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Girls Can't Play Hockey!

Girls Can't Play Hockey!

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Published by: pHreaksYcle on Oct 11, 2011
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Knoll 1
“Girls Can't Play Hockey!”
By DANNY KNOLLSeptember 27, 2010At about age 5, I was enrolled in a novice hockey program and absolutely loathed it. Itwas possibly the worst thing that could have happened from the viewpoint of my young,undeveloped mind. Why was my dad punishing me like this? What did I do to my mom that shefelt the need to make me go through this every week? I went out there, struggled, and eventually,like most of the kids who get signed up, learned what I had to do to keep myself afloat and, after many months of practice, was advanced into a legitimate league with practices and games. I wasa hockey player.Of course, seeing that I was doing it, my little sister was suddenly interested as well. Itdidn't matter a bit that she didn't understand the idea of the game of hockey; she was going to bea hockey player because her big brother was.Cut to about 7 years later – now, 2010. After being on many house-level teams, a fewterribly ranked school teams, and a somewhat successful medium tier travel team, my hockeycareer is at a stand-still. The end result for me is going to be a beer-league somewhere. I will playhockey for fun, and that's about all. My sister, according to surveys and stereotypes, should have been long past her hockey days as well, and onto things such as gymnastics or dance, if she wasinvolved in any activities at all at this stage of her life. (Hannon) Instead, in her second year of high school, she's well on her way to getting a very good sum of money towards her collegeeducation in the name of collegiate sports. She currently plays on a girls' team, but she didn'talways. Up until last year, she played on boys' travel teams, and along with that, played up twoor three age brackets against the huge goons in my house leagues. Most recently, she was drafted
 
Knoll 2for an all-star team of sorts, and helped her all-female team win the gold for her age group in theEmpire States Games held at the University of Buffalo. Any girls' team she has played on so far,she's been one of the top three strongest players. There is no coincidence here: playing with the boys definitely gave her the upper hand. Not all girls can enjoy the same outcome – and it may have absolutely nothing to do withtheir talent, self-discipline, or work ethic. Cliché as it is, there is a lot of adversity in becoming asuccessful athlete in a sport that is traditionally played, and therefore organized, sponsored, andenjoyed, by men. Going with the hockey example, a woman's best way to succeed is to play in ahigh-ranking men's league – the highest they're capable of. It's just fact that the men's games aremore fast paced, more aggressive by nature (checking is allowed), and because of this, a femalelooking to develop her skills for use later on in her career is going to want to play amongst boysand men as much as possible, and for as long as possible.The problem that faces many girls trying to improve at a sport like hockey by playing onthe highest level they can is predictable: there's still sexism in the world of sports, and it's ugly.Because most of the people at the top of organizations for contact sports are males, there is a lotof tradition that hasn't quite vanished yet, and it's having a negative effect on female athletes.If you're a girl trying to get onto an all-male contact-sport squad, a few things mayhappen. First, they'll might just tell you that you don't have a prayer right off the bat. Othersmight go through the entire process, tryouts, etc. to make sure they're covered in every way - butstill won't allow you to play on the team.The only real way someone could argue against gender equality in sports and still beanywhere in the neighborhood of political correctness is if a female were denied the right to
 
Knoll 3compete based on the idea that it's very easy for them to get injured. Michael Burke, author of “AFeminist Reconstruction of Liberal Rights” from
 Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 
, refers tothis philosophy as the AEC, or Anatomical Exclusion Clause (Burke), which providesopportunities for sporting organizations to exclude people of one sex from participation incompetitive sporting activities against members of the other sex where strength, stamina, or  physique of competitors is relevant. Seeing as females are, as a whole, not as quick, or strong, or capable of endurance as males, this may seem like a legitimate point.The problem with the AEC that Burke brings up as well is that it is based on stereotypesthat do not categorize females as a whole. The AEC is an idea that relies on a theoretical female being smaller, slower, and having less stamina than a theoretical male attempting do accomplishthe same task. What it doesn't account for is the many variations our species has – we have people that are all shapes, weights, strengths, and heights. Because a board of male coordinatorsthink the average physique of a female is weak and brittle does not mean that they all are. It alsodoesn't account for the eccentricities of men, meaning that you could have a male who is 4'8" out playing contact sports and no one would think of banning him from playing. There are plenty of weak, tiny, or otherwise disadvantaged males playing sports like hockey that simply don't belongout there, and are posing a risk to themselves just by playing the game. On the flip side, I've met plenty of girls who are more than physically capable of playing contact sports just as well, if not better than your average male, and definitely better than a below-average male, whom weshouldn't forget isn't questioned when he signs up for a sport.As a whole, it's quite clear that boys are the dominant group when it comes to contactsports. But since when has being the lesser of two competitors stopped a competition from taking

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