Cece Lucia, an eighth grader at St. Simon Middle School in Indianapolis, happens to be on the football team — and she’s a really good kicker.
In her first game on Sunday, she made both of her attempts — an excellent debut performance for any player. (You can see video of one of her kicks here.)
And then, after the game, her coach received a phone call…
… If she played again, her team would be forced to forfeit. She had been ruled ineligible to play by the Indianapolis [Catholic Youth Organization], simply because of her gender.
There’s plenty of precedence for female kickers on football teams — Kyle Robbins rattles off a bunch of names at the Crimson Quarry — but the one that really stands out is Lindsey Overstreet, who wanted to play in the same Indianapolis CYO league a few years ago:
Problem is, the Catholic Youth Organization, which runs the football program, prohibits girls from playing with boys in football. It’s one of five sports the CYO has deemed gender-specific for years.
“It’s believed that if boys or girls in those sports were involved, it would just change the climate in which the sport is played,” CYO executive director Edward Tinder said. “Co-ed involvement would alter the integrity of the sport, it’s believed.”
But what’s really important is that her teammates and coaches were more interested in her athletic talent than her chromosomes. That didn’t seem to matter to league officials.
The Philadelphia CYO, on the other hand, allowed a girl to play defensive end… but even that took a two year fight.
The Indianapolis CYO is under no obligation to change its rules — it’s not like the organization receives federal funding — but just like with other Catholic groups that discriminate against LGBT individuals, this makes them look pathetic and old-fashioned. (Big surprise there, I know.)
(In fact, I’m sure they’d be thrilled to hear your thoughts on this situation.)
For now, Cece’s family members are just trying to raise awareness of the situation on Twitter
— Madeleine Lucia (@madeleine_lucia) September 30, 2014
The best thing for anyone to do in this sort of situation may just be to show how out-of-step with the times the Catholic Church is.
In the meantime, let’s hope Cece gets to play in another game, even if it means doing it in another league.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)