Friday, January 23, 2009

Tis the Season

On the heels of news about the New York City girls' soccer season moving to fall comes another story about girls' sports in nontraditional season. In Hazleton, Pennsylvania, an unnamed coach approached the school board of directors about the lack of winter sports for seventh and eight grade girls could violate Title IX. Middle school boys can chose between basketball and wrestling, but girls have no winter sports at all. Most of the school directors seemed receptive to the coaches concerns, and are now considering whether to move girls basketball from spring to winter. The Hazleton schools would have to coordinate with other schools in their conference to ensure that there will be competition for the team.

But not all school officials were as concerned. When pressed about the apparently inequity of this schedule (which offers the same number of sports for boys and girls, but concentrates girls sports in the fall and spring), one of the school directors, Jack Shema, apparently got a little defensive, and inexplicably responded: "let them [girls] try out for football." What? Unless football is a winter sport in Hazleton (which I doubt) this is a total nonsequitur. Or, this response is just another incarnation of the familiar pattern, "Hegemonic masculinity of sport challenged. Man invoke football."