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« Mets against the Cardinals, father against son | Main | Even the most unfortunate of unfortunate events must end, unfortunately »


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Tom W.

In my son's baseball league, there is now a single girl left from his early days when there were girls on every midget team - she's 12 or so. And she's a terrific player, definitely top 10 in the league: strong pitcher, shortstop, contact hitter for a high average, runs pretty well, knows how to play the game.

And her Dad's the coach. Nice kid too, but the father pushes hard. I've seen her crack under the strain in a couple of games.

And your commenters are right, where does go from here? Our league has a very actie softball program, and all the girls switched. She didn't.

Girls baseball is not played anywhere in our region at the high school level; the best she can hope for is some club activity. On the other hand, softball is huge throughout high school and college and she'd clearly be an All-County type performer (and here's a little factoid - back in the day I covered high school sports for the local Gannett papers, so this is a semi-expert opinion). I'm not sure she's well-served by sticking with hardball - though the other kids like her and she's well-accepted.

My own daughter is starting girls-only high school this fall, and it's a wonderful thing - truly. It's serious, difficult academically, and the social pressures are not as great. She loves it already.

An Lance, good to see the S60 drugs wear off!


Weird, reading that comment about the UNC Women's soccer coach, as if that kind of attitude is unique to women's sports, or soccer.

I can't ever remember doing this during a game, personally, but it is extrememly common during football practice for offensive lineman to teach the quarterback and running backs exactly who runs the friggin' offense by showing them what happens when blocks are missed. I can remember letting a defensive tackle hammer the crap out of one of our halfbacks because the back wouldn't learn to hit the right hole. Funny how a shoulder pad in the rib cage at full speed is a good memory aid.

All that said, when my sister was an athletic director at IU, I noticed that, this many years after Title 9, a distinct and different female jock culture is starting to form. I can't describe it perfectly, but it has much different elements of (internal team) teasing and harassment than male jock culture, though it seems ot have both those things.


No comments about "30 Rock?"

It actually made me laugh a couple times...something "Studio60" has yet to do.


My original comment to BOYS AGAINST GIRLS tried to cover way too much ground, a particular fault of mine I do try to temper, just without noticable success. But the business about life being unfair, for me, was the primary glory organized sports offers kids. Boys or girls, together or not, if a kid is playing an organized, team sport he or she soon realizes (especially if someone in the family keeps harping on it)that you can do your best and lose. Everyone on the team may play the sharpest game ever, with finesse the team has never shown before, combined with laudable unselfishness...and still lose. It works the other way, too. They can find themselves playing against another team only to discover that because of an array of unexpected conditions that no matter how sloppy they are, they happen to win. Does a sloppy, accidental win feel as good as a spectacular squeaker, where they totally outdid themselves? The kids say better. Despite my personal fascination with virtue as its own reward, almost every kid I've ever known (except for myself, many years ago) prefers to win no matter what. Sitting on the bench the whole game? Yeah, if they win. Playing a lazy or bullying game with their ref winking between plays? Yeah, if they win. And older kids insist they would much rather lose than tie.


I hope that some day boys and girls can find reason to play effectively together. The separation that occurs in sports is as much or more to do with social relationships than physical prowess. If teams were selected not by age but by height/weight, it would create better matched players irrespective of gender. It would benefit not just girls but also slightly- built boys. The boys have an intense need for using their muscles, running, jumping, etc, and they not surprisingly think the girls are wusses (and adults tend to pooh-pooh their comments while also reinforcing them. Better for each gender to learn an appreciation for the other's limitation --after all, boys mature more slowly, affecting their judgment. I think boys tend to see the differences and then further ostracize the girls. If coaches did not take the boys' performance as the default standard but emphasized skill building, however talented the kid is, then perhaps some middling ground of accomplishment could be attained. But I don't think it will happen. We all cling to our notions of differences, even when we don't like the derision the boys and girls often spout for each other.

My 35-yr old son has detested Title IX for what he felt it has done for men's sports. Last year, he went back to college and, for a writing class, decided to develop a paper on the negative impact of Title IX on men's sports. Not long into his research, he started an almost-daily call to me to exclain about what he was finding: it is women who are still disadvantaged! All the claims that he himself had made in the past began to fall away, one by one. I got used to conversations beginning, "Mom, did you realize....." In the end, he changed his thesis topic to something like "Title IX needs to be enforced to provide women with equal opportunity." The most startling finding that had to hit the wastebasket was that Title IX had forced the elimination of revenue producing college sports for men. In fact, he found that 80% of college football teams aren't making money (and nobody object!) (clear exception for Big 10 and some other major programs, of course.) Anyway, I mention this because it is at the grade school level that these ideas about the negative impact of playing with girls begin to take root. And we should try to change that more than we have. Perhaps a first step is to encourage coaches to undertake the great task of having coed teams a little longer than they do (and not to accept girls' not passing to friend, etc -- after all, the real value of playing sports is about learning teamwork and building character.)

I vote for keeping coed sports teams at grade school level but I support separate education at high school level and beyond (girls learn to set higher expectations for themselves from single sex colleges, at least that's what I learned at Douglass College, an all-women's college in NJ). The issue is how adults treat the students. In all women schools the teacher has to call on a girl! Thus, the girls start taking themselves more seriously.

Steve Knepper

Interesting Blog to me as I just did a College Thesis on Title IX. I kind of agree and dis agree a little bit. Now I have heard many many times and Mine is Defenently an Expert oppinon, that This girl can play with the boys No problem, Funny thing is though It never happens and Honestly Girls dont get Guys best game, Mostly becuse lets take football If I hit a girl with everything I had on the field There is NO Chance she will get up on her own power, Guarenteed, Now that being said I think women have gotten the raw end of the deal with regard to athletics and Title IX.

Steve Knepper



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