By ALEXANDRA ROMERO
Los Alamos High School
I grew up in a household and a society where anything was deemed possible. I used to sit on our living room floor, watching whistles blow as men body checked each other, dreaming that one day, that could be me. Our generation has been taught from a very young age that if you set your mind to something, you will achieve it.
Throughout high school I have yearned to play a certain sport. Yet, because of something I cannot help – my gender, I have been denied the opportunity of playing the only sport I would like to. Contact lacrosse. A game of checking one another, of helmets, and of padding. A game that only men are permitted to play. Throughout the country young women are being turned away from certain activities because they are viewed as weak or incapable compared to men. It could not be any clearer that inequality is still very prevalent in today’s society.
Writer Jennifer Braceras recently noted that our very own President, Joe Biden, began pushing for equality in sports by signifying the immorality that occurs when “coaches… consider the sex of the player” in deciding whether or not they make the team.
On a nationwide aspect, women are continuously being viewed as subservient to men and gender inequality needs to be defeated if we ever want to exist in a nation where looking down upon others is not a normality.
Because the leader of our nation is urging school systems to create non-discriminatory environments, it is key that sports coaches take the first steps in creating equal opportunity for all students, non-deterrent of race, gender, or ethnicity.
And, although men have forever been considered stronger and more capable of partaking in rough sports than women, my dad is the only member in our family who cannot handle a scratch from our cat. That speaks for itself.
Lacrosse always awards men for their ability, although women are equally capable. Females have the exact same ability of playing a contact sport against other females, as males do against other males. Coaches here in Los Alamos have the authority to create a more unified nation and should take the steps they can, rather than using their superiority to deny us women the right of playing the same sports as our piers, coworkers, siblings, and partners.
In March of 2021 the gender inequality encompassing sports became an even more apparent issue when a video of the women’s NCAA basketball team was shared, depicting inadequate training facilities between the genders. After this major incident of gender inequality hit the media, leading members of the NCAA stepped forward and, according to news reporter Tim Fitzsimons, admitted that “providing equitable facilities”, is key in order to stop condoning gender inequalities. The NCAA began taking strides to create equality, just as schools in every single city and town across the nation should.
It is the 21st century, a time that should consist of full impartiality, yet somehow, gender inequality is still posing as a major issue, and if women continue to be denied opportunities, the mentality that males are stronger and more capable than women will never be defeated. Women will begin to think that maybe everything is not possible. That maybe gender does play a role in ability. That maybe males are superior. Is that what America stands for? The America that prides itself in equal opportunity? It is beyond time to view women, not as superiors or inferiors, but as equals to men.
For decades now women across the nation have been pushing to play the same sports as men, just as they should. For example, Sara Maras, an Idaho high schooler, decided she would rather play boys lacrosse than girls, because of the major differences between the sports. Sports Illustrated noted that Maras began facing controversy “when the adults got involved”. Maras’ male teammates supported her playing boys lacrosse, but the coaches opposed the idea. Maras was not allowed to play girls lacrosse under the same rules as the boy’s team and was forced to hire a lawyer and argue her case countless times. In our very own town, there is a coed hockey team, a girls contact rugby team, and a girl who was allowed to join football.
So why is it, in the very same town, I have been told time and time again that I am not allowed to play contact lacrosse?
And, although a coed contact sport does raise potential for concussions, breaks, sprains, and even major injuries, nothing – no matter how big – creates justification for discriminatory actions. Additionally, women playing against other women would greatly lower injury risk. Gender inequality should not be so extreme that in order to be offered equal opportunities, lawyers and court cases have to be brought into the situation. The effect of continuously being shot down has led to women’s mentality standing stronger than all of the muscle in the world put together.
The lacrosse coaches in Los Alamos have the ability, not to tell women no, but to give us the opportunity to play the same game as men. If women are continuously belittled, the morality of coaches and board members will soon be pulled into question, as their actions will be viewed as gender-favorable, and the issue of gender inequality will burn painfully hotter than ever.
These coaches have the ability to help end gender inequality. They have the ability to host board meetings, to fight so that women can play the same sports as men. They have the ability to push for girls lacrosse to play under the exact same rulebook as men’s lacrosse.
They can change the game.
And it is essential that the little girls who are sitting on their living room floors right now, watching – dreaming – of playing the rough sports that are lighting up their tv’s, grow up in a world, where fighting to prove ability, is in nothing but the past.