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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Anson Dorrance, June 11, 1991. Interview L-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Female athletes' lack of arrogance

Dorrance describes how women's mind-sets allows his UNC team to stay on top. Male athletes use their underdog status as a motivating factor, Dorrance believes, but female athletes lack that arrogance. This temperament allows his team to intimidate their opponents.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Anson Dorrance, June 11, 1991. Interview L-0054. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

MARY JO FESTLE:
But surely, everybody is gunning for you.
ANSON DORRANCE:
There are definite challenges to staying on top. But also, I think it gets back to another disparity between men and women in athletics. One is men sort of enjoy the underdog role. It motivates them. And so, if a men's team has been on top and they're playing with another bunch of men that are underdogs or considered underdogs, there's an incredible surge of adrenalin among those underdog men to beat the guy on top. In the women's arena because, I think, of differences between men and women, if your women's team can come into the game with a certain sort of intimidating aura, it doesn't motivate the opposition like it does for men's teams. The men's teams, being the underdog sort of pisses them off, you know. "I can't believe it. Yeah, they're real good. Well, I played that guy in the summer and I wrecked him up and I'm not afraid," and they go on that sort of arrogant mentality which gives the men's arena tremendous opportunity for upset because their mentality is that way. They just can't believe anyone's better than they are, so it's the male ego refusing to accept that it's possible for anyone to come in with a superior team. The women don't have that kind of arrogance. And even though publicly they state that they have a lot of confidence going to the game the next day against Carolina. "Yeah, they can beat them," and all these sorts of things. Even though they are saying all those things, way down deep, they don't believe it. And I think the aura of our team gives us an edge. And also in a men's game there is more ebb and flow. In a men's game, even against a weaker team, the weaker team will still dominate stretches of the game and the stronger team will dominate for a while and the weaker team will come back. Or if the teams are balanced, it's just constantly back and forth. In the women's game, once a team gets on top, the confidence level of the other team goes down, even my team. If another team takes a shot and almost scores or the other team dominates for a while, it's unbelievable how long it takes for my girls, you know, nine time national champions, to get back on top of things. And so, if we're that fragile, imagine how the other teams are that have to play against this tradition and aura. And so I think in the women's game, it's more important to establish dominance because it will snowball. In the men's game, there's a much better ebb and flow. Is any of this stuff making sense?