March may be Women's History Month, but it's also the month when a woman is making history as the first female player in the Southern Professional Hockey League playoffs.
Shannon Szabados is the Columbus Cottonmouths' new goalie. By all accounts, she can hold her own against the guys.
After all, she is fresh off winning her latest gold medal in hockey at the Sochi Olympics.
Shannon is a modern-day trailblazer, proving that ability alone should be the deciding factor in her professional career.
Women competing against men in sports is not new, but it is still rare.
As a child, I read books about Babe Didrikson Zaharias who once made the cut to play in golf's difficult male-only PGA tournament.
Zaharias also won two gold medals, just like Szabados has done, though it was in track & field - not hockey - and it was at the 1932 Olympics, 82 years ago!
There's another female athlete you may have never heard about who once played semi-pro baseball on a male team: Jackie Mitchell was a pitcher for the AA Chattanooga lookouts, on the mound 83-years ago, when her team played an exhibition game for publicity, against the legendary New York Yankees.
Jackie was only 17 that day in April 1931 when she struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig back to back!
Now, when # 40 Shannon Szabados straps on her goalie pads for the Cottonmouths, she isn't just putting a show for publicity, she is competing at a high level in a sport she loves.
Shannon is a woman making history, right here in our own backyard. That's something men and women can all celebrate.
WTVM Editorial Committee
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