Gabrielle Ludwig could become "the most dangerous" women's college basketball player in California, according to Mission College basketball coach Corey Cafferata. The coach feels confident because, despite being 50 years old and a veteran of Desert Storm, Ludwig is 6-foot-8. She's also transgender, having completed her transition last summer. Now with a court order in hand, she has been cleared to play women's college basketball and that's exactly what she did for the first time last weekend at the 19th annual Comet Classic at Contra Costa Community College.
The old "fairness" argument has crept into the conversation as it does every time a transgender athlete tries to compete. Watching video of her play last weekend (below), it's easy to see why some people look at her size and wonder if she should be playing; Though I don't remember anyone complaining when boys have to play against other boys who are a foot taller then they are. Still, she is a behemoth on the court. Her size sets her apart clearly from the rest of the women on the court.
But the beauty of competition is that it's not all about size or strength. Basketball is a competition of skill. And while it may be easy to focus on her 6-foot-8 frame, I saw Ludwig miss an easy lay-up. No matter what she's built like, she still has to execute in games, and her three points and three rebounds in her first game hardly tell the story of a woman who outclasses all of her opponents. The one series I watched of her on defense, however, was quite compelling. Just like a male athlete who has several inches on his competitors, Ludwig is a force to be reckoned with in the middle.
While fans of the Mission College team have something to cheer about (and they reportedly cheered mightily in her debut), at least one fan of an opposing team doesn't like it, y'all...
"It ain't right," Galli said. "For one, she's 50 years old, and No. 2 ... come on, these girls out here are young. Start your own league if you want to do that."
Galli said he would pull his daughter off a team if Ludwig tried to join it.
"I don't want to see a 50-year-old man in the locker room," Galli said. "I mean, you're born a guy, right? I'm not sure if all the parts are there or what. I don't support gay rights, but I'm not going to condemn them, it's their own choice. But this isn't about personal rights, this is a team."
No word on what Galli's daughter thought of Ludwig.
Could we see Ludwig in the WNBA at some point? According to the San Jose Mercury-News, the league has no requirement that a player be born female.
Hat tip to Huffington Post. Photo from Facebook.