Paige Sultzbach must be one hell of an athlete because she’s scaring away the competition.
Her school, Mesa Preparatory Academy in Arizona, doesn’t have a softball team, so she decided to try out for the boys’ baseball team. To no one’s surprise, she made it. They went undefeated all season (with a 9-0 record) and were excited to play for the Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship on Wednesday night.
Unfortunately, her team faced the aptly-named Our Lady of Sorrows Academy… a school that doesn’t think women ought to allowed to play a Man’s Game:
But Our Lady of Sorrows, a fundamentalist Catholic school in Phoenix that lost twice to Mesa Prep during the regular season, chose to forfeit the championship game rather than play a team fielding a female player.
Our Lady of Sorrows school officials would not comment, but Sultzbach’s mother, Pamela Sultzbach, said her daughter and the rest of the team received the news after Wednesday afternoon’s practice.
“This is not a contact sport, it shouldn’t be an issue,” Pamela said. “It wasn’t that they were afraid they were going to hurt or injure her, it’s that (they believe) that a girl’s place is not on a field.”
“I respect their views, but it’s a bit out of the 18th century,” said Mesa Prep athletic director Amy Arnold, who is the only woman now coaching a boys high-school football team in Arizona.
In a statement put out by Our Lady of Sorrows, school officials didn’t seem the least bit sorry for what they did:
As a Catholic school we promote the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education.
Our school aims to instill in our boys a profound respect for women and girls. Teaching our boys to treat ladies with deference, we choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty.
… and we all know the best way to treat women with respect is to avoid letting them beat the crap out of our team.
They’re not doing the ladies any favor by refusing to play a team that has one on it. What part of teamwork and practice can’t women participate in?
The school needs to issue a second statement that begins with an apology to the entire Mesa Preparatory Academy team for choosing the cowards’ way out of the game. Then they can apologize to their own students for not letting them play for the state title because of some warped policy that bans co-ed sports because boys and girls must be taught “separately” in their little world.
Sultzbach has already been way more respectful to the other team than they deserve. When they played each other during the regular season, she sat out during both of the games. But she rightly refused to do that for the state championship.
I hope college recruiters are taking a good look at her. She seems like a strong girl who has a great athletic career in front of her.
(Thanks to Dani for the link)