Another night aimlessly clicking around has brought my attention to another story in the sports world that truly concerns me. Caroline Pla, an 11-year old girl from Doylestown, PA has played the last two years in a Catholic Youth Organization league, but has recently been informed that she will no longer be allowed to participate in the league. According to the article, the league which is run by the Catholic Church has cited many reasons for their restriction of her participation in the league, including safety reasons, the fact that football is a boys sport, and inappropriate touching.
Pla and her family are fighting the ban, gathering signatures to attempt to reverse the ban, and many people and organizations appear to be siding with the Pla family and against the ruling of the Catholic Church, claiming that a lot of good can come from co-ed sports at the youth level.
After reading this story it truly concerns me how old-fashioned and close-minded people still are today in 2013. This is the United States of America, where every man, woman, and child is created equal and therefore deserves the same rights as one another. At the same time that girls such as Sam Gordon, the 9 year old running back from Utah who took the internet and NFL by storm this past season, and whose highlights included a viral video, a Wheaties box cover, and an appearance at the Super Bowl, girls like Caroline Pla are being banned from their leagues solely because they are girls. Let the girls play! Like most kids growing up, I played in an organized town baseball league and while it included mostly boys, there was one girl who will remain unnamed who was the best player in the league, batting third in the lineup, starting at shortstop, and she parlayed those skills into a D1 college scholarship. While baseball happens to be a far less physical sport than football, we are talking about a youth league where the kids are kept safe and are taught to play fundamentally, not physically with the intent to injure. The issue here remains a religious issue, though, but where does the CYO get the right to ban this girl? She is not breaking any church laws, she is not speaking out negatively about the religion. For all I know, she prays regularly and adheres to and respects her religion.
Caroline Pla is an example of an innocent person, and in this case, child, who is now facing martyrdom in the national media because of an issue that not only does not concern her, but one that she may not understand. I say let the girls play, let them participate with the boys, let them smack them around, and let the kids be kids, because you are only young and innocent once, and it is almost criminal when adults can take that away from them.
For more information on the matter, click here.
What do you think about this situation, or other similar situations? Tweet your thoughts to @theorangewedge or comment below and tell us what you think! Just some late night food for thought.