Bobblehead collection in sports medicine promotes diversity, inclusivity


As a way to promote diversity, Mr. Michael Gimenez adds to his bobblehead collection in the sports medicine room.

Thirteen bobbleheads line a shelf along the right side of the sports medicine classroom. At first glance, it may seem like any other ordinary collection, but in reality, it is a symbol for a powerful message. Sports medicine teacher Mr. Michael Gimenez and P.E. teacher Mrs. Rachel Holm are working to promote diversity and show students there are successful sports heroes who come from different backgrounds with their bobblehead collection featuring a variety of sports players. 

 “We like to tie a lot of stuff we do into the sports world. The kids really like that, whether it’s injuries or nutrition, or whatever we see on TV. So, [we are including] people from different backgrounds, different walks of life and people of color into [our collection]. We’ve got a good representation so far, but it’s still a work in progress,” Gimenez said.

Through this collection, Holm and Giminez also hope to inspire students to go out and play a sport they may have an interest in. 

“[With this] collection, [hopefully] kids can look and see soccer players, a female or male tennis player and [other players], and maybe that motivates them [to play],” Gimenez said. 

Gimenez and Holm have been in collaboration to form the bobblehead collection since the spring. 

“It was actually last spring [when] I started it. I was like ‘Hey, I’m gonna start this bobblehead collection. Why not? Everyone loves a bobblehead, right?’. I went and bought some brackets at Home Depot and I asked Mr. [Bret] Hunter to make the shelf. A couple of boys [in his class] built it and brought it down here, I put it up, and then COVID hit,” Gimenez said. 

Just how COVID-19 has halted many plans and projects, it temporarily stopped this one in sports medicine. Gimenez and Holm had to wait the summer and through the first half of the fall to resume their project. When school shifted to the hybrid system, they decided to make their collection a symbol of diversity. 

“I realized I wanted to make it more encompassing. Sports always brings us together. It’s where you see people from different religions, different ethnicities and backgrounds, and you see them pulling together, working together and supporting one another. You see the world and it can’t always make this happen, but in the sports world, it does. We talk to the kids about that, but the good thing is, they can see it. You can go watch an NFL game, an NBA game, you can go watch baseball and there are people from all over the world: from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, China and all these different places and they’re all on this team doing the same thing and working toward [a common goal],” Gimenez said. 

The idea was originally Giminez’s, but as time went on, Holm decided she wanted to be a part of the process and introduce more ideas. 

“Gimenez and I work really well together and [the sports medicine room is] our shared space, so I think my biggest reasoning for helping him out was that it was just a great idea. The biggest message we want to display is obviously different cultures, different ethnicities, different races, different sports — all of those things, but I wanted to connect with different people and bring more of a female touch to it. I’ve actually researched on Etsy, Amazon and Craigslist for more female bobbleheads because personally for me, for a female athlete to be represented is huge because normally you see [sports] as a more male-dominant activity,” Holm said.

Gimenez also believes having female bobbleheads included is important and necessary to provide representation to all different types of people who play sports. 

“I definitely need some female bobbleheads. I need an Alex Morgan, Serena Williams and much more. We’re just trying to [represent] and show there are different types of people in the sports world,” Holm said. 

Izzy Fernandez, sports medicine student and TA to Gimenez, supports the bobblehead collection project for spreading an important message. 

“I think it’s a really cool way to be inclusive and incorporate all parts of society. Mr. Gimenez has many races represented, which is inspiring since we don’t see a lot of diversity in sports sometimes. He does a great job breaking stereotypes not only through this collection but through what he teaches and shares during class,” Fernandez said. 

Currently, there are 13 bobbleheads in the collection: Slamson, a UCLA football player, Barry Bonds, Hunter Pence, Frank Robinson, Marcus Stroman, Felipe Alou, Rich Aurilia, Edgardo Alfonso, Oregon Duck, SF Giants player, Tsuyoshi Shinjo and Kevin Baker. 

Gimenez and Holm have been continually working to make their bobblehead collection bigger, more diverse and more inclusive, so they are always looking for donations. 

Holm said, “We would love donations. If you have bobbleheads just sitting on a shelf collecting dust, we would absolutely love any type of donation. For me personally, if anybody could find any type of female athlete, whether it’s a basketball or softball player, whatever it may be, we’d love that. We really want to have a diverse group up there.”