Growing up I was surrounded by sports because of my uncles and the amount of boys that lived on my New Jersey block. Whether it was skateboarding, playing baseball or even running up and down the street playing football, I was typically the only girl in our “crew”. At the time, it never dawned on me that I was playing “boy” sports, or that as a girl, I shouldn’t have been playing with groups of boys. None of the boys cared and that was a good thing.
12-year-old Madison Baxter, is a student at Strong Rock Christian Academy in Georgia. During Madison’s 6th grade year, she was the starting left defensive tackle on the school’s team, but unfortunately she was informed that she wouldn’t be able to try out in the 7th grade.
Because her fellow teammates are beginning to have “impure thoughts” about her, Strong Rock Christian Academy school administrator Patrick Stuart told Baxter’s mother.
Damn those hormones, allegedly.
“In the meeting with the CEO of the school [Patrick Stuart], I was told that the reasons behind it were one, that the boys were going to start lusting after her and have impure thoughts about her and that the locker-room talk was not appropriate for a female to hear even though she had a separate locker room from the boys,” Baxter’s mother, Cassy Blythe, told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV.
How would Madison know there was locker room talk going on about her, if she’s not in the locker room?
In a statement to various media outlets, Phil Roberts, the athletic director at Strong Rock, stated, “Our official policy is that middle school girls play girl sports and middle school boys play boy sports.”
Girl sports and boy sports. I’m glad no one told me that when I was a kid. Sports were sports, and even once I reached high school, there were girls participating in the “boy” sport of football as well, since there wasn’t an “official” high school girls football team.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, there are more than 1,500 girls playing football at American high schools, and it’s quite possible these girls started out just like Madison playing in middle school. The sad part about this situation, is that instead of telling Madison she couldn’t play on the team, the school administrators could have used this as an opportunity to educate boys on how to interact with the opposite sex and dispel beliefs that a person’s gender doesn’t make them inferior.
In the end, Madison feels that she may have to change schools, in order to pursue her gridiron dreams. “Really, it just really, really hurts, because knowing all that fun is gonna be taken away just because I’m a girl.” A Facebook page has been set up in response to Madison’s football quest. Hopefully the administrators at Strong Rock will rethink their decision and just wrap this story up in an old fashioned ABC After School Special type of happy ending.
What do you think of the school’s decision?