It has recently come to my attention that some of the general public doesn’t think girls should play aggressive contact sports.
I’ve previously written about how I didn’t know I was strong until I was told I could be. On another side of that, I didn’t realize I enjoyed tackling people so much until I started playing rugby. Nor did I know how many people were opposed to the idea of girls doing that.
I am a proud team member of the Dixie State University women’s rugby team, and we had our first game of the semester two weekends ago in Las Vegas against a team called The Slots. I played the position of fullback for most of the game, which is the very back position – essentially the last resort on defense if someone breaks through the forward and back lines. By no means do I think I’m amazing at this spot, but it’s so far my favorite. Mostly it gives me the opportunity to hit people.
Now calm down; I am in every way a believer of a no conflict, non-violent lifestyle. Ask my roommates. I’m very passive aggressive when it comes to argumentative conflict or confrontation of any sort. So why do I enjoy it so much? Maybe it’s a power thing. Or maybe it’s the rush of adrenaline that builds before every play and explodes when I give all the energy I have into a sprint to keep my defense solid.
But let’s think about football. Why is it acceptable for males to run around with a ball and hit each other for entertainment, but one of my teammate’s grandmothers doesn’t think her granddaughter should be playing a game like rugby?
The world just gathered to watch the Super Bowl, one of the most watched sporting events globally every year, with some of the highest-paid athletes in professional sports. Yet there is a stigma against girls playing rugby when we love it.
Because it’s dangerous or because it’s not what girls do. So we’re told.
The daughters of our world have the same wants as the sons. Boys play baseball; girls play softball. Boys and girls play soccer. Boys play football. And girls? They can try out for the kicker position so they have a lesser chance of getting hit.
Perhaps men and women playing contact sports together isn’t a good idea, considering men and women who play rugby tend differ in size. Although, I have seen a girl on my team charge head on into five women at once with a ball and not get taken down. We’re not all the same, obviously, but passion for sport surpasses gender and size.
The idea that boys can take a hit and be tough isn’t new – males are the alpha, the fighters, the hunters. But this isn’t 3,000 B.C. It’s not even the 1950s. Now is the time to change and demand acceptance.
One of my favorite movie lines is from “A League of Their Own” from Tom Hanks’ character: “There’s no crying in baseball.”
As much of a jerk as his character could be in that film, he grew to know that women could play ball just like men, and the passion the players had drove them to be the best. It’s the same with a high-contact sport. My teammates and I love what we do. We get nervous before games and we put our all into playing them, but onlookers say girls shouldn’t be involved in such activities.
I say we can do what we want.
If the world can support tough men tackling each other and throwing around a ball for sport, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t show the same support for women doing the same thing.