Being a parent nowadays is a constant battle of holding onto and trying to instill the best of your Generation X values in a world that is doing everything possible to rip them away. No, I don’t believe all the things that I believed in 1996, but some things just remain true, no matter what.
Here’s a great example. My daughter, Regan, is playing soccer this season on a pretty decent club team for a second year. I don’t talk about my daughter’s soccer anywhere near as much as I talk about my son’s, and that’s because she isn’t 1/100th as serious about it. She quit for a year when she was seven, but started again because she likes going to soccer camp in the summer and playing the fun games that they play. More than anything, she likes the social aspect of the game, and, of course, she has fun when they win.
She’s scored approximately 3 goals in the last three seasons combined. The most significant event that’s happened during this fall soccer season, according to her, is her acquisition of a pale blue, 40-ounce, wide-mouth Hydro Flask (sksksksk). God, I just linked to Vox. Anyway.
Of the nine girls on her team (they play 7-on-7), she is no better than sixth-best, and possibly as low as ninth, depending on the day and her motivation. She plays the fifty percent that is required by the club, but not a minute more, as the coach (rightfully) opts to play girls who are more skilled, focused, and intense about the game, and she doesn’t mind. But yesterday, she had a bit of a moment.
She was marking a girl on a throw-in, and this girl was easily half a head taller than Regan, if not more. The bigger girl, sensing that the slightly-too-concerned-with-her-hair girl guarding her might be an easy mark, shoved her hard and called for the ball. Something snapped inside of Regan, and you could see the look on her face change as she lowered her shoulder and charged directly into the other girl’s abdomen, knocking her off balance and almost off the pitch. I think the referee was too shocked to call anything. All of the parents gasped in unison, and then laughed and cheered for her.
That night, over a chocolate chip cookie, Regan informed me that “It’s fun to shove people!” and that she couldn’t wait for the next game to do it some more.
Girls need these moments.
They need to be able to compete on fair and equal ground with other girls in athletics. They need the chance to take leadership roles that will translate from the pitch to the boardroom. They deserve the opportunity to create healthy, active habits that they will carry through their lives, regardless if they ever play a sport past high school. They deserve to know what it’s like to have the chance to win championships, to hold the trophy high above their ahead and celebrate a victory into the small hours of the morning.
Unfortunately, there are a group of science deniers who seem to think that it’s fair to rob girls of these opportunities.
In Connecticut, the Girls’ State 100 meter and 200 meter championships were won by a biologically male athlete for a second year in a row. This athlete identifies as female, but still has male sexual organs, and typical male hormonal levels. The times this individual ran were quite fast for a girl, but would not even be close to the top male high school times in Connecticut (11.64 seconds in the 100 and 24.47 in the 200, compared to 10.77 and 21.45 in the boys’ championship).
For reference, when I was in high school, twenty-plus years ago, I consistently ran about 11.5 seconds in the 100 and 24.0 in the 200, with slightly better times as my bests. I wasn’t even in the top three sprinters in my school, much less a state finalist—but had I identified as female at that time, I would be the Connecticut state record holder for women with times that are twenty-three years old. I defy you to find a track record of any type that is twenty-three years old—nutrition and training are now far, far superior, and athletes are shattering times from that long ago on a daily basis. Last spring, a high school sprinter in Texas ran a 9.98 wind-aided, for God’s sake. So, in other words, 1996 Bark is still better than 2019 women in Connecticut. Does that seem fair on any level?
Also of note is the Connecticut policy on transgendered athletes. USA Track and Field requires hormonal therapy for transgender athletes, but Connecticut, along with the rest of New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, does not. Feel free to click on the article to see pictures of these athletes. To the uninformed eye, they simply look like men with long hair. The athletes in question are 100% biologically male, yet are being permitted to compete against girls.
Unbelievably, there are a significant number of people who think this is okay. Like, a really large number of people, nearly exclusively from the party that shouts “SCIENCE DENIER” at anybody who might question the impact of man on the cooling and warming patterns of the Earth. I have seen several people say that any girls who complain about these results should just “run faster.” Never mind 17,000 generations of biological evolution—just run faster, girls! It’s easy!
(BTW, happy to say that a young lady from my alma mater was faster than the Connecticut athletes in question, running a 11.38/22.73 double at last year’s Ohio State Championships. Those times were the sixth fastest ever by a high school girl, only slightly behind runners like Marion Jones and Allyson Felix, both world champions—but she was still seven tenths behind the Ohio boys in the 100 and over a second behind in the 200. Man, Connecticut isn’t great at track, apparently.)
As it stands right now, there is literally nothing that would prevent girls from being wiped off the athletic map of New England. Any boy who wants to compete as a girl can do so. There is currently a lawsuit in the courts that is aimed at changing these rules, but it’s hard to say how any judge will rule in this matter. I imagine it will ultimately end up in front of the Supreme Court, and it probably should.
I don’t want my daughter to be robbed of her chance to compete. My son is eleven, and frequently plays against boys who are nearly six feet tall. Once puberty hits, God knows how big these kids will be. One can only imagine a normal-sized teenage girl looking at these huge kids and saying, “Nah, it’s not worth it.”
The SCCA has come under some serious heat from some members in the past for having “Ladies” classes in Autocross. With today’s power-assisted cars, there is no reason for these classes to exist—from a physical perspective. But from a participation perspective? It makes all the sense in the world. It provides a less intimidating place for women to enter into the activity (I won’t say “sport”), a sense of camaraderie among the participants, and when/if women feel that they want to compete with the men, they have the right to enter the “open” classes and do so. I’ve lost to a couple of women at the autocross, and there was no shame in it—but there was also no shame in the women who chose to participate in their own classes and had a great time doing it.
In short, for decades in this country, we have actively tried to encourage young girls to participate in sports. We know what the benefits are. We’ve written laws to enforce it. And now, some of the very same people who fought for girls to have these chances are fighting to take them away. Our young girls are being swallowed up by political correctness. It’s wrong.
This is not a “transphobic” position to have. I could not care less about the personal decisions people make with their own bodies, or how they choose to identify to the rest of the world, or what bathroom they want to use. What I do care about is protecting my daughter’s right to compete and enjoy sports. This is why we have segregated sports in the first place—to promote healthy, fair competition. Otherwise, we’d have had the boys and girls competing against each other the whole time. This is straight-up common sense. And yet, somehow, there are otherwise rational people who would suggest that it isn’t.
I will defend to the very end my daughter’s right to have a place to compete. It doesn’t matter that she’ll likely never be the biggest, strongest, or fastest girl on the field—it matters that she has an equal chance.