11/12/2019 - 10:52 AM - Kelly Hueckman
Athlete, teacher, coach, mother. Amy Ring has covered it all, and hasn’t hesitated to prove it to Prentice High students. Since her arrival in 2012, Ring has taken over several positions in the athletic department, teaching middle and high school physical education while also coaching JV boys basketball before advancing to the Varsity coach. For the past few years, Ring has somehow managed her basketball team and students, all while starting a family. In Prentice, it has been the norm to show our respect toward Ring, but the case may prove to be a struggle in others’ perspectives.
For her entire life, Ring has posed as a competitive and driven athlete. Following Varsity collegiate sports at the University of Minnesota Duluth, she continued her passion for sports by becoming the Varsity girl’s basketball coach in Manowa before finding her way to Prentice. Ring didn’t take long to find her niche in the school, snagging the honor of being only the fifth female Varsity boy’s basketball coach in the state. Furthermore, she was even a coach in the first Varsity boy’s basketball game in the state that had two opposing female head coaches.
However, Ring hasn’t always been praised for her accomplishments, especially by opposing teams and officials. “People came in questioning my knowledge,” Ring stated as she explained the raised eyebrows and disrespect she received from others. She recalled one instance during a game when emotions inevitably ran high, resulting in a game of butting heads with the opposing coach. “He rolled his eyes and told me to sit down,” Ring said. “And so I asked, ‘Would you say that to me if I were a man?’”
With disrespectful coaches, fans, and refs, Ring faced a lot of discrimination in the world of basketball, but she was no stranger to the rain. From the age of five until she reached her freshman year in high school, Ring had always been on all-boy teams, where she became accustomed to being the only girl. In her situation, many may become disheartened. However, along with her determined nature, her grandmother also served as an inspiration for Ring’s hard work. Ring explained how during her childhood, her grandmother ran a farm by herself following Ring’s grandfather’s death. “Grandma was a huge influence,” she said. “I saw her to be a really strong woman in a male-dominated world,” referring to the 1970s, when women were often given less respect throughout society.
Though women have gained a lot of ground since then, women like Ring can still detect the thinly veiled sexism shown toward her. While slurs and direct actions that are offensive to women aren’t as common as they were in the past, more subtle suggestions of discrimination are still posing as an issue to women of all ages today. Ring, taking note of this behavior in the world of sports, explains how she channels the frustration into drive and determination. “I’ve been talked down to my whole life,” she stated. “I’m motivated by people’s doubt in me.”
With fall sports coming to an end, Ring will be able to establish her will power once again as she takes over the position as the Varsity boy’s basketball coach for another season. After losing a handful of valuable seniors, incoming upperclassmen will have to step into new roles quickly. While Ring admits there might be some growing pains, she doesn’t foresee any major challenges. As always, the team’s goal is to contend for the conference title and play in the regional final game.