When I was a boy in the late 60s and early 70s, we played all sorts of sports (except soccer), boys simply never played against girls. As we grew older, some of the girls became athletes, some became academics while others cheerleaders, or band geeks, or acting geeks, or any number of other things. I became a good athlete with two standout sisters. One sister was a beautiful baton-twirling majorette who played a mean game of softball, while the other was a statuesque and formidable athlete (who could twirl a baton as well). As teens, we did not compete against each other because it was generally understood that girls did not have the chops to compete with boys. Of course, this was complete bullshit. There were other factors that prevented formal coed sports, but when the coaches were away, we played against each other anyway.
My athletic sister was an All American athlete in three sports. She was the best in her class at basketball, softball and volleyball. I played basketball well, and other sports… not so well. There was no comparison in athletic our abilities, my sister was the better athlete. I started on the boy's basketball team and she was the captain of the girl's team. Was she better than me at basketball? No, but she was better than at least half the boys on my team. One of her friends was my size and arguably better than me. Several of my sister's teammates were at least as good as several of my teammates. If we had been allowed to field a team of mixed athletes, my sister would have competed with me for playing time and her friend may have had my starting spot. The myth of female inequity did not hold when we are young. Could the best female athlete play on an average NBA team today? I think it is possible but unlikely.
There reasons why we were prevented from playing together seems to have been focused on giving girls an opportunity to play sports without big bad nasty boys ruining the experience. Plus, we were told that the bigger boys would hurt the littler girls. That was largely true I think, except for a few cases were the girls could have put the hurt on the boys, like the girl who could have started on the boys basketball team. She was my size and every bit as physical while playing the game. What we never heard was that playing sports with girls would cause boys improper thoughts… unless we were playing sports at church.
A 12-year-old girl has been kicked off her US school’s football team because she might cause her male teammates to have “impure” thoughts. Madison Baxter had been playing football for her Christian school’s team in Georgia for the past year but was recently told she would have to quit, the New York Daily News reports.
According to Madison’s mother, Cassy Blythe, Strong Rock Christian School CEO Patrick Stuart quoted the bible when he explained to her why her daughter could no longer play on the team.
Just to be clear, every twelve-year-old boy in America is full of impure thoughts. As a former boy myself, I can testify that this is true; as can every other man I know. Kicking a girl off the team because you think boys are having impure thoughts is wrong-headed and in its worst manifestation puts girls in burkas. We cannot control what other people think, but we can influence behavior. If the boys act inappropriately, discipline them and teach them how to treat a teammate with respect. There is nothing like running a few lines to teach manners.
Of course, impure thoughts is not really the issue is it? Young boys have delicate egos. How hard is it on your ego to be knocked on your ass by a girl? I remember matching up for a one-on-one against my sister. She almost beat me. Five minutes later, her friend killed me. My ego… It was seriously bruised, but I recovered.
Side note: My little sister the majorette was a good athlete herself. She chose another path and excelled. She would have dominated in sports if she chose too. Girls are like that.