CHICAGO, June 28, 2013 — When the Patriots’ defensive lineman got the sack, the fans checked their rosters to see who number 82 was. No, this wasn’t those Patriots. These were 11-year-olds playing football. And when the crowd realized that Maddy Paige Baxter, No. 82, had just gotten her first sack, they went nuts.
Maddy got several more sacks last season, not knowing it would indeed be her last season. The boys, it seems, need to be protected from her.
This year the teammates turn 12 years old, and it was decided that Maddy’s presence on the team might lead the boys to have impure thoughts. Additionally, the locker room talk might not be appropriate. The Bible says men and women are created equal but different and therefore boys and girls should not compete in any sport, and there are other sports Maddy can play.
The CEO of Maddy’s private Christian school prayed about all of this and these are his conclusions. And why Maddy got the boot.
Patrick W. Stuart, the CEO of Strong Rock Christian School in Locust Grove, Ga., is allowed to interpret the Bible however he likes. That’s what Christians do, including occasionally the current Pope who said he would let atheists in Heaven.
But the boys don’t need to be protected by the Bible, and anyone who has been in a girls locker room knows that Maddy doesn’t need to be protected from inappropriate talk.
As for “equal but different,” Maddy is different, but she tried out with the boys, practiced with the boys, and did whatever was expected of the boys, including taking hits and hitting back hard. They considered her equal.
So the only real issue here, apparently, is that the boys need to be protected from impure thoughts.
But boys will be boys. Until they are taught how to be men. Young men are going to have impure thoughts just as do their older counterparts. At some point, however, men learn the difference between having impure thoughts and acting on them. What better place to start learning that lesson than in a supervised environment where they consider that player who’s t-shirt is fitting a little differently to be their equal?
And what about Maddy? She is learning a formative lesson here as well. Is the lesson for young women that they should give way to the basic tendencies of their male counterparts? Not just give in, by any stretch of the imagination, but give way.
The lesson being taught here is: “The boys can’t help themselves, so you have to stay home. You can go play with the other girls if you want to, but none of that locker room talk, young ladies!”
Someday a co-worker is going to say something inappropriate to Maddy. Should she just go home and stop trying to play in the male-dominated business world?
Maddy could have simply accepted the school’s decision and given up the fight. However, defensive linemen do not make the starting lineup by giving up. She is fighting back. Her Facebook page Let Her Play is collecting stories of other girls who have faced similar issues to spread awareness. She is making the rounds of news and talk shows. She may not change her school CEO’s mind, but she is letting it be known that she will not stand down.
According to Strong Rock Christian School’s website, the school “does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship, and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs. Strong Rock Christian School is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit.”
They do, however, discriminate on the basis of gender, with government-approved non-profit status.
Very few middle school football players go on to have professional careers. They play with everything they have until they reach a point in high school or college where they don’t make the team. Maddy just wants her chance to do the same.
Julia Goralka recognizes that women have inappropriate thoughts as well, especially when Channing Tatum smolders. Contact Julia via Facebook at www.facebook.com/julia.goralka or follow her on Twitter.
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