that were created by the Title IX legislation,” Hooper said.

She expressed that she was lucky enough to play multiple sports throughout school, and explore what she did and did not like. She believes that women’s sports have come a long way, though there is still room for improvement.

Lisa Hooper coached the COC women’s volleyball team from 1997-2016. Photo courtesy Lisa Hooper.

“People don’t appreciate that the way we play our games is as worthy of respect as the way the men play, which is still a symptom of the problem that we’re all facing,” stated Hooper.

She is hopeful that women athletes will eventually receive the same benefits and appreciation that male athletes do, and believes the younger generation will be the reason the changes will come about. Hooper’s passion for volleyball and coaching stays with her as she continues to involve herself locally where she can with sports clubs and coaches alike. 

“Never take criticism from somebody you wouldn’t take advice from,” noted Hooper.

This mentality helped her throughout the difficult moments she experienced in her career, and she hopes that others will use this sentiment throughout their path. 

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