Monday, May 20, 2013

Skirting the Sporting

I've found something new to have a huge issue with. And it has to do with sporting. I know, you're thinking- WTF. Right? But yeah. It's taken this long because I've never really paid attention to it before. I haven't played a sport since Princess League softball which I think was grades 4-7? I don't even know. I'm also not sure you'd call it "playing". It was the 80's so what I do remember is me going to games in full hair (teased perm) and make-up with the hat perched on my head like a giant bird, held on with bobbie pins. I'd be standing in the outfield while some coach yelled "Diamond, LOOK ALIVE" as I stared off into space. I also clearly remember WEARING PANTS to do it. And my high top Reeboks.

For fun just to prove I really did play softball. I'm first on the left in the back row.
Notice- we're all wearing pants.

Apparently wearing pants in girls sports is a rarity. Who knew? We didn't have field hockey or lacrosse in middle or high school. Not in New Milford NJ and not in the 80's and 90's. I never heard of field hockey until I got to Rider College (now University). And when I say I heard of it when I got to Rider, I heard it existed at some point but I certainly didn't watch it or have any clue what the uniform or accessories are. I guess at some point I saw one of my sorority sisters, Katie, wearing her outfit and thought, hmmm, that's odd, she's wearing a skirt. But like all things I'm not interested in (sorry Katie, not you, the sporting) I must have just moved on.

Oh, and btw, for the record, I have no idea if Rider had or has lacrosse. I know of lacrosse only from Oz in American Pie.

Real life girl lacrosse gear
That brings me to my babysitter Sydney. Sydney plays lacrosse. She's in middle school. She's always injured. I know she had a concussion and a foot fracture or something you wear a boot for. I've been saying she's a hypochondriac all this time. But I never actually SAW a lacrosse game or anything so I had no idea what goes on. THEN, I was at their house picking up E last week when Syd got dressed for a game (match?). I literally said, "What the hell are you wearing". Like Andrew in The Breakfast Club, she said she is wearing the required uniform. She was wearing a SKIRT. I was dumbfounded.

I asked her why and she didn't know. She said that's just the uniform. All of a sudden I was interested in the sporting. Out of sheer disbelief and pretty much disgust. It reminded me of the "There's no CRYING in baseball!" movie. A League of their Own. Where the girls are playing baseball in dresses and they're a MESS of black and blue after each game. Because they were supposed to look pretty or sexy while playing. I have to assume this is the same thing, just passed down. And I'm wondering why no one is outraged by this. Or maybe they are but afraid to make waves? I need to know this. In a day and age where kids are like supersized- and I don't mean the obesity thing- I mean more like twelve having bodies of twenty year olds, who wants young girls in short skirts anywhere, let alone on a field?? At least if they're doing something productive like playing a sport and you get to impose a uniform, cover them up the best you can!

Look, I'm the furthest thing from conservative. But in a world where I'm consistently baffled and saddened at walking camel toe on tween & teen girls, I don't think giving them some pants while playing sports is a bad thing.

Girl lacrosse players- interestingly, they're colliding here.

The other part is that I asked Syd about protective gear and I'm pretty sure she said they can't wear pads or helmets. But the boys do. THE BOYS DO??? When I brought this up to someone else, they said they thought it was because the rules for play are different between the boys and girls and with the girls they're not supposed to have contact. Yet, they DO. Sydney didn't get a concussion or ankle fracture just from standing there looking pretty.

I'm the first to say I know nothing about lacrosse. I tried googling why the girls wear skirts in lacrosse and field hockey. And basically there were a ton of answers just acknowledging that they do wear them but the only answers I could find as to why were that it's just how it's always been done and that a few people have said they can move faster. Then there were the ones who said they don't move faster. And the consensus was- how would they know whether they could or couldn't move faster if this is how they've always played? Unless there was a consistent comparison where they got used to wearing shorts or pants for the same amount of games as with the skirt, they wouldn't REALLY know. ***Disclaimer: I have no idea what they wear for practice***

Boy lacrosse player

And the helmet thing is a total wtf for me. We have kids getting hit in the chest and almost dying in baseball. These kids are like superheroes or something. Both boys and girls have to be properly prepared to play these sports. With all the gear that will hopefully protect them. Syd showed me her "protective goggles". They look like what I wore in shop class to use the ban saw in 6th grade. And that was it. That was her gear. I looked up on some lacrosse gear selling sites what the required uniform is for both boys and girls and it's totally different. Boys are ALL padded and helmeted. Girls- the shop goggles and a mouth guard. I'm so bewildered. It looks like if they get to "women" vs "girls" they get more protection but who the hell knows if they will make it to that after being unprotected all that time. I get that they're technically different games- boys and girls. The amount of players, the body checking vs no body checking. But regardless, they're still ending up with concussions.

So, like I said, this is my first experience or encounter with sporting and it's uniforms for women up close. I'm surprised and bothered and not sure why this doesn't seem like a bigger deal for people. Maybe it is- forgive me for not doing my research but that's kind of why I'm writing this. Maybe there is a plausible explanation that didn't occur to me. Maybe someone can school me in this. Make me say, "Oh! Aha! I didn't think of that." Otherwise, this seems insane. And I don't even have a girl so this isn't going to be an issue for me. But I am a parent who does worry about the danger of kids getting hurt. How can you not after a local little boy almost died from a baseball hitting him recently?? I've seen some tough looking teen girls around. So the answer can't just simply be that the boys are rougher. Even if their rules are rougher. Help me understand. Besides the, you know, sexist, aspect of it.

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