I’m going to play a little devil’s advocate here with all of these people who are praising the ruling that 13-year-old boy Keeling Pilaro can now play varsity girls field hockey for Southampton High School.
I don’t really agree with it.
I get that this kid loves field hockey, and I get that he is a great kid, and I get that it is sexist to not allow a boy to play a girls-only sport, I just think it’s a little unfair. Obviously, if this kid is going to grow up to be a superior field hockey player and he competes only against girls, a huge reason why he is a better competitor is going to be because he is a boy.
The reason we split sports between girls teams and boys teams are obvious, I’m not even going to take the time to explain why. If you need that to be explained to you, you need to have your head examined. I’m completely in favor of girls going out for all boys sports if they wish.
Keeling being allowed to play on an all girls team is clearly a unique situation, and he is so bright eyed and happy go-lucky about this entire ordeal that I’ve got nothing but happiness for him that he is getting to do what he wants to do, but I think that his competitive advantage is unfair and shouldn’t be celebrated. I’ve been trying to imagine how I would feel if a top home run hitter in high school baseball suddenly had parents willing to make a public display with lawyers and the media, after they moved to a school district that didn’t have baseball, but did have an all girls softball team and was able to allow that top baseball player to play for an all girls softball team.
I don’t get the sense that Keeling is playing field hockey to take the easy way out because he is physically smaller than a lot of the girls. But what if Keeling was over six feet? What if he was an experienced ice-hockey player and was making the switch to field hockey and it was obvious he was doing it to take advantage of the rules?
How are we all going to feel when Keeling is a senior in high school doing? If he dominates the league in scoring, will it be something that you feel he deserves? I can tell you right now that I don’t think he’ll deserve it.
And to top it all off, they have him racing around in a skirt? They won’t even let this kid wear pants? I mean seriously, if you’re gonna let him play, let the kid wear pants for crying out loud.
Look, fair is fair, and it’s fine. I’m not mad about this decision, I understand it, I just don’t agree with it. If this was my kid, I’d have said, “Strap on some skates and learn how to play hockey on a boys team if you want to play hockey.” But that’s just me.