by J. Camm on December 6, 2012

I don't know what crazy, ass-backward loophole these people found to make this even possible but Robert (AKA Gabrielle) played college basketball thirty-years ago as a man. And now, at 50, she is playing again as a woman…but also kind of as a man.

According to USA Today:

In January 2007, Ludwig walked into the human resources department at Roche Molecular Systems, where as a systems engineer Ludwig helps design robots that assist with DNA research. He and said he would need time off and that Robert Ludwig would not be returning. The employee who would return to the Pleasanton-based company would be named Gabrielle.

In a letter to work colleagues that she provided to USA TODAY Sports, Ludwig wrote, “It's become clear to me that I cannot proceed with my life without finding union between my body and my spirit.”

Ludwig underwent the sex change operation, which made her a transsexual, in July 2012.

Ludwig says her company's insurance paid the entire cost of the $30,000 gender reassignment surgery and $100,000 total hospital bill. And when she returned to work, her business cards, cubicle nameplate, email and paycheck all included the same name — Gabrielle Ludwig — raising the curtain on a new life.

Ludwig then set her sights on her true passion: basketball. Theresa Foakes, Ludwig's partner for two years, says she has watched basketball sap more and more of her time. Foakes, whose 11- and 7-year-old daughters also live with Ludwig and call her Momma Gabbi, says Ludwig is an inspiration because of her commitment to her area non-profit youth basketball club and the six-grade AAU team Ludwig coaches.

As the weeks progressed, Ludwig became more serious about the idea and began looking into how the possibility of playing, even reaching out to Berlin for birth records and questions. Cafferata did the same, conferring with Mission College athletic director Mike Perez. Perez turned to Dale Murray, the commissioner of the California Community College Athletic Association.

Perez says he had no hesitation about Ludwig playing for Mission College, though the process “has been an education for all of us. We can look at it like this is a student-athlete who wants to play basketball. No, this is much more than that. This is a student-athlete who is really opening up to what is going on in her life. What we can do is support her, as I would any student-athlete …

“This is a special time for all of us in awareness – not athletics – but in the world we live in, a great opportunity for all of us to learn.”

Eligibility rules determined Ludwig had to enroll: She takes 12 credits at Mission College through online courses. And she needed an amended birth certificate with her new name, Gabrielle Monika Ludwig. She was resentful about having to do so because it would mean cutting off her previous identity, burying Robert Ludwig in one sense. But playing basketball again – finishing something she regrettably aborted – now was a pursuit that carried a larger message.

You can read all 5000 words at USA Today and I'm not going to pretend I have a clue as to what was burning in Robert's head and heart to make him want to become a chick but from the outside looking in, this kinda/sorta looks like…if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, and if at that point you still haven't succeeded, become a woman and try to make it to the WNBA. I mean, it's one thing to become a woman and call it a day OR to finish something you regrettably aborted as the same you were when you started, but it's another thing to suddenly decide your PASSION for basketball came back only after you switched sexes and gained a massive competitive advantage. Fuckin' loopholes, man.

[H/T Larry Brown Sports via USA Today]