Sunday, September 29, 2013

Youth sports: When is it OK for girls to play on a boys team?

"Ready, set, hike... the quarterback takes the snap and he hands off to his running back. She makes a five yard gain." SHE? He hands off to a "she"?

Yes that's right. Caroline Pla plays tackle football with the boys. She is 11 years old and in the sixth grade. At 5-feet 3-inches tall and weighing in at 110 pounds, she is actually one of the biggest on the team. She must have hit her "growth spurt" earlier than some of her teammates.

She plays on the offensive line and defensive end. "Boy,'' she must be pretty good to play on both sides of the ball. Most kids play either offense or defense. She plays both. "Man,'' that is not easy to do?

Or should I say, "played"? The Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia has ruled that she can no longer play tackle football with the boys.

Statistics show that there are 1,600 girls in the United States that play football on high school teams.

Would you let your daughter play tackle football with the boys? What do you think as a parent? Is there a safety issue here that needs to be taken into consideration?

What about the fact that football is a contact sport and might be "inappropriate" halloween costumes for girls zombies the boys and girls to be mixing it up in coed football? Would too many "illegal use of the hands" penalties force you to pull her out?

Maybe it is fine until the kids get to a certain age? Do five year olds really care who they are blocking? At the high school level, the opportunity may present itself that first you block her and knock her down. Then while extending a helping hand in assisting her to get up, (which is the "gentlemanly" thing to do) you ask her to join you at the post game sock hop in the school gymnasium.

If age is a criterion for deciding boys and girls playing together, should we consider which sport we are talking about as a deciding factor?

Is coed basketball ok? What if a girl throws overhand better than underhand; should she swap girls softball for boys baseball?

Should ability be a consideration?

What if she is better than all the girl tennis players on the school team, should she play in boys tournaments to give her better competition, preparing her for college level competition?

Source: Poughkeepsiejournal

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