Girls basketball team runs the gauntlet through Lincoln Heights

Image from Sacred Heart High School website

Perhaps the most challenging part of being a member of the Sacred Heart High School basketball team is the one-mile long journey the girls must travel to get to the Lincoln Park Recreation Center where the team practices. The  girls endure the taunts and leers from men and motorists as they  jog or walk during their 15-minute trip through Lincoln Heights, said L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke.  He provides a sample of what the members of the Sacred Hearts Comets are up against after they leave the school grounds:

They will pass a barber shop where men will turn their half-shaved heads and shout. They will pass a dry cleaner whose curb is home to a man who reaches out to them from his cardboard box.

One minute, they feel the breath of charging pit bulls, the next minute they hear the whistle of a tattooed wolf, and eventually they will be confronted by the leering driver of a squeaking Chevy that has slowed to bounce alongside them. It’s always somebody like him, and, confronted with the sight of a group of young women walking through gang territory in the middle of the afternoon, he always asks the same question.

“Where you going, ladies?”

The athletes must travel off campus because the 105-year-old Catholic girls school has no gym. In contrast,  two of the Catholic boys school serving the Eastside – Cathedral and Salesian – have relatively new athletic facilities, Plaschke notes.  Plans to convert a former convent on the Sacred Heart campus have been postponed after a weak economy has plagued fundraising effort.  School officials recently launched the first-ever Comets booster club to raise support.


  1. SoCal has the power to stop street harassment. I hope the girls at Sacred Heart High School will hollaback! by posting at http://socal.ihollaback.org/ — they can stay anonymous.

    About Hollaback—
    Hollaback is an international movement to end street harassment. We believe that everyone has the right to feel safe, confident, and sexy when they walk down the street. When street harassment happens, don’t ignore it. Or forget it. Don’t just walk on … Hollaback!

    Because if street harassment is ok, then other forms of violence against women and the LGBTQ community are ok. And that’s simply not ok. It is your right to be your badass self, so share your strength and Hollaback. Your story will affect more than just you — it will impact media, legislation, and the community you live in. Together, we have the power to end street harassment, one Hollaback at a time.

  2. Not necessarily meant for publication:

    I think you mean “gantlet” in the headline.

  3. @ Picky – Looks like they are interchangeable – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/gauntlet

  4. Cristi, I guess some permissive lexicographers have given up on trying to maintain the difference between what were once two different words. Guess I’m old-fashioned.

  5. It’s weird to read about something that has been going on for years. This school differently has the funds to build or buy in its surroundings but yet act as they can’t afford it. I’m all for local team help and fundraisers but come on.

    Wonder if this writer actually walked with them or just took their side of the story and just sent out a photographer to take a few snap shots.

  6. Sal,

    You are incorrect. The school does not have the funds to build a gym. I’m a board member of the alumna association and graduated from the school 15 years ago.

    You seem very quick to make assumptions about what the girls experience daily. I walked three blocks home daily with my friends and came across the harrassing behavior. Try walking a mile to a park. The school enrollment dropped to just 200 students this school year. 15 years ago when I was enrolled, enrollment was close to 450.

    Not only do most of the students receive financial aid from various sources, but it’s common for graduates to donate their used uniforms so newer students who don’t have hundreds of dollars to buy new ones don’t feel like outcasts. If the students are suffering for uniforms, building a gym certainly is not a priority, but it is a necessity.

    And may I mention that close to 100 percent of the students continue on to great colleges, as I did, many with scholarships, as I received to pay my entire tuition. It’s a great school, how about we unite to help our local communities instead of pass judgement?

  7. Why doesn’t the school by a van and transport the girls to the park?

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