YOU MADE THE CALL…. the topic was if girls should play with boys in team sports. I shared my opinion that in the many years of coaching my 4 kids( 2 sons, and 2 daughters) as well as owning, running and coaching a youth sports organization, in most cases it doesn’t work. The game becomes different. Attitudes change, and effort alters. It can’t be denied as I see it all the time. Of course there are a few exceptions to the rule, and I am talking mostly in the age group of nine years old and above.
So I asked you, the readers to voice your opinions, and “You made the call”.
THE RESULTS ARE IN………………..
Should girls be playing with boys in team sports?
The “nays” have it!
“Yes co-ed is a good idea”…. 15%
“No co-ed is not a good idea”…85%
Some of your thoughts:
I read your article in today’s paper.
As a parent of a 6th grade “tween”, I couldn’t agree with you more. Girls become timid in coed leagues as they reach about age 9 moreover, they’d prefer to play with a team of girl peers rather than be the only girl on a boy’s team. And although I agree with you that the physicality of sports is stronger with equal aged boys, generally speaking, the girls seem to be better coordinated and more “coachable” than their boy counterparts.
As a parent and youth sports coach, I believe that sports are a great way to connect daughters with parents and there are not as many opportunities for girls (as there is boys). That’s why I started an All Girls Flag Football program in 2012 called “Grid Iron Girls”.
-Scott McMahon, Phoenix
Enjoyed your article. I agree 100% will your article! I grew up a tomboy for the first 12 years of my life. I played all sports with boys, even tackle football. We all played hard and I was not given grace just because I was a girl. I loved it, because I considered myself more boy than girl. Right around puberty things started to change because of the strength difference. Some sports still work for girls as co-ed when they are 13-18. Like Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, Soccer; and I’m sure that there are several more. But, it is the sports with minimal physical contact that work best for older kids. Even though we are now 42, we have enjoyed getting together with friends and playing co-ed sports.
Thank you for sharing your personal experience. On the “some sports still work”, my opinion differs in the sport of basketball. I have seen that as the kids get older, basketball doesn’t work as a co-ed sport. But I love the idea that at an older age we can play together for fun and for exercise. Great point!
Tom, In Wednesday’s column you addressed the question of whether girls
should play on co-ed teams with a good and thorough answer. However,
I did think it was missing a little something which resulted in a
column that came across (probably unintentionally) as a bit belittling to female athletes.
The biases of parents, older siblings, other relatives AND the coaches of
traditionally male-dominated sports (oops, did I just describe you?)
In other words more dads take their sons to the batting cages on
the weekends, or shoot hoops or toss the football around in the local
park with their sons than with their daughters. But I would bet that
if you asked any gymnastics coach or ice skating coach or dance
instructor whether 7 year old girls or 7 year old boys are the better “athletes,” they would tell you it’s the girls who are ahead of the boys at that age.
So my advice to that mom would have been to encourage her to enroll
her daughter in co-ed leagues so her daughter can experience equality
and teamwork with boys while she still is physically on a level
playing field with the boys, and to make sure that mom and dad get out
there in the park and kick the soccer ball around with her every
chance they get!
Kathy McSparran, Buckeye, AZ
A former gymnast who at age 17 did more pushups in 60 seconds than any
of the 200 boys in her high school class, and later became an Assistant
Vice President on Wall Street.
Thank you Kathy, great points!
1. No, I was not one of those parents that worked on sports only with my sons.
2. Yes, you can do more push ups than me.
If you have any questions or comments for Tom Kuyper, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org