wWe generally like the people we cover.

Oh, sure, there are always a few people who just have a surly demeanor and, just like you, we dread having to engage with those people. We do, though, because that’s our job.

But those people make up a very tiny percentage of people we come in contact with on a daily basis. Most people we interact with — firefighters, police officers and deputies, elected officials, municipal and county staff, clergy, etc. — are genuinely nice people often being called on to do a difficult job or make hard decisions.

We understand the pressures they face and try not to make their day any harder than it is, while getting the information the public needs.

We include high school athletic coaches in that larger group of good people. These are people who take on extra duty to help our children learn what it takes to work within a team, shoulder responsibility, how to win with grace and lose with dignity.

We have nothing but respect for these people and look forward to our interactions.

So when we heard the announcement of a new coach for the Safford boys basketball team, we were a little surprised by the reaction of some parents. See, the new coach is a woman, and a few parents expressed concern to us about a woman coaching boys.

We were surprised — we’ve always believed that the best person for a job should be given the job, regardless of gender, age, religion or race. When it comes to athletics, our concern is whether the student/athletes will be better people at the end of the season — if they are, to us the coach is a rousing success, regardless of record.

But just because we think that way doesn’t mean others hold the same view. So to find out what the Gila Valley thinks about coaching and gender, we asked what people think about men coaching girls and women coaching boys on our Facebook pages.

We didn’t ask the question, as some responders posited, to stir up controversy; rather, it was because a few parents expressed reservations about the situation.

We are glad to say that the overwhelming majority of respondents think that gender has no place in determining who should or should not coach, regardless of the team’s gender.

We understand that our question isn’t a scientific poll, so it may not be truly representative of the opinions of the entire Valley, but we’re hopeful that most people look past the superficial when it comes to determining who best to handle any given task, job or responsibility.

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