BuzzFeed.com has alerted us to story of Arizona high school Our Lady of Sorrows Academy forfeiting the Arizona Charter Athletic Association HIgh School Baseball League championship game rather than play Mesa Preparatory Academy and their 15-year old female second baseman, Paige Sultzbach.
Here’s Our Lady of Sorrows’ press release on the subject:
This decision is pursuant to school policy which rules out participation in co-ed sports.
This policy is consistent with the traditional approach to education. As a Catholic school we promote the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education.
Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls. Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty.
What can only be respected with difficulty is this decision, which somehow aims to instill respect for women in their young men by making it clear women, and girls, shouldn’t be allowed to participate in sporting events. It would be one thing if this were, say, football, a violent sport (and still, should a girl want to play why shouldn’t she be allowed?) but for baseball, a non-contact sport, the reasoning appears outdated, at best.
Pamela Sultzbach, Paige’s mom, told the Arizona Republic, “”This is not a contact sport, it shouldn’t be an issue. It wasn’t that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it’s that (they believe) that a girl’s place is not on a field.”
In the two previous games against Our Lady of Sorrows, BuzzFeed.com reports that Paige sat out. For the championship game, however, she had to play—Mesa Prep only had 11 players.
Paige’s reaction to all of this? The reaction of a competitive athlete, the kind you would want on your team. She told the Arizona Republic,”I felt like any passionate athletic person would feel (in that situation). I don’t want our very first high-school baseball team to win the championship on a forfeit.”