Few probably would have noticed it at the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Taradale, during the Hawks v Nelson Giants game in Napier last Saturday night.

I mean you don't unless they are your doting children playing basketball in bibs to entertain the National Basketball League (NBL) crowd at halftime.

Something unusual had transpired - but then some may argue it's not that unconventional at all.

A little alpha pocket rocket made a fast break but his attempt rimmed out. He regathered, swivelled and had two options as the opposition players ambushed him - relay the ball to a female teammate standing at arm's length from him to have another go at the hoop or make an oblique pass to one of his own gender in the carpark.


Who do you think the pocket rocket passed to?

The answer, my friends, is as stark as when you remain seated in a row at PG Arena when everyone else stands up at the final buzzer to bestow an ovation on the Taylor Corporation-sponsored home side who had eked out their third victory in the NBL - to the boy.

Was the child guilty of sexism?

After all it was a no-brainer to chuck the ball sideways to the girl to try to drop it in again.

Perhaps the boy knew better. Maybe she wasn't the best shooter in the team so, in a chivalrous gesture, he thought why put her under duress.

But maybe, just maybe, he is the product of a species going back to the pre-Stone Age era who are brought up to be hunters and collectors so they adhere to gender stereotypical behaviour to shoulder the burden of responsibility in eking out a win.

That's what makes child psychology so fascinating, something shrink Nigel Latta has wickedly turned into an art form, using different mediums, to enlighten the great unwashed.

But my fixation is with adult behaviour, that is, what has changed in the psyche of the Hawks from the time Kirstin Daly-Taylor abruptly quit to when Ben Hill assumed the mantle of Hawks caretaker coach.

Daly-Taylor's silence is deafening but, as Hill correctly points out, she'll need some time to exorcise her demons and it's entirely her prerogative to talk.

It's intriguing that, in Hill's words, he has had to tweak very little for the Hawks to register two victories on the trot because it doesn't stack up with the rash of losses under Daly-Taylor.

An Olympian, who had accomplished to an enviable level as a player but still an apprentice coach, she was under no circumstances a shrinking violet. Her schoolteacher demeanour means she's expressive and authoritative in a role where one is often waltzing with the devil.

After all, it's Daly-Taylor who has handpicked the team who are now winning although that purple patch may come to an end against the Southland Sharks in Invercargill tonight.

For that matter, Hill doesn't take any prisoners either. The former Tall Black has made it unequivocally clear he has no favourites. Don't perform, shuffle up the bench, sunshine.

That brings the players under scrutiny in what appears to be a case of a female coach and, paradoxically, not.

It goes without saying the Hawks were in awe of her passion and, in keeping with protocol, accorded her the respect due to any coach, female or male.

However, some of them didn't feel comfortable enough to bare their souls in the locker room when called to task, as they would say with each other or with a male coach, almost in the fashion females and males prefer consulting GPs of a similar gender.

American imports, including Lamar Roberson and dating back to last season, raised the issue of having a female coach, without any prompting during interviews, but, despite their differences in some aspects of coaching philosophy, were adamant about building a rapport for the sake of the collective for fear of sporting the chauvinistic tag.

For many Kiwi and Pacific Island players in the NBL it's not that much of an issue because they have had age-group female mentors, such as Deslea Wrathall, up to a national level.

Was Daly-Taylor too much of a schoolteacher with a gender who are accustomed to opening doors and putting down toilet seats for the fairer sex but not so adept at asking for directions when stranded as motorists?

Blokes, who simply want a monopoly on the TV remote control in a man cave, have an affinity with the animal kingdom where a peacock culture is ingrained from day dot. Team chemistry makes way for egos because the desire to win overrides the need to cohabit harmoniously - something most females do not champion.

Studies show it's no secret that females supersede males on the coach-ability scale. The gender divide is yawning when it comes to males' inability to handle criticism.

When coaches vent their spleen females generally take it personally whereas males tend to deflect it as verbal assault directed at other underperforming teammates.

Did Daly-Taylor fail to challenge Hawks individually to the extent where they felt it was a primordial challenge to their manhood so they had to prove her wrong?

You see, when it comes to the alpha male it's not as clearcut as encouraging more girls to take up science and technology in high schools.

Coaching the Hawks is not the same as mentoring the Napier Boys' High School flagship team.

Whether she'll coach another men's team remains to be seen but the lesson plan needs tweaking.