Friday, November 9, 2007

You can't have it both ways

Hey folks:
I had a long discussion with my good friend, Joe from Newburgh, this afternoon about Pine Bush volleyball.
Now Pine Bush volleyball normally wouldn't be something on either one of our radars, but given the situation surrounding the team the past couple of days, the topic was the center of our conversation.
For those of you unfamiliar with what I'm talking about, Pine Bush recently played Horseheads in a state Class AA regional match and lost in five games. Horseheads has a boy that plays on the girls volleyball team and -- from what I read -- that incensed the Pine Bush volleyball community.
According to Title IX, which decades ago gave female athletes the right to participate in male sports when there was no female equivalent, Horseheads was not breaking any rules. And the state backed up those claims.
Now, before I get into where I stand on this, let me make one thing clear -- I AM TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, 100 PERCENT IN FAVOR OF TITLE IX.
That said, I have absolutely no problem with Horseheads playing a boy on the team. Currently, there is no boys equivalent and if you're going to allow girls to wrestle, play football or, in the old days (pre-1990s), play boys soccer, the same should go for boys.
While we SHOULD applaud girls for having the dedication to particpate in boys sports, we also SHOULDN'T condemn a boy when the situation is reversed. Is the state supposed to say to this boy, "I know you want to play volleyball, but since there are no boys volleyball teams, you're out of luck?"
It wasn't fair when we said that to girls back in the day and it's not fair to say it to this boy now.
What troubles me -- on a few levels -- is the Pine Bush coach making such an issue about it.
-- First, I believe she gave her team an excuse to lose.
Reading the story about the match, the coach gave the impression her team might have been intimidated by the boy. The day of the match, there was a story about this Horseheads boy where the coach, AD and a couple of the players basically said it was unfair for this boy to be playing. I believe if you put that sort of spin in your kids heads you're already setting them up to lose.
-- Second, I read the boys was something like 5-foot-8, 140 pounds.
That doesn't seem so intimidating to me. Heck, Red Hook's Sabrina Eggink is taller than that and probably equally -- if not more -- intimidating at the net. And I can think of many other girls playing volleyball or girls basketball in the area who would dwarf that 5-8 mark.
-- Third, Pine Bush lost in five games and this boy was credited with seven blocks.
You guys ever see a Red Hook boxscore, or a Rhinebeck boxscore. Seven in five games doesn't overwhelm me. I'm sure he did other things that were equally as productive, but I was half expecting to read the story and see the boy with 25, 30 blocks!
-- Finally, and I saved this for last, in a previous tournament, Pine Bush beat Horseheads with the boy on the team.
Pine Bush was good enough to beat Horseheads once and pushed them to five games this time. It seems like, even with this boy, these teams are pretty-much evenly matched.
Now, understand this, I wasn't there. I'm going by the stories I've read. But in the end, the boy was allowed to be there and had the right to do so.
Title IX has opened countless opportunities for girls to succeed in sports where back in the day they weren't allowed to compete in. In this case, the rule worked to help a boy do the same.
I'm sure many of you might disagree, but -- speaking as an outsider to the specific case -- I simply see no problem in that.
Until next time, take care and God bless.


Blogger LOVETHEGAME said...

Nice job discussing a very difficult situation. It was terrific heaing a totally impartial reaction to this matter. The Horseheads coach has been coaching girls volleyball for about 25 years and her teams are always well coached and tenacious. Her teams always react to adverse situations and never give up. They are a tribute to her teaching and coaching of the game.

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