Should girls play youth football?
This may be a bit of a controversial topic for some, but in the society we live in the answer should be a resounding no!
Do some girls have the size and aggression to play youth football? Absolutely, I see sisters of my players who would be great soccer players, but I’m not sure if that would be the best for the girl or the boys on our youth soccer team.
Today’s society seems to want to devalue women, rap music with its humiliating portrayal of women as thrown away and worthy of abuse, TV and movies depicting women as sex objects worthy of abuse and the same with the press and mainstreaming pornography.
In downtown Omaha nearly 70% of our players do not have a man at home. If you think I’m exaggerating, we’ve had matches with 2 people in the stands and both of them were female, not enough for a chain crew. This wasn’t a one-time deal, we have had a lot of games where we didn’t have 3 males to handle the chains. Many of our players don’t have a role model in the house to “copy” of how to properly treat a woman. Guys often see firsthand women who are physically and mentally abused and of course they hear it in the music they listen to, on TV and in the press. I have been coaching youth football for 15 years and the problem of the “dadless” home gets worse every year. Tom Osborne in his book “Faith in the Game” states that this problem is on the rise and is responsible for most of the crimes and problems with young males.
If we let girls play soccer with boys, we teach boys that hard physical contact with women is acceptable behavior. Indeed as coaches we should encourage and reward this physical contact. Our players will get used and accustomed to being physical with females, the act would desensitize all those involved in the activity of physical force applied to females by males. Meanwhile, the female is learning that hard physical contact with males is acceptable, it is now a habit. Now, while having women on your team may help the short-term progress of some of our football teams, I’m not sure we’re helping neither the boy nor the girl in their long-term development as productive members of our society.
Girls are as good as and even better with boys in many activities, it is not about girls who have the ability to play. It is about breaking the cycle of abuse in which many single-parent families or even two-parent families find themselves. In my mind, coaching youth football is more than just teaching kids how to make good football plays and how to block and tackle. It is about teaching valuable life lessons that the youth soccer player can carry with him for use throughout his life. My father taught me how to treat women with reverence and respect and I was rewarded for that behavior with a wonderful wife and a very satisfying family life. Dad not only told me, but showed me, even when he and mom had disagreements, they never got loud or physical. It has modeled correct behavior every day, many of our children NEVER see that correct behavior modeled for them. As kids, we were threatened that beating up a girl or even pushing one was material for “mortal sin” that could never happen. If that had happened, I would have been treated by my father in the most severe way, besides he was also considered a coward.
In 2001 we had an 8-year-old football player from one of our Omaha teams punch a girl in the face for some kind of disagreement in the playground on our field. We obviously talked to the guy and let him know that he should never hit a woman and fired him from our program with the promise that he could come back next year if we saw a significant improvement in his attitude and his actions. We felt he needed the program and contact with strong male role models. The player had to attend every training and match and watch, not play. We convinced the parents of the affected girl not to file a complaint. Believe it or not, the “grandfather” of the striking players discussed the case of the children and said the girl “pushed him first”. This made me sick, the poor boy has no dad in the house and a “grandfather” who thinks it’s okay to hit the girls in the face who push you first. No wonder her daughter didn’t have a man in the house. I wanted to slap grandpa in the face, but thought it wouldn’t be the right message for the boy either. We have really worked with this guy, but I have a feeling that there is a high probability that this player will become a female / abuser when he grows up and has a very unsatisfactory family life. While the grandson returned, the grandfather was not invited to train for us again.
I will never allow women to play on my youth football program. I don’t want the life lessons and memories of our football players to include when our stallion linebacker knocked down the stuffing of a girl running back with snot bubbles and tears streaming down her face.
However, some people will bite the hand that feeds it. In our rural program we did not have any enrollments in women’s football. In Omaha, we had a few moms who tried to sign their daughters into football. After the initial disappointment faded and mom was told why we think in the long run it makes sense for girls not to play, moms have been very supportive. I can think of only one case where mom didn’t “get it” and pulled her son off the program because we didn’t allow her daughter to be beaten by the guys on our team. I still see her today, a single mom with 3 children who needed the program who refused to listen to reason. This mom had two missing front teeth, probably due to the same period we were trying to help break.
Today we faced football and also wrestling between boys and girls, what is the next boxing? or how about the final fight? Where do we draw the line? If girls are as good as boys in football, why not boxing? Why not do wrestling? Why not Ultimatre Fighting?
There are some who don’t care about the long-term implications for either party, they just have a selfish desire to see their children excel, whatever the cost. I shudder at what’s in store for that poor girl.
Let’s draw the line for tackle football.
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