Girls have cooties, shouldn’t play baseball

By: Tom Westerholm

I’m a huge sports fan, and I browse various NBA blogs daily (and, shameless self promo alert, I write for a couple of them).

But I came across this story from Grantland.com, a site dedicated to strong writers who write about sports and culture. In it, Charles Pierce, a regular contributor to Grantland, reports on an Arizona prep school championship baseball game. One of the finalists, Mesa Preparatory Academy, faced Our Lady of Sorrows in the final game. As it turned out, Mesa had a female second base(person), something Our Lady of Sorrows didn’t approve of.

From the article:

This is the kind of story that makes celebrating the anniversary of Title IX worthwhile. Except that her opponents in the title game disagree, and they’ve dragged Jesus in as an accessory before the fact.

Despite the fact — or, the cynical heart would murmur, because of the fact — that Mesa and Ms. Sultzbach whacked them around twice this season, including an 11-3 pasting back on April 26, in their own ballpark, Our Lady of Sorrows forfeited the championship game rather than play against Paige Sultzbach, ace keystone-sacker and female person. (Being far classier than her opponents, Ms. Sultzbach sat out the two regular-season games at Our Lady of Sorrows in deference to her opponents.)

Here is Our Lady of Sorrows’s official excuse for not playing in the championship game: “Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty,” the statement read. “Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls.”

There’s much more, and Charles Pierce is a fantastic writer, so I encourage you to go read the full article for yourself. I would say three things about this, however.

  1. This is stupid. Totally, totally stupid. Even if you are archaic enough to try to deny women the opportunity to play sports (and in this case, play a sport just as well as the guys), did you catch that middle part? PAIGE SAT OUT THE LAST TWO GAMES WHEN THEY PLAYED (AND BEAT) OUR LADY OF SORROWS. Ugh. However…
  2. I take issue with Pierce’s premise that Our Lady of Sorrow’s “used Jesus as an accessory to before the fact.” Technically, their statement had nothing to do with Jesus. Just sexism. (For the record, I don’t know what religion, if any, Pierce claims, but he treats religion with the utmost respect throughout the article.)
  3. This last one is too obvious, but I’ll say it anyway. How does refusing to play against a team with a girl instill boys with a profound respect for women and girls? What boy on the Our Lady of Sorrows team respects Paige Sultzbach more for not having played her? What’s more, this is baseball, guys. There’s not a whole lot of contact to be had.
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