The difficult balance of Title IX
By Dave Satka
In the spirit of gender equality, female athletes are being encouraged and widely applauded when they compete against males.
Starting with Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs in the 1973 nationally televised, “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, to 14-year-old Michelle Wie playing in multiple men’s golf tour events, to Mo’ne Davis pitching in the 2014 Little League World Series and most recently, Lindsey Vonn announcing she will compete in men’s skiing events, the media coverage and public curiosity of females vs. males has never been greater.
I believe this endearing media coverage has spurred on many young girls to play boys sports.
What started as a matter of fairness, allowing girls to play a sport not offered by their particular school, is now being taken to the extreme.
Today, junior and senior high school girls are playing baseball, football and even wrestling on boys teams.
These bold female athletes are the darlings of the public and the media. But has anyone considered the repercussions from this popular new trend?
Has there been a single media story on the horrible injustices young boys and professional male athletes are being forced to endure?
No one seems to care that there is a 13-year-old boy in Philadelphia who did not get to realize his childhood dream of playing in a Little League World Series game because a girl took one of the roster spots.
ESPN did not do any stories about the professional golfer or skier who is struggling to make a living after being left out of an event in favor of a woman.
Maybe most egregiously, there seems to be little concern for poor young boys put in no-win situations when forced to compete against girls.
Boys gain no joy in pinning, striking out or pancake blocking a girl in sports but face a very real risk of significant embarrassment for failing.
Is this the type of equality women seek?
Title IX, of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, was created to force schools to offer the same number and equal funding of sports between the sexes. Who decided this law was not enough?
It is only a matter of time before a young man is cut from a team or is not having great success and he decides to play on the girls team.
How will parents and the public react when a young man bumps a girl from a position on the team, takes playing time from someone else or wrecks the competitive balance of the league?
Soon a struggling professional male athlete may figure out his only chance of making a living is on the ladies tour. Wouldn’t a male athlete be justified to crossover in the name of true equality?
I am afraid it will take a daring male athlete to want to face the outrage after trying this, but in doing so, he may make society embrace the wonderful differences in men and women again.
Dave Satka resides in Duncansville.